Please watch this video by Jessica, she’s amazing and this video really hit home. Warning: you may cry during the video!
Originally, I was going to do a different post, but this video just struck me.
Being sad at Christmas can really feel like you’re breaking some sort of unspoken rule. But, honestly, I’m pretty sure it’s relatively normal. Christmas (and this season in general) has such a focus on happiness and blessings and family, that if any of those areas aren’t “perfect” it stands out like a neon sign.
I’m struggling this year, but doing my best not to show it. Part of that is due to the fact that I absolutely love the Christmas season and I don’t want to focus on it either. But, I also don’t want to bring anyone else down.
In the last 4 1/2 years, I’ve lost all 3 of my grandparents. I only had 3 grandparents because my mom’s dad died when I was only 9 months old. I was lucky to develop an extremely close relationships with all 3 of my grandparents – they were essential to who I was as a person and were some of my favorite people in the world. Gram, my mom’s mother, actually helped raise me from 9 months old to 18 months old because my mom had hyperemesis gravidarum for the full 9 months she was pregnant with my sister. Gram and I stayed very close until she moved out of state when I was 11 (though, prior to her moving I lived with her for an entire week to help her prepare the house). Grama and Grampa lived ten minutes away from us after we moved when I was 5. I went to see them a lot as I was growing up, and when I got my license I would go over there almost every weekend. Grama and I were extremely close, and later in life Grampa and I also became very close. Grama dying was one of the hardest moments of my life, and I still break down crying if I think about it too long.
Not having my grandparents has made this year particularly weird for me. My mom and dad are also not feeling particularly seasonal, which makes phone conversations with my mom difficult. And my sister gets a little annoyed with the holidays not happening “on time” (they don’t have a tree yet and no decorations are up). I’d love to have them all come here, but that isn’t feasible since they got one of Grama and Grampa’s kitties, and he isn’t meshing into their fur family very well.
I’m struggling to try to make it feel like Christmas, but the “no family” feeling and the unseasonably warm weather (it’s been late spring / early fall weather here lately) is making it difficult to keep the Christmas cheer thing going.
This video is a wonderful reminder that it’s okay to experience sadness and depression this time of year – and it in no way makes you “defective” or “wrong.” Allow yourself to feel your emotions, and reach out to someone about them.
If you’re in need of help this Christmas season, and feel you have no one to reach out to, please utilize these numbers (in the USA). People are available to talk to 24/7 and will listen to anything you have going on. You do not have to be in a “crisis” to use these numbers!
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 (there appears to be a “chat” button for an instant messenger version) – this is geared more towards people being in a crisis, but I highly doubt they’ll turn you away
Hopeline: 1-800-442-4673 (online chat available)
7 Cups: free online chat, you can also subscribe (not free) to do online therapy with actual therapists – no “I need to be in a crisis” type of feeling as it’s literally just “hey, we’re here to listen to anything.” (I also think this is available outside of the USA, but I’m not entirely sure.)
211: dialing 211 in the United States (almost anywhere) connects you to health and social services – they can help you locate resources specific to your needs. While they’re not the “we’re here to listen” folks, they can help you connect with the ones you need.
If you’re in a fantastic place right now, consider volunteering for one of the services I mentioned above!