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Christmas & Depression


Kogent5

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Just wondering how people handle the holidays - does it improve or worsen your depression? How do you cope? What's good/bad about it?

I haven't had a good Christmas since high school over a decade ago. I wish I could treat it like any other holiday but I get very lonely and sad seeing other people so happy with their friends & family. My family never does anything, even though our extended family has a Christmas party every year (we're the "black sheep" family...). I don't want to invite myself to my friends' Christmas parties (I always get extra antisocial this time of year anyways). I just want to be alone until after the New Year.

It's been pretty consistently -20C the past week or so, and I'm ****** sick of it. I love winter but there are limits. It's made it much harder going for walks and being indoors all the time is not good for me. Plus our neighbors (the only ones my family liked) are moving this week and I'm just dreading how my family will react to the new neighbors.

I've tried getting into the holidays by decorating my own small Christmas tree (meh). I'll be donating blood on Monday so we'll see how that goes. I wanted to watch a movie alone but the idea of watching a romance alone is just too depressing, even for me.

The one thing I've been looking forward to is a bit sad. I'm going to make myself a Christmas Eve Eve dinner (Dec 23) with a bunch of my favorite foods. It'll just be me but I want it that way. I wish I wasn't so antisocial this time of year.

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Holiday's are always SO hard. I feel you with that. For me it gets hard trying to meet all the "obligations" and make everyone happy. Sometimes I feel like I miss out on being able to relax and enjoy holiday time since I'm so stressed about making sure I see everyone possible. UGH. So frustrating. Sometime it makes me wish I was thousand miles away so I didn't have to make so many concessions. Don't get me wrong, I love my family and want to be with them, but like so many our family is fractured so I feel pulled into so many different directions.

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It sounds like you get "lonely," meaning you don't want to be alone, but at the same time, you "just want to be alone until after the New Year."  Meaning you want to be alone. It's either one or the other, isn't it?

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I hear you, Kogent5; I find the Christmas holidays difficult too; the high expectations, the emphasis on social gatherings, the cold weather ... my family doesn't do much either. Personally I'm glad about that part because big parties and gatherings make me so anxious, but I understand also how it's difficult to see everyone around seeming to enjoy themselves so much & not yourself being a part of it.

Christmas eve eve dinner doesn't sound sad at all. :) I think the best thing you can do is try to be kind to yourself and treat yourself in small ways if you can. Are there any genres of movie other than romance you might feel more comfortable watching alone? Donating blood is a great idea also. I've heard that blood stocks tend to get really low around this time of year, so your donation will be especially valuable to those in need of it.

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1 hour ago, Luis said:

It sounds like you get "lonely," meaning you don't want to be alone, but at the same time, you "just want to be alone until after the New Year."  Meaning you want to be alone. It's either one or the other, isn't it?

I can understand feeling both ways at the same time: wanting, on one hand, to have company and be a part of something, but on the other, finding it overwhelming to do so, or not being able to get the sense of enjoyment or connection that others seem to from spending time together.

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I hate Christmas. Don't get me wrong I love the lights, the tree, and especially the music...but it's the family time that gets me down. My parents are divorced, which is a non-issue because it happened so long ago, but I'm still pulled in two different directions during the holiday season. My younger siblings are so entitled it sickens me. Honestly I don't think that there should be presents at all. Like what did you do on December 25th to deserve a gift. I'm not religious at all and I'm not implying the holidays should be a singularly religious experience, but can't people just me freaking nice to each other? My older siblings have families and can escape (lucky them). My father is remarried to an awful woman that was mentally and verbally abusive to me for years. I'm no longer a child and have no problem dishing it right back to her, but I shouldn't have to. My mother is single and borderline personality. For years I was the center of her emotional abuse as well. I apologize to anyone who has that diagnosis but being on the receiving end of its cruelty is rough. She is the queen of guilt trips. Back to the focus of this post, I do get very depressed during the Christmas season. I wish I had a regular family with normal quirks and loving get-togethers, but I don't. So I avoid them. Ok this may not seem healthy but it's how I cope. I'm a registered nurse in the intensive care unit. All of us have to work two holidays each year, and it works on a rotating schedule. And every year I find some mom or dad and offer to work their holidays. This year I worked Easter, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, and I will be working Christmas and Christmas Eve. I'm actually pretty psyched about it. I get to help sick people that actually need it, I get to make someone and their kids very happy and, I get to avoid what makes me unhappy. It's a win-win. The only holiday I actually enjoy is New Years (which I have off) because I get to see and hang out with friends. So when I get home from work on Christmas, I curl up on my couch with a glass of alcohol and watch a movie alone. That's my version of a perfect night.

