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How much of my holiday depression is my fault?

Somewhere, probably over some freakin’ rainbow, is the Christmas of my dreams. You know the one with little kids making snow angels in the front yard, a new Lexus in the driveway with a ginormous bow on it and gingerbread houses that don’t collapse.

However, I live in south Florida so the snow angel thing is out. I would rather have a Prius than a Lexus and unless you make a gingerbread house with gorilla glue, it’s going to collapse. Get over it.shutterstock_91076213

Problem is, I can’t get over it. Actually, the problem is the sentence before this one. I think “I can’t get over it,” when in fact, I don’t allow myself to “get over it.” Every year it’s the same thing: I invite a mythical family, with mythical snow in the front yard and mythical gingerbread houses into my head.

I sit on my pity pot and watch them have their mythical Christmas. I get jealous, mad, jealous, sad, jealous, angry, jealous, depressed. I do this to myself. I allow this brain chemistry to happen because I allow myself to have stupid, unrealistic expectations.

And what are expectations?

They are premeditated disappointments. I am the one who premeditates this mythical Christmas. Of course, the folks at Lexus and DeBeers don’t help with their annoyingly unrealistic commercials.

But I have the power to control my thoughts – to a point – and if I don’t control my thoughts, they get out of hand. The rumination begins, my thoughts begin to race and my depression kicks in. Then it’s game over. Down goes Frazier.

Last year I tried to pretend that it wasn’t Christmas, which was stupid because IT REALLY WAS CHRISTMAS. Denying reality isn’t healthy for me. I once denied that a leaky pipe was really leaking a lot and ended up with a $700 water bill.

The holidays are here whether I acknowledge them or not. And like a diabetic facing a mountain of decorated sugar cookies, I need discipline. I need to reign in those mythical “happy, happy, happy” thoughts when they begin. If I don’t, the chemistry of my brain changes.┬áThose little neurotransmitters don’t work properly.

I need to take my meds, control my thoughts, eat foods that aren’t going to make me bounce off the walls and crash into a pit of remorse and put my fingers in my ears when I hear that annoyingly cheerful Feliz Navidad song. Get the endorphins flowing with some exercise. Get enough sleep and for God’s sake, don’t drink alcohol – it’s a depressant, you know.

And now, I think I will go to the beach and make snow angels in the sand. How’s that for a little holiday cheer, Mr. 10-below zero?

Sad dog in Santa hat available from Shutterstock.

 

How much of my holiday depression is my fault?

Christine Stapleton

Christine Stapleton has been a journalist for 35 years. She is now an investigative reporter for The Palm Beach Post. In 2006, began writing a blog for PsychCentral called Depression on My Mind. Her latest blog, Addiction Matters, draws on her 19 years of sobriety and her coverage of the drug treatment industry in South Florida.


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APA Reference
Stapleton, C. (2014). How much of my holiday depression is my fault?. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 19, 2019, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/depression/2014/12/how-much-of-my-holiday-depression-is-my-fault/

 

Last updated: 2 Dec 2014
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