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My ADHD Stress This Holiday Season

Last year's tree is just a memory

I seem to be suffering from the most debilitating episode of anxiety. In the last two months I’ve been awakened three times in the night with excruciating chest pains. I swear it feels like I’m suffering cardiac failure, but no.

The holidays seem to be playing a roll here. I’m feeling the loss of my wife this month rather acutely. I’m not trying to downplay what I’ve felt up ‘til now, but I have to say that comparing my lot to those around me is making me feel the strain a bit more.

My missing executive function

The holidays were done up right in my household when my wife was alive. She planned and I followed orders. She ‘organized’, I ‘did’. I can still ‘do’, but I don’t know where to start, nor can I tell you what decorating would accomplish.

I can guess though

I did give some thought to Christmas celebrations a few weeks ago and decided I’d give the decorating and card writing a miss. I figured, not only would I mess it up somehow, but I’d be very likely to still have a decorated house come June. I don’t need this stress my first Christmas alone, do I?

It’s never so bad that it can’t get worse, apparently …

There are presents that my wife bought for some of the family. I know where they’re hiding, but I can’t look at them. I don’t know if I’d be able to tell who they were for and I don’t think I can make myself go out and make up the deficit for those who have nothing in the cache. Maybe next year I’ll be able to handle it. Or maybe I’ll just quietly give out what’s there over the next few months. I’m trying to lessen my ADHD symptoms and this seems like a good idea.

There's always a dawn

But there is a light

I don’t want to bring you all down at this time of year. I don’t want to burden anyone with my problems, so I’ve got a couple of things to share with you that hopefully will make you cheer or smile or at least not worry about me.

Where is Christmas?

The first one is that Christmas is in me. I have a most amazing memory for someone with ADHD. I can trip back through time and rejoin wonderful celebrations. In my mind and my heart, my mother lives and makes sure that Santa has filled one of my father’s old grey work socks with colored pencils and candy, a harmonica and a comic book and the obligatory orange in the toe.

My memory is where my grandmother is cooking a turkey and my grandfather is at the stable taking extra care of the livestock and maybe staying out of grandma’s way a bit.

In my memory my new wife is giving me a pipe like my grandfather’s in the hope that I’ll give up cigarettes, and she’s giving me a package of colored pencils to remind me of my childhood. My memory is one of the places I’ll celebrate Christmas this year. And that’s a good place to start.

Who is Christmas?

And secondly, I have friends who have gathered around me over the last three and a half months. Some are old friends and some are new, some are family and some are chosen. They are all special, and they are gathering to help me get through.

They are taking me into their hearts and their homes and holding me and keeping me standing when I would have fallen long ago and often. Within the embrace of my friends and family is the other place I will celebrate Christmas. My loss will be shouldered by them as well as me and that will make it no less a loss, but I will be comforted by their effort.

Real Christmas Cheer!

And there is one more thing I would tell you all. On Saturday, December the 10th, 2011, I celebrated 28 years of sobriety. There were times these last three months that I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. If you haven’t dealt with this particular issue, it may be hard to imagine being sober for that long and still knowing the very real possibility of slipping, but it is there always.

Yes, this isn’t a very cheerful post over all, but I promise to brighten up on Wednesday. I owe you that much, for you are among the friends and family I spoke of who are holding me up. Thank you.

My ADHD Stress This Holiday Season

Kelly Babcock

I was born in the city of Toronto in 1959, but moved when I was in my fourth year of life. I was raised and educated in a rural setting, growing up in a manner I like to refer to as free range. I live in an area where my family history stretches back 6 or more generations. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 50 and have been both struggling with the new reality and using my discoveries to make my life better. I write two blogs here at Psych Central, one about having ADHD and one that is a daily positive affirmation that acts as an example of finding the good in as much of my life as I possibly can.

Find out more about me on my website: writeofway.

email me at ADHD Man

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APA Reference
Babcock, K. (2011). My ADHD Stress This Holiday Season. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 13 Dec 2011
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