A friend recently asked me how I was dealing with holiday depression. Until she asked, I hadn’t given it a thought.
What a difference a year makes. On this day twelve months ago I wrote, “Can We Just Cancel Christmas This Year,” describing my Lemony Snicket series of unfortunate events that led to some serious holiday funk. Let me name the monster for you.
Depression. Boom chocka locka halt. It happened to me. It can happen to anyone.
My depression sometimes feels like an old friend and I know what to expect. But damn, this monkey snuck up on me and landed full-tilt boogey with very little warning. I was so out of practice. I had been stable long enough to forget how to BE depressed, much less drum up the cognitive skills I knew I was going to need to pull myself back into the middle.
These things are not easy to admit when you’re stable. Nope. You cavalierly think you own the freedom that zooms down the middle of your bipolar disorder and cannot even see mania or depression lurking–you’re zooming by so quickly. The superhighway of stable.
However, this story is not about last year’s holiday depression.
I did survive, yes. January 4th is my birthday and it always seems to be the magic elixir for me to end the sometimes treacherous holiday season and start fresh in the new year.
This story is an epilogue. It’s Almost Christmas and I Forgot to be Sad.
Until my friend asked, I hadn’t given Christmas a thought. But later, while I was getting my home ready for the annual onslaught called Family Thanksgiving At My House, I needed to cover up a mess of boxes I didn’t feel like unpacking. Yes, I did move a few years ago–but that is not the point.
I went into my storage room and eyed my Christmas tree where it stood in a corner wrapped up in a sheet. I decided to cover my unpacked boxes with a throw and bring in the tree.
While I was deep into the storage room, I dragged out a wreath and a few decorations. I started feeling a bit of a holiday buzz. My next door neighbor commented on my door wreath. I took a photo of my newly painted dining table for a friend and she dubiously asked, “Is that a Christmas tree in the background?” Yes, indeed.
On Thanksgiving Day, my family was a bit wary. My happy happy was appreciated and decorations duly noted, but these are the same people who have seen me unable to get out of bed.
And today. Oh lord, today. I hit a Christmas music station while scanning the radio in my car and Bruce Springsteen’s, “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town” was playing. A long, long time ago, in a marriage far, far away my husband and I used to say that it wasn’t officially Christmas until one of us heard this song on the radio. I smiled at the memory and cranked it up a decibel.
Yeah. It’s officially Christmas. And I’m Not Sad.
I still have days to go until December 25th and I suppose anything can happen. But somehow, I don’t think it will. The universe just might be tipped in my favor for awhile and I’m going to enjoy the ride. Because–you never know.
If there is a moral to this story, I believe it is this. Bipolar physics exists. What goes up must come down. Fortunately what is down is also going to come up. Wherever you are on this superhighway, I wish you hope and the belief that on this you can depend.
Because, “Sannnnnta Claus Is Comin’ To Town….”