I was recently sitting in a restaurant, enjoying the conversation and the person I was with when suddenly my attention tuned into the happy, joyful Christmas music blaring above. “I don’t like Christmas music!” I belted out. Whenever I hear it, I cringe. I tense up. I may even snarl.
I can’t help it. I don’t like it.
The reason I don’t like it is… it’s all happy. Other than “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” it’s all upbeat and happy and joyful. What if I don’t feel happy and joyful about the holidays? What if it’s a difficult time of year for me? These songs don’t reflect how I feel!
It’s true; I don’t feel joyful about the holidays. I don’t look forward to Christmas. I don’t feel happy about it. I can’t wait until it’s over.
The holidays are a difficult time of year for me. My family is very distant, lacking love and connection. They live all over the world and I rarely see or even talk to most of them. I don’t have a relationship with my mother, at all. I have been single for years. I often feel lonely and sad and even hopeless during the holidays. It’s a reminder of the distance I have with my family and the dysfunction that I can’t change. It’s also the time of year that all my wonderful friends are busy with their families. Thus, being alone is the common scene for my Christmas Day and Eve.
I’m a bit of a Grinch this time of year! (I do like that song…my theme song!)
And I know I’m not alone in this. Many people are sad during the holidays. Many feel depressed and even suicidal. The holidays are filled with emotional challenges, triggers from the past, time spent with dysfunctional families, anniversaries of difficult times from the past, and reminders of what was lost.
Instead of pretending or denying your feelings, allow them. Let it be okay that they are there. Give yourself the gift of kindness and understanding. You would if a friend felt this way.
If you do feel your emotions, it’s likely you will feel some relief. Your emotions only want to be heard. Spend time hearing them and they will pass. And when they return, feel them again. It’s okay. Emotions are normal and healthy. After all, Christmas is only the trigger for what was there already.
If you wish to share with others your holiday grief, feel free to do so in the comments section below. Often times writing it down, sharing it with others and hearing others stories will help.
And take care of yourself this holiday; it’s the best thing you can do for yourself! And if you need extra support, find it! Talk to family, friends, your therapist, call a crisis line if needed. People are there to support you. You aren’t alone in this.