Awareness days, seasonal, and holidays, Mental Health

A Blue Christmas – Depression and the Holidays

Mental Health @ Home Merry Blue Christmas

The blue Christmas thing is relatively new to me.  I used to like Christmas.

I already talked about this a little bit in a previous week’s Working On Us post.  For most of my life, I was a Christmas girl (albeit of the atheist variety).  It was a time for food, family, decorations, and more food.

Christmas was never stressful for me.  I have a pretty small immediate family, so there weren’t a lot of people to buy gifts for, meaning it wasn’t an expensive proposition, nor did gift shopping take a lot of time.  There weren’t a bunch of extended family members crowding around and laying on the pressure.  Pyjamas were acceptable, and food (and booze) was plentiful.

There was the odd Christmas that I had to work, but even as an adult, most Christmases were spent with my parents, who live about four hours away.  Christmas was one of my favourite times of the year.

Not anymore.

Since my illness relapsed in 2016 and then became treatment-resistant, there are two major factors that get in the way.  One is anhedonia; I just don’t care in the slightest about Christmas.

Another is that I don’t feel comfortable with my family.  It’s been 4 or 5 months since I talked to my parents.  I don’t even remember the last time I saw my brother.

Probably my brother and his pregnant wife will go to my parents’ place for Christmas, although I don’t actually know.  I’m assuming because they were at her parents’ place last year.  I was there two years ago when they last did Christmas at my parents’ place, and it was just too much – too many people (yeah, even though it was just 4 other people), too much stimulation, no alone time.

I feel a sense of loss.  Christmas as I knew and loved it doesn’t exist anymore.  I don’t miss it in the sense that I wish I could do Christmas this year; I have zero interest, and I don’t care sufficiently to put up any decorations.

The loss is more all-encompassing than that, though.  It’s a loss of who I was and what mattered to me.  That loss is present at other times of the year as well, but Christmas is one of the times when it gets in my face a little more.

So it will be a blue Christmas, not because of what I choose not to have or do, but because of what is no longer available to me.

 

 

book cover: Managing the Depression Puzzle: Putting the Pieces Together by Ashley L. Peterson

 

My new book, Managing the Depression Puzzle takes a holistic, everything up to and including the kitchen sink look at how to put together the pieces of your unique depression puzzle. It’s available on Amazon and other online retailers, as well as the MH@H Store.

 

32 thoughts on “A Blue Christmas – Depression and the Holidays”

  1. That’s so unfun! I like Christmas but not so much. I’m at the Christmas table if I can and with New Year’s Eve, if I can. But I love Halloween, the dressing up, the escaping out of reality, the spookyness, just everything. The two last years there was no Halloween spirit on the inside nor on the outside. I just stayed home alone. Do you think that the ‘festive’ spark can come back?

  2. Sorry about that. I’m a bit stressed too, regarding this big party next Saturday where I’ll see an ex and his daughter. And then Christmas Day itself, where I may see him again in an even smaller setting I wish I wasn’t going to now. But I don’t want to sit home alone stressing about stuff either. I do that enough!

  3. I felt like this over thanksgiving. I was expected to go but I didn’t. I just didn’t care about going to see everyone. I wanted to be home alone. If I had the option, I would skip Christmas. My mom would be upset though. Christmas is the number one important holiday to her.

    I get not enjoying things anymore. I get this way a lot. I don’t feel much pleasure doing anything. This happens the most when I am out rather than at home.

  4. I’m sorry to read about your blue Christmas phenomenon. It won’t be of comfort, it certainly isn’t to me, but almost everyone I know has said the same thing about a lack of Christmas spirit (I like your term “spark”) this year anyway. Nobody is decorating much. There’s a dis-spirited feel to the whole world (to me). But I have SAD and so I expect to feel this way. It was probably in the 1980s the last time I got really jazzed about Christmas. And 2005 was the death knell for my joy with the death of my mother on Dec 17th. My solution? To do little things I enjoy for myself. My family doesn’t care whether or not I’m involved – they all have their own kids and now grandkids and I’m surplus to requirements. It hurt for a long time, but now? I don’t get my expectations up, so I’m mostly not disappointed. And I realize that spring will be back soon enough and I’ll feel better. Hang in there. Here’s hoping you’re comfortable at least.

  5. Ohhh!! I wish you could still feel Christmas!! Somehow!! What about watching a classic movie, like Home Alone? It’s very Christmassy!! Or It’s a Wonderful Life? I don’t know, but I wish Christmas magic for you!!

  6. Girl, you are lucky you didn’t grew up in a Hispanic family. Christmas is EVERYTHING for us and if you are not in the Christmas spirit, you were called weird, or completely cast out. I have a complicated relationship with Christmas. Loved it, but not as much as my mother loves it; meaning, is not my favorite time of year (I’m more of a Halloween girl). But I do love the ambiance, the Yuletide celebrations and traditions, the food and the party. This year has been harder for me because of work and because, like you, I haven’t had the energy or the wanting to put Christmas decorations or lights. I used to LOVE November, and this year’s was SO hectic! I think is like a wave of emotions; some years are good, some are not and that’s OK. Enjoy your blue Christmas; it is YOURS. We are here with you; sad together, lonely together and yes, not liking Christmas so much together. Blessings

  7. It’s even more difficult when you know what you’ve lost. I hope you find peace at Christmas and manage the season in the way that’s best for you x

  8. I was like this much more when I split up with my husband before we divorced. For many years I volunteered for every weekend and Christmas shift going as I couldn’t bear to see people cosy up with families.
    I’m now remarried with young children but I have never really entered into it again, except for the children. It’s all about them, I reckon. So I make an effort so as not to ruin it! But inside I’m still the Christmas Scrooge (though it’s not about money). So I get where you’re coming from and it’s not very pleasant is it. I can’t decide if people grow out of Christmas or the losses alter it for a while, but whatever it is, I realise it’s not possible (or healthy) to try to pretend it’s any different. Luckily it’ll all be over again for a while year very soon!

  9. This is also my subject matter for tomorrow’s post of “Working on Us”… (With a slight twist though).
    I’ve been the same exact way… not interested in setting up our little Christmas tree, the few bags of gifts are just laying on my bedroom floor… No Umph! Whatsoever.
    Honestly… I know exactly how you feel. Like mourning a loss of my prior self. 😥

  10. I am sorry to hear about how lossed you feel. I give you a lot of credit though for discussing how you truly feel about christmas. I sure your post reached many people feeling a similar way.

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