Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Grin and BARE It

For those of us who are depressed the holidays are some of the worst times of the year. The bad weather (SAD anyone?) combined with the extra stress and expectations are a perfect combination for a depressive episode. Last year my kids got ear infections and fevers for every holiday from Halloween to Valentine's Day. I had no family to be with and, with my husband in graduate school, I was completely alone with the cranky kids all the time. I thought I was going to go insane. Which I kind of did. But we survived last year and I have hopes that this year will be better. Here a few things that helped me:

*remember to take time for yourself. If the pies are store-bought, so be it. If the presents aren't perfectly wrapped, that's okay. The important part is that you are able to enjoy your family and remember why we celebrate holidays in the first place. (Hint: it has something to do with being happy).

*Grin. Even if you don't mean it. Sometimes even the act of smiling can lighten your mood. And, hey, maybe once you're smiling you'll even find yourself cracking a couple jokes (most likely sarcastic ones, but a little sarcasm can go a loooong way).

*Bare it. As in your soul. As in all those emotions you try to hide for fear of freaking others out or making them feel sad too. You are depressed. Sometimes you need a little extra support, especially during the holidays. Tell people what you are sad or anxious about. Tell people what you need. When we're depressed we usually assume that no one understands us or even cares, but the fact is people do care. And people are often surprising. When you ask for what you need, you might just get it.

Good luck! This can be a difficult time of year but you can survive it. You can even, maybe, enjoy it.

This is an issue for a lot of people so, please, if you have any ideas for surviving the most wonderful (yet depressing) time of the year post them here!

Oh, and have a happy turkey day tomorrow!


Elizabeth-W said...

Somewhere around the middle of November I start checking in with my folks about how they're holding up/gearing up for holiday stuff. Every year someone (lots of someones) is in my office feeling bad that they're not more excited, they feel guilty that they're depressed this time of year, etc. When I say that they're the 5th person I've had this conversation with this week, it does seem to help.
Holidays are so stressful. We're trying to obtain that elusive Norman Rockwell picture of family harmony, etc. Yet the reality for many is so far away from that.
Finances are a big stressor for people this year, too. So, I think giving oneself (and by that I mean me) messages that less is just fine can be helpful.
My nieces sent me their wish lists yesterday. Limited Too complete with sizes and pricing and ordering info. That sort of thing gets me stressed out....
I'm just rambling. I don't think I answered your question very well. But I do think part of taking care of myself is telling myself it will never be perfect so don't expect that, and that kids really don't care. They don't see the stuff adults see. Making things happy and joyous for them simply includes lots of bubble wrap :D

Th. said...


Hey: buying store-bought pies means fewer layoffs in the pastries industry. It's actually benevolent!

smdc said...

I found myself feeling anxious and panicky yesterday... until my husband and I stepped inside the Temple for our Sealings assignment. Blessed relief!

Maryam said...

Awesome post Laura. I loved it. I totally remember bringing you treats from my holiday table because you were playing nurse. Are y'all shiny and healthy this Thanksgiving? love m

sarah louise said...

I am a new reader. I just wanted to thank you for this post. I am the only person I know that doesn't love Christmas that much, and I can't explain it to people. It does have a lot to do with dealing with depression and anxieties. Thank you for letting me know I am not alone.