My favourite part of the holidays is the nostalgia that drips sweet with memory. The other thing I love about the holidays is relaxing – something I don’t often do.
Like many people, I particularly like Christmas. Believe it or not – and to the dismay of many – I have already started listening to Christmas music since the middle of October. Yes, October. I am anxiously awaiting snow, and ready to drink Starbucks and tea every morning to keep my chilly hands and body warm.
However, I do find that my depression creeps in the worst during these holidays. The worst for me is Valentine’s Day (I know that’s cliche, but isn’t life itself?) The other holiday that hits me the worst in Christmas.
Despite knowing these holidays are my triggers, while I sit here writing this, I had to think for quite awhile as to why these holidays trigger me so greatly.
I think the first reason is the reflecting. The worst thing I can have is free time (which is part of the reason why I keep myself so busy) because when I have time to just breathe, I end up brooding. The holidays allow time to reflect upon both the amazing things that I have in life like a great family, amazing friends, and great mentors; but, it also give enough time for my depression to creep, silent as the Grinch, into my head. It quickly begins to pull me down.
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Another reason I trigger is because I unnecessarily compare myself to everyone else and all that they have. I really do try hard to not do this, but with all my free time and the hustle and bustle of pre-holidays, I begin to subconsciously compare myself to others. It is an awful cycle, and one that only shows up during the holidays.
I don’t mean to say the holidays are completely awful and I hate them and everything about them; however, I do want to be honest about both the good and the bad. Of course my depression doesn’t cloud everything. It only comes in bursts, and so the holidays come and pass in great happiness and magic.
So, with all this being said I am publicly keeping myself accountable. After all, the theme for this month is not only “holidays” but also “recovery.” So, I think for me to stick with my recovery during the holidays I think I need to have a great amount of transparency.
My vows for the upcoming holidays are to:
- Write down everything I am thankful for.
- Focus on the positive things about the holidays.
- Participate in everything around me.
- Tell the people in my life that they are loved.
- Drink more tea. (This is because at heart, I am a HUGE tea granny. It makes me happy.)
I think these things will begin to help me with my depression during the holidays. And more importantly, they will help me with my recovery during the holidays too.
I challenge you to come up with your own list of what you can do to brighten your holidays even more than they are already. After all, darkness is only there when there is no light to diffuse it. Therefore, if I constantly try and keep the light steady, the darkness of my depression will have nowhere to go but away. This idea will also begin to program my brain back into thinking about the positives before the negatives, which will allow me to live a happier life.
Well, to end this I guess I should say: Happy Holidays! Whether it’s American Thanksgiving or Christmas (on the day I’m writing this it is exactly 2 months until Old Saint Nick makes a worldwide arrival!), I hope your holidays are filled with happiness, love, and family.
And just as important, I really hope that the holidays give you time to recover from the hustle and bustle of life, but also begin a positive walk into recovery from any eating disorder, depression, or negative image you may have. Happy holidays, and I give you all my best regards!
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