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3 minutes ago, Morgan_13 said:

I hate Christmas. Don't get me wrong I love the lights, the tree, and especially the music...but it's the family time that gets me down. My parents are divorced, which is a non-issue because it happened so long ago, but I'm still pulled in two different directions during the holiday season. My younger siblings are so entitled it sickens me. Honestly I don't think that there should be presents at all. Like what did you do on December 25th to deserve a gift. I'm not religious at all and I'm not implying the holidays should be a singularly religious experience, but can't people just me freaking nice to each other? My older siblings have families and can escape (lucky them). My father is remarried to an awful woman that was mentally and verbally abusive to me for years. I'm no longer a child and have no problem dishing it right back to her, but I shouldn't have to. My mother is single and borderline personality. For years I was the center of her emotional abuse as well. I apologize to anyone who has that diagnosis but being on the receiving end of its cruelty is rough. She is the queen of guilt trips. Back to the focus of this post, I do get very depressed during the Christmas season. I wish I had a regular family with normal quirks and loving get-togethers, but I don't. So I avoid them. Ok this may not seem healthy but it's how I cope. I'm a registered nurse in the intensive care unit. All of us have to work two holidays each year, and it works on a rotating schedule. And every year I find some mom or dad and offer to work their holidays. This year I worked Easter, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, and I will be working Christmas and Christmas Eve. I'm actually pretty psyched about it. I get to help sick people that actually need it, I get to make someone and their kids very happy and, I get to avoid what makes me unhappy. It's a win-win. The only holiday I actually enjoy is New Years (which I have off) because I get to see and hang out with friends. So when I get home from work on Christmas, I curl up on my couch with a glass of alcohol and watch a movie alone. That's my version of a perfect night.

Seems like every one loses it this time of year. Sorry to hear about your family, my step dad is pretty bad sometimes too, and my parents were abusive to me as well growing up. My father is dead so I don't have to go to his christmas party, but I'm in kind of the same boat. My family is pretty judgemental so I don't like getting together with them a whole lot. It's great that your job is to help people, and I'm glad you don't have to do anything you don't want to this year.

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I tend to think that most of the Hype around holidays is caused by Advertising Executives. Christmas or holidays which ever you celebrate, were never meant to be this crazy. No one needs to celebrate anything. No one needs to spend money. There is actually a form of anxiety associated to those who cannot spend ridiculous sums of money on junk. And especially, no one needs to feel bad inside, because they cannot live up to some ridiculous image created by the consumer business and Ad executives.

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I have to add that being single during the holidays sucks. Last year I broke up with my boyfriend on Christmas Eve. Yes that sounds really depressing but it was an unhealthy relationship and I am proud of myself for finally ending it. Being alone is awful. This last year has definitely been my hardest for many reasons. I'm trying to get better now and joining this forum is helping. My sister just signed me up for eHarmony. I despise online dating sites. I'm a very independent woman and have enjoyed the single life this year. I do what I want when I want and don't have to dress up or impress anyone. I work all the time and sign up for extra shifts when I can. I'm also in school to finish my Bachelors. So I basically have no life which has helped me not worry about being single. Unfortunately being over worked and anxious has only increased my depression. At work I am the pillar of positivity though. I put a big smile on for my entire 12 hour shift and pretend like I love life. Apparently I should get an oscar though, because not one person knows that I am like a black whole of depression, tied in knots of anxiety. 

