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Merry Blue Christmas

A Message to Those Spending Christmas Alone

Are you spending Christmas alone?  Hey, me too!  We've all got our stories for why we might be having a blue Christmas alone, and chances are there are a lot of common themes amongst our stories.  Here's mine, in the hopes of perhaps showing other people out there that they're not truly alone.

I used to love Christmas.  Love as in LOVE.  It wasn't stressful; it was just a happy time to eat, drink, and decorate with my immediate family.  We had our particular foods we would always eat, games we would play, and movies we would watch.  It was by far the best time of the year.  Even once I moved out on my own, I loved to put up a Christmas tree and do loads of Christmas baking.  On years that I wasn't able to be with my family, I would excitedly make my own turkey dinner.

And then depression came along and changed everything.  There was one Christmas that I spent in hospital.  My family stayed in my hometown and didn't come to see me until after Christmas.  So there I was, in the psych ward, eating crappy hospital food and feeling entirely abandoned and unloved.

That wasn't my first difficult Christmas.  There was one year that my boyfriend (who I'd met in the psych ward) had attempted suicide, and I spent Christmas glued to his bedside in intensive care watching his chest move up and down in response to the ventilator.  There was just a brief break to get a rather pathetic soggy hot dog from 7-Eleven (it was the only thing open).

Things got really bad again a couple of years ago, when depression made a reappearance that now seems to be permanent.  I was so convinced that my family would judge, criticize, and reject me that I had stopped talking to them.  I didn't care about Christmas because depression made it impossible for me to care about anything.  I was alone and totally miserable.

Last year, I decided to try doing Christmas with my family.  I went back to my hometown and stayed with my Grandma, while my brother and his fiancee stayed with my parents.  It was hard.  There was too much stimulation, too many people around, too many questions.  I know they weren't trying to make it hard; it was just too much for me to handle.

This year, as in the past two years, I'm not able to summon up any sort of caring about Christmas.  Depression is not prepared to allow that.  I'll be spending Christmas alone, which is fine.  I haven't put up any decorations, and I'm not doing a turkey dinner.  I suppose I could, but somehow it feels like pretending to care would feel worse than just letting myself not care.  

It's a time of year with a lot of expectations.  That's never been too much of an issue for me, because the way my family always did Christmas we just didn't buy into that sort of thing.  What is probably the  most challenging for me is seeing the stark contrast between the well me that used to love Christmas and the ill me that just doesn't give a crap.  I pretend Christmas isn't actually happening in order to avoid thinking about just how much I've lost because of my illness.

So to everyone else out there who might be having a blue Christmas alone, for whatever the reason, I'm right there beside you.  And perhaps even though we may be physically alone, we are never alone in our experience.

Merry blue Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

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