Holidays are a festive time of year. Decorations deck halls, choirs sing merrily, gifts pile up under trees, and store clerks beam as people bustle about the store. Christmas pretty much equals joy, right?
Well, that is what we are pressured to think. However, for many people especially those with depression, this time of year can be very saddening and frightening. Christmas lights blink overwhelmingly, choirs are filled with people who might judge, gifts lack love, and store clerks are probably wanting to strangle customers while faking a smile.
How can we find peace and joy during this season without faking?
Christmas both fills me with joy and depression. I long to be happy and normal with my family. Squawking siblings, heaping mounds of food, constant crowds, and perpetually giving gifts without people seeming to care grates on me. Yet, my faith and the joyful moments spent alone with family or making a friend smile remind me of the beauty of this season.
If this is a hard time of year for you, I encourage you to do something small to bring some holiday joy into the next few days. Buy yourself a gift and wrap it up in pretty paper. Take a bath while listening to some carols. Take a walk to look at Christmas lights. There are less overwhelming and hectic ways to enjoy this holiday.
Also, allow yourself the time to cry or yell. You might need to paste on a smile at family gatherings. However, find times to express the sorrow, hopelessness, or pain inside yourself. Be alone if that helps or find someone that you care about to tell your feelings.
My hope is to have a mostly joyful holiday season. There will be some difficult moments, but my desire is that these will be offset by Christmas peace and hope. I hope this for all of you as well.