We are firmly entrenched in the holiday season. How are you doing? I mean, really, how are YOU doing? Amid all the holly and jolly, this can be a tough time of year – its chaotic, expensive, and tiring even under good circumstances, right? Add depression (and/or anxiety) and it can be unbearable — I get it. I was there. And there are times when I’m still there. It’s not like you take a pill and depression disappears – it’s something we live with and some days are better than others. I remember not too long ago, being curled up in bed and not going out other than going to work – I literally HID in bed and I was living away from friends and family in NJ so it was an easier thing to do.
The expectations of happiness at this time of year are a tough thing to face – yet some, heroically, try to manage through the holidays while in the grips of a depression. I say heroically because it is heroic. Going to a holiday party when depressed can be so BRUTAL! This time of year, people are fueled by happiness – they are so focused on gift giving, and celebrating and family gatherings and parties and the New Year, and all the shiny, sparkly things….it can just be so overwhelming. They don’t want to hear how you’re barely vertical, how you struggled to find something to wear and make yourself presentable – to put on that mask that you’re hiding behind, how you’re counting the minutes til you’ve been at the party long enough that its okay to make your goodbyes (or use the excuse that you have another party to go to and escape…)
I get it.
If you’ve made it out – I’m applauding you because it really is the best thing for us. To be out among our friends – the people who know us and like/love us. And we may even enjoy ourselves a little, putting all the negatives behind us for a little while. We laugh and smile and mean it! I know how hard it is to do this and how much harder it is to do this OFTEN during this time of year. How we selectively choose where we will go (attempt to go) because its all we think we can handle.
If you’ve made it out, were you able to enjoy yourself? Were you able to connect? I hope so – I genuinely do. Because even when I struggle being in a group of people, I know its a good thing for me to be doing. The people we choose to surround ourselves with are so important. Are you able to reach out – even to one or two people to try to make an effort or a plan to get together? It’s only been the past year that I feel like I can genuinely do this and its with select people for sure. I still can be so anxious when I’m faced with a party or event where there will be a lot of people I don’t know, or where I will feel uncomfortable.
If this feels a little preachy, and that’s not my intent. I just want those who read this to know that feeling all the feels during this time of year is normal, because its hard. It can be hard without the depression – missing family and friends, just being melancholic. And if you’re trying then that is awesome because it is hard. Even if you’re not able to make yourself get out there, it is ok – just try to recognize that there are so many people who get it, who care and who want you to make it to the party or event. It’s about the little things that make us connect – and whatever those are for you, I hope you find them in abundance during the holidays and beyond. Becuase we all deserve to find some joy, no matter how small it may seem, this year.