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I hate and love the holidays. They stress me out big time. I spend so much time trying to orchestrate on where to go, when we have to go, and meet all expectations, I feel like I miss out on what the true meaning of the holiday is. I just want to be able to relax and enjoy them, without feeling like I've disappointed someone by not being where they want me to be. I love my family, but it is so hard when our family is so split and I also have to work with my daughter's dad to make sure everyone has a "holiday".

Sometimes I just can't wait for the holiday time to be over so its one less thing I have to worry about. But whatever, we make it through.

Sometimes I have to be selfish to be able to allow myself the sanity to say its ok  not to do everything everyone wants me to. I dunno. Fingers crossed this year runs smoothly. So far so good, but  as usual I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.

 

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3 hours ago, Morgan_13 said:

I have to add that being single during the holidays sucks. Last year I broke up with my boyfriend on Christmas Eve. Yes that sounds really depressing but it was an unhealthy relationship and I am proud of myself for finally ending it. Being alone is awful. This last year has definitely been my hardest for many reasons. I'm trying to get better now and joining this forum is helping. My sister just signed me up for eHarmony. I despise online dating sites. I'm a very independent woman and have enjoyed the single life this year. I do what I want when I want and don't have to dress up or impress anyone. I work all the time and sign up for extra shifts when I can. I'm also in school to finish my Bachelors. So I basically have no life which has helped me not worry about being single. Unfortunately being over worked and anxious has only increased my depression. At work I am the pillar of positivity though. I put a big smile on for my entire 12 hour shift and pretend like I love life. Apparently I should get an oscar though, because not one person knows that I am like a black whole of depression, tied in knots of anxiety. 

Tell me about it. I feel like depressives tend to be good actors, my old avatar was a man wearing a rhinoceros mask, because I've always felt like our lot tend to learn to be able to hide our true feelings really well from others. I changed it because I've become completely open with how I feel to the people I know, and really it has helped a lot. Hiding it and bottling it up was driving me nuts.

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49 minutes ago, CoolCat7 said:

I feel mixed about the holidays.  I do enjoy buying gifts although the stress and pressure of buying so many at once (and the financial pressure) is tough.  I enjoy many of the festive aspects of the holiday (the coloured lights, baking, mandarin oranges, music-to some extent).  I HATE the obligation to get together with my mother and my brother's family on Dec. 25th every year for many reasons, although I like seeing my nephew and brother.  I do like seeing my in-laws.

But for those of you with no family during the holidays, please don't beat yourself up over what you're missing.  It's not as great as it seems from the outside.  Really.  Plus even if you have a good time at Christmas, there's always the letdown when it's over.  Just look after yourself, make yourself a nice dinner, watch a favourite movie or TV show, or go out to a movie.

I read somewhere that people who have nobody to celebrate Christmas with are putting ads on Craigslist to have someone to hang out with (not dating, just friendships).  So that's always an alternative.

I like getting gifts for the people I love too. It is kind of nice to make your friends and family happy by buying a perfect gift. One year I got my sister a necklace with the symbol of eternity on it, and it's one of her most prized possessions. Another year, I got my two best friends each a handheld gaming console (damn, those were expensive though lol), which really helped one of my friends through a tough time in his life when he was losing his mind. And this year, I'm hoping to give my grandfather something I made by hand (I machined a meat tenderizer out of aluminum, it turned out perfect), since being a carpenter he has made me lots of things by hand. So it can certainly be meaningful.

That's a cool idea about the craigslist ads. Loneliness sucks in general, especially this time of year.

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I used to not like xmas because it would always turn into a big argument at the dinner table. i'm a very cynical person so to me xmas is just a commercial excuse to force/guilt trip people into buying landfill for others that they essentially don't need. that said, im actually quite good and thoughful at buying presents, i just object to the social and commercial obligation of it. my dad had a stroke a month ago and is still in hospital so this year we'll no doubt be spending a part of xmas day by his bed on the ward. im just dreading it. i tend to get most depressed around my birthday though

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I hate the holidays because of the commercialism. In my opinion, that alone is depressing. I won't buy gifts for anyone, and vice-versa. If I had people in my life, they'll get NOTHING and like it. If I'm not enough, I can give them the ultimate Christmas gift: showing them the door. Bye-bye, don't come back.

