Tuesday, 2 December 2014

What I hate about Christmas

Only a few weeks until Christmas.  Many people are already in the festive spirit.  Decorations light up homes and streets, shops are full of customers and it’s hard to have a conversation without mentioning the holidays.  People are happy and cheerful, but not all of us.

What does Christmas remind me off?  Poverty and loneliness.  Yeah, OK, not something you particularly want to read when you’re counting down the sleeps, but not everybody is in the festive mood. 

This year, despite making great achievements and memories, I have spent most of it in depression.  To some of my friends and family that may come as a shock, I might look OK, as I go about my days pretending to be so, but in my mind it has been gripped by darkness.  It’s somewhat become my default state.

Since November I have thought of Christmas like an impending dentist appointment.  The thought of buying presents, the thought of putting on that cheerful face and spending time with my family.  I sound like an awful person, don’t I?  Like me explain.

What I despise about Christmas is the importance of buying presents.  Think back to Black Friday on 28th November 2014, pictures and videos showed shoppers fighting over products, trampling on people and ransacking shops.  It showed greed at its best.  There is a huge emphasis on buying expensive presents, and when money is tight it’s more important to get them at a bargain price.  Adverts show the latest tablet, laptop, TV, games and kitchen appliances that people crave.  But what about the people who try to buy their loved ones what they want when money is low?

Because of life circumstances during the last few months I have been unable to buy any presents.  The need to buy presents for my family has become consuming.  I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place.  Do I buy presents and risk going in the red, cutting back on the heating and food bills, or feel guilty, frugal and disappointed in myself by not? 

And then once the presents are bought, there then comes the dreaded day.  Everybody is smiling, seeing family members for the first time in God knows when, smelling the food cooking in the kitchen, looking at the mountain of wrapped presents in the living room and hearing those familiar Christmas songs.  Everybody is happy on Christmas Day, it’s almost a crime not to be, but if you suffer from depression, if nothing else makes you happy, then neither will Christmas.

It’s the day where I have to act more than any other day.  When I want to avoid everyone and hide I have to join in with jokes, laughter, games and happiness.  Acting more makes me want to cry.  Why can’t I be that happy, I often think to myself.  I struggle to tell people how I feel anyway, but to tell them on Christmas Day?  Not a chance.

And when depressed people are portrayed as negative, and many other adjectives, invitations out to parties and dinners become less, or non-existent.  It can feel hurtful standing on the perimeter when you watch people exchange presents from exclusive Secret Santa groups and talk about upcoming Christmas Do’s that you’re not invited to.  It’s exceptionally hurtful when they’re the friends you lost from previous depressive episodes.  Who wants to be friends with a depressed person anyway?

Just to sound remotely human, I do honestly wish people happiness over the festive period, whatever you believe or celebrate.  I wish that upon everybody, every day of the year.

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