The past year has taught me a lot about myself, I've unearthed many childhood memories (good as well as bad) and I have fought and defeated many demons. Friendships have grown from surprising places and I've been blessed by these. The biggest lesson I've learnt this year is that I am even more of a survivor than I thought I was. My childhood was much more damaging than I'd thought a year ago and my adult life was deeply affected by this.
I've grown and developed more as an adult. I no longer seek to be the man I was born to be... I am becoming the man I want to be. This is my life! If I can do something, anything, to help others who suffered as I did and if I can raise enough awareness about the issues of childhood sexual abuse I might even save someone else from being a victim. That is my Christmas wish this year.
Christmas is coming...... I have always loved Christmas, the build up, the sharing, time with friends and family. Almost every year as an adult I end up depressed....
It has improved over the last few years. Acknowledging the fact it exists, and then sharing that knowledge is so important. I know now the reasons why I struggle over Christmas.. A need to please, wanting everything to go well, I plan and prepare and plot too much. The grandfather was born on Christmas Day... That used to really bug me. Gifts I received for Christmas used to vanish soon afterwards and I'd get the blame. In truth he sold them to pay for his Whisky habit...
I almost got into that "habit" myself as an adult. Drink was such an easy escape, then mornings came and feelings of guilt, shame and the hangover. I hid this for years. It was always worse at Christmas. Now I enjoy an occasional drink, but stick to the milder varieties and rarely get drunk.
I spent a couple of Christmases totally alone, not seeing anyone. I hated it and now if I hear of anyone spending the day alone I invite them over. Christmas is no time to be alone.
‘Tis the season to be jolly..... Apparently December is not only the month where depression is most likely to hit you but it also has the highest rate of suicides. It’s the month where family and friends should be getting together, where you plan your Christmas and decorate the home etc.
Many things can trigger deeper depression in December...
Loneliness, bereavement and grieving, failed business or loss of a job. The breakup of a relationship. Ill health generally. All likely to set you on the road to depression at any time, but worse at this time of year.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D) adds to the equation. I love Christmas but hate the short days and cold wet weather..
It's the most wonderful time of the year...
Coping with depression is bad enough, but trying to do so when everyone else is extra happy makes it harder to reach out, to ask for help. We don't want to stand out from the crowd so instead we cut ourselves off. Not wanting to drag others down into our depression we stand alone, and watch from the sidelines.
Instances of depression are higher in those who have suffered trauma in their earlier lives. At a time of year where people are getting together to celebrate, those with depression are most likely to feel more isolated. Unable to join in, to embrace the season of good will, they sink further and further into a pit of gloom.
Alone in crowd. I have often felt most lonely when there are people hustling and bustling around me, laughing and joking. Not wanting to spoil their festive fun I would either paint a false smile on my face or just vanish into the shadows. Christmas can be a very stressful time for anyone. For those prone to depression it can be a nightmare.
Though there has been more publicity over the issue of Christmas depression in recent years, it is still not understood. The most important thing you can do is tell someone how you feel. Reach out before the season starts and share. Communication is much easier now. Social media and the internet generally helps bring people together. Telephone someone, talk to someone. See your Doctor or Priest, just don't sit at home alone. There is no shame in admitting that you get depressed and you may be suprised to find others feeling the same way. All to often those who find themselves getting depressed do nothing about it.
Depression can deeply affect your life. It can sneak up and disrupt your work, your home life, your health generally and can lead you to neglect those around you that need you well. Grab a hold of the problem and do something about it.The most important thing is to reach out, ask for help, talk to someone.