 

- KS

Edited by KidSurvivor2011
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The holidays...ugh! They start too early (around October now???). The advertisements, the songs, the decorations, the merchandise, the food, the "cheerfulness", the GREED. I hate all of it. The sight, the sound, etc. So, every year my mother asks everyone in our family for their "Christmas Lists" and every year I never give her one because I don't WANT anything for Christmas (same for my birthday). If I WANT or NEED something...I'll buy it myself. Only I know what I want and I don't want other people buying stuff for me that I don't want or need. But--she and other family members get me "stuff" anyway. I don't buy them anything, anyway. I don't care. 

In my opinion, people buy stuff for other people not just to make those people feel good, but to make THEMSELVES feel good too. When they see how "happy" someone is with a gift, it gives them a good feeling too. But I don't get that feeling. Getting OR giving doesn't make me feel that way...AT ALL. 

IF I'm not feeling it in Nov. or the beginning of Dec. I KNOW for sure that X-Mas week will always, ALWAYS, put me back into my depressive mindset. Never fails. I'm feeling it right now and I can't stand it. People seem even MORE cheerful because it's "almost here". But I can't and don't want to match their enthusiasm. All I want is to let them enjoy their stupid holiday and leave me out of it. But nooooo, I'm part of the family (doesn't always feel that way) and should be included.

Just leave me alone for the day. They can't/don't seem to be able to get it through their heads that Christmas doesn't make ME feel as good as it make THEM feel. Greedy people asking for stuff they don't need (they WANT), stuffing their faces with more food than they need (they WANT), and having family and friends over to talk about stuff that I have no interest in. Sometimes I feel like I'd rather **** myself than go through another holiday season. 

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Thanks everyone for your replies. If I can get through the holidays, I'll be alright. It's just right now, it feels torturous. Yesterday i made my big Christmas feast, and it honestly didn't really lift my spirits. Walking outside and shovelling the snow made me feel really good, though - go figure. I wanted to go to church but I got worried I would see someone I knew and they'd ask why I was there alone. Couldn't give blood either because I got a health scare and I need to figure out what's going on with that before I can go donate. Sigh.

I will spend today and tomorrow in my room since my family never does anything for Christmas. I'm going to walk a lot on Boxing Day since there's a Pokemon Go event and I will need to be out of the house for sure after 2 days being "trapped" inside.

On 2016-12-17 at 1:16 AM, Luis said:

It sounds like you get "lonely," meaning you don't want to be alone, but at the same time, you "just want to be alone until after the New Year."  Meaning you want to be alone. It's either one or the other, isn't it?

I am very much an introvert, so I'd say 90/10 I prefer being alone to being with others. Even if it's not that frequent, when I want to be with others, the loneliness really hurts. I also think there's different types of being alone. I absolutely hate being alone surrounded by people who are together. I like being alone around other people who are alone. I hope that makes sense..

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Christmas is hard for me too. I think that's pretty common for people who have depression. Sometimes the problem is that expectations for it get built up to the point that the reality just can't measure up. I try to keep reminding myself that most people's lives aren't Norman Rockwell paintings and even lives that look perfect from the outside probably aren't. 

Kogent5, I think if people at church ask you why you're there alone, you might want to look for a different church. It's a rude question and none of their business. We need to be kind and respectful toward one another, especially in church. 

Morgan_13, it's really nice of you to work other people's holiday shifts for them. I'm sure your coworkers and their families appreciate it a lot.

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On ‎12‎/‎17‎/‎2016 at 10:56 AM, LoneSquirrel said:

I feel particularly rotten this year because of circumstances beyond my control.

Everything seems to be going wrong in my life.

I used to enjoy the holidays to some degree, but this year is s***.

