When Christmas Doesn’t Feel So Merry

Lights, candy canes, Christmas trees, Santa, nutcrackers, snowmen, gingerbread men, cookies, cakes, pies, ham, turkey, wine, sparkling wine, stockings, gift boxes, Christmas carols, and garland…this list goes on. This brings “happy” times…right? Not for me. 

Christmas time brings winter, which brings the whiteness of cold. It elongates the frustration of leaves being on the ground and frost on my car. It forces me to put the seat warmers on in my small car and the candle to be burned (despite apartment regulations) as I sit in my dining room table sipping my tea and trying to get warm. Everyone wants to sing, laugh, cuddle, and dance for Christmas time. But not me. 

“Cold” can be more than the physical however. Christmas reminds me of those who have no one or of people who are homeless. Most importantly, for whatever reason, it eats me up inside and I just want to put my slippers on, hop in bed, and forget all about Christmas. 

Lately, whatever Christmas brings makes me feel sad. I feel depressed while others are rejoicing and feeling jolly. Not me. Not me. 

Internally, I feel like I want to be alone on that day even though I know I won’t be. I want to pretend it’s just another day. It is not. I want to celebrate the religious meaning in it, but at the same time I want to just cry at what it has become. Christmas has become commercialized which brings a tear to my eye. 

I know deep down I will be with family and friends, open gifts, laugh, and eat too much on Christmas day. As much as what Christmas does not bring, it does bring one thing to keep my spirits alive and that is hope. I hope next year will be different. I hope next time I can laugh all year long. I promise to buy gifts throughout the year instead of waiting to the last minute. 

I vow to not view all the negative things Christmas usually brings like traffic, loud noises, bright lights, and migraines from looking at my check book, but to think maybe next year will be different. Maybe I won’t let my mood swings bother me. Maybe I will try harder to see the beauty of Christmas. 

Of course these things can bother everyone, bipolar or not. But for people with bipolar disorder, feelings and behaviors can be ten times more elevated compared to someone who doesn’t have a mental health condition. For me, for instance, bright lights hurt my eyes and can give me migraines. I hate light. Maybe others can relate to this as well or something similar. This year I hope to keep my migraines under control and enjoy all the lights. I will not let an illness tell when I can and can’t have fun and enjoy what other creativity people bring. I have hope next year this won’t even be a problem. I hope I can enjoy Christmas, like you should too. 

I refuse to let bipolar disorder dictate what kind of Christmas I will have. On that note, I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Read the rest of Lauren’s posts here

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