I was born with a sunny disposition. Just ask my mother. She always marveled to anyone who’d listen that “Jane was such a happy baby. She never cried. Ever. We took her to the doctor when she was 6 months old because we were worried she might be retarded or something.”
Yep. That’s my mom.
But I am. Happy, that is. Most all of the time. I’ve had my share of down moments but they rarely last long. And that is such a blessing. It truly is. My extended family is riddled with mental illness so I’ve seen the consequences first hand. I don’t want any part of it.
As I mentioned Wednesday, December was a &%!#$. Really. Awful. Struggles in all areas of my life. Financial. Marriage. Friends. Family. Even kids. Things so personal I would never, ever mention them here. You’ll have to let your imagination run wild. And quite honestly, my real life friends and family have no clue either. Only my therapist knows the deepest, darkest. I’m, believe it or not, a private person. (That sounds so funny from someone who blogs their life to the masses, doesn’t it?)
I am private about the deepest, darkest. I think because I don’t want to seem like someone who wallows in self-pity. I know it’s because I don’t want to be perceived as weak. Strong was always valued by my father. Letting things roll right off your back. Pick yourself up and move forward. “You’ll get over it,” was his common refrain. We used to joke that would be his epitaph — “They’ll get over it.”
Back to this past December.
I’ve heard, over and over, how tough the holidays are for some. The pressure. The strain. The in-laws and dysfunctional family get togethers. The financial pressure to measure up. To buy, buy, buy. The social obligations. Forced “Happy Holiday” greetings through gritted teeth.
The logical side of my brain got it. The emotional side of my brain didn’t.
That delicious time (and I do mean delicious) between Thanksgiving and New Years is my hands-down favorite time of the year. I live for it. I hum Christmas carols all year round. I start buying for next year (mostly out of necessity but that doesn’t make it any less fun) as soon as January hits.
And thank goodness, especially this year, that I enjoy December so much.
I said to my therapist, that if it weren’t for the fact that I love the holidays, I just might have slit my wrists. I’m not being flippant. I’m not trying to minimize anyone else’s pain out there. I’m trying to say the emotional part of my brain finally got it this year.
Now before you start worrying your pretty little heads – no one has cancer. Our home is not in foreclosure. It was just (Ha! Just. As if.) a bombardment of yucky, crappy things. A new one each day. For a little over three weeks. Every. Single. Day. From the vacuum cleaner breaking (a ridiculously expensive central vac system) to friendships crumbling to burst water pipes and …… well, I mentioned I’m private. I’m stopping there.
Every day it was something new. It got to the point that I’d wake up and say, “So God (or is it the devil?), what are you going to throw at me today?”
I’d start mumbling mantras: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”
But that got old.
I’d start preparing and imagining for the worst every time the phone rang or we’d step into the car (Did I mention my husband’s car getting smashed in a parking lot? That was an eventful day.)
But that just put my stomach into knots.
Truly. If it weren’t for the joyous Christmas season – joyous for me, anyway – I never would have made it out. And there’s this little inkling in me, right this very minute, that is trying to strip away all the holiday spirit and really try to comprehend all that happened. But then there is this Superhero force that stops myself and doesn’t let me go there.
Thank goodness. Time to just forget it all and move forward.
Thank you, happy Christmas gene.
I am feeling so grateful that I lucked out with a happy Christmas gene that got me through. There are a small handful of you out there (you know who you are and to protect your privacy I’m not naming/linking here — I’m sure you understand) that suffer during this time of year or also had a particularly difficult December. I’m sending a Superhero strength anti-depression gene to anyone who needs it.
He looks a little like this:
Cute, huh? He sits snug as a …..well, penguin in your nucleus accumbens and will travel to your prefrontal cortex, your amygdala. Wherever he is needed. He doesn’t look like much. Certainly not like a Superhero (I think his tux is cleverly hiding his cape). But he’s plenty powerful, believe you me.
I had to rely on him much this holiday season. And afterwards, too.
But I’m done with him now.
(Ahhhh, if only it were that simple. Hugs to ALL of you out there. Superhero hugs from me.)