((((((((((((LoneSquirrel))))))))))) I hear you; this has been the worst year of my life; I empathize completely.:hugs:and it came right on the heels of 2015, which was probably the best!  Best wishes; I hope things turn around for the better for you, and soon!:icon12:

Edited by mulberrypie
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2 hours ago, Kogent5 said:

Thanks everyone for your replies. If I can get through the holidays, I'll be alright. It's just right now, it feels torturous. Yesterday i made my big Christmas feast, and it honestly didn't really lift my spirits. Walking outside and shovelling the snow made me feel really good, though - go figure. I wanted to go to church but I got worried I would see someone I knew and they'd ask why I was there alone. Couldn't give blood either because I got a health scare and I need to figure out what's going on with that before I can go donate. Sigh.

I will spend today and tomorrow in my room since my family never does anything for Christmas. I'm going to walk a lot on Boxing Day since there's a Pokemon Go event and I will need to be out of the house for sure after 2 days being "trapped" inside.

I am very much an introvert, so I'd say 90/10 I prefer being alone to being with others. Even if it's not that frequent, when I want to be with others, the loneliness really hurts. I also think there's different types of being alone. I absolutely hate being alone surrounded by people who are together. I like being alone around other people who are alone. I hope that makes sense..

((((((((((((Kogent5))))))))))):hugs:

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On 12/17/2016 at 1:34 AM, NoraRae said:

Holiday's are always SO hard. I feel you with that. For me it gets hard trying to meet all the "obligations" and make everyone happy. Sometimes I feel like I miss out on being able to relax and enjoy holiday time since I'm so stressed about making sure I see everyone possible. UGH. So frustrating. Sometime it makes me wish I was thousand miles away so I didn't have to make so many concessions. Don't get me wrong, I love my family and want to be with them, but like so many our family is fractured so I feel pulled into so many different directions.

I definitely agree with you. I think the hardest part is that you need to meet these obligations and make everyone happy. However, the past 3 years we've decided with my family to stop buying presents for each other, (except for the kids) and that helped. Before we all would go crazy, broke, trying to find the perfect gift. Now it's more about getting together (close family ONLY) which reduces the stress of trying to make everyone happy, because you can't. We just have a simple dinner and that's it. I think it has lessen the stress from past holidays.

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All month long I've been thinking "I really hate this holiday!". Why? My mother passed away in 2011. Ever since then I haven't really had a good time at any of the holiday parties. Holidays are just another painful reminder that my mother isn't here. 

I feel really bad that I can't afford to get anyone any gifts this year. We usually just buy presents for the kids. But sometimes my siblings will get me something. Then I feel bad that I wasn't able to get them anything in return. 

I hate going to family functions. Because I know hardly anyone will talk to me. My family does talk to me but not as much as they talk to each other. I want to participate in the conversations but I don't know what to say. So I shut down. I always dread going to family functions. Mostly because of the anxiety. There's only so much I can take before I'm spent. 

I hope that the OP is able to enjoy the day tomorrow. I wish you well! 
(OP=Original Poster) 

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I don't actually find christmas that bad compared to any other part of the year, having such a small family who don't normally want to do anything different on christmas other than having a christmas meal together and going for a communal walk on boxing day. So I don't really find this part of the year stressful as there is little expectation or responsibility on my part. I guess I am lucky there as I know what a stressful time of year it can be for everyone generally:hugs: , new year bothers me more to be honest than christmas does. 

 

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9 hours ago, mulberrypie said:

((((((((((((LoneSquirrel))))))))))) I hear you; this has been the worst year of my life; I empathize completely.:hugs:and it came right on the heels of 2015, which was probably the best!  Best wishes; I hope things turn around for the better for you, and soon!:icon12:

Thanks Mulberrypie!! I've heard a lot of people say that 2016 was a horrible year for them. Maybe 2017 will be our year!!  I'll keep my fingers crossed for you too!!  :flowers:

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i usually really like Christmas the only thing that upsets me is my family fighting. So far its going pretty good despite that im spending it alone with the cat since my family went on vacation and I chose not to go because I didn't want to put up with my father, My car broke down and I had to be towed home by triple AAA and I have no money to fix my car so i am pretty much stuck in the house. Despite this I feel really relaxed and happy for some reason I must really miss the peace and quiet,

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