It's a Sparkling New Year, So What? {Life}

I wrote this nearly a month ago and could only finish it now. My mind was in a disjointed space and I just couldn't string a coherent post together.  Now it's a New Year and I am filled with dread for what the next seven months hold in store. Two more college semesters, 300 volunteer hours, and supporting my family on a part time childcare worker wage.  I don't know where blogging is going to fit into this crazy schedule. I figured I may as well post this. Certainly I can't be the only one who has a really hard time coping with Holidays with depression....

I prepare for Christmas with a hint of dread.  Will it be the jolly season I hope for? Or will I have a relapse and ruin it for everyone around me?  For some people, Christmas is the brightest, happiest, and most joyous season.  For others the holiday season results in dark moods and struggling to get through the day.  I can't even explain why Christmas is the hardest time of year for me to cope, it just is.  I've struggled with periods of depression since I was a child.  Now that I have a little girl of my own I try to fake my way through festive activities to give her special memories.  In November this included a merry trip to the mall to see Santa.  We parked outside the closest entrance to Santa's village, waited in line before it was even open, and were out of there as soon as she sat on Santa's knee and got the photo to prove it.  Before you shake your finger and tell me that I shouldn't fake a jolly approach to the Holidays, you need to know that crowds give me panic attacks.  Another reason to avoid the mall is for the sake of certain Christmas songs that send me into fits of weeping. The only way to keep it under control is to avoid malls filled with Christmas music from November to January.  Overall I made it through Christmas with three meltdowns. I've made up with the offended family members and been forgiven for my "bad attitude". A quiet New Year's holiday gave me time to recuperate before returning to work and school.

My guide to surviving the holidays:

Plan parties and gatherings moderately.  I hosted one gathering and said no to many others.

Avoid meltdown triggers.  Knowing what your mood triggers is important. For me it's stress, sappy music, poor diet, or lack of sleep.

Give yourself permission to say NO.  After years of stressing myself to the max, I no longer feel like I need to attend every party, or participate in every gift exchange.

Ask for help -whether it's professional help or support from loved ones.  I hosted our family Christmas party this year and insisted on doing it all myself. This resulted in a week long recovery period.

Does anyone else have a hard time coping with the Holiday Season?

Disclaimer:  Please do not mistake this post for professional advice. See a medical professional if you experience chronic problems with mood or anxiety.


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