Sometimes when I sit down to write an entry, I simply stare at the bright white screen and wonder what on earth will arise. Without expectations or conscious thought I start writing and the sentences arise and the fingers type faster and faster and hey! presto! out comes a composition. After I finished this one I paused, took a sip of tea, and reread it only to become a bit thunderstruck what I had written. From whence came this prose? I had three days of hard work dealing with depressive and anxious (and lonely) patients. That had something to do with it. My disquietude about the election has something to do with it. Perhaps this essay is cathartic. Perhaps I am like the Simon&Garfunkel song “I am a rock”. I almost erased it and started again. I decided to post it anyway.
Every year at work I batten down the hatches for the psychic storm that blows between mid-November to early January. It is the ‘high-hellish-days’ of the holidays. From a mental health point of view, Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve should be banned like asbestos for the sake of mental health. There are travel hassles, split families (and who gets the children), money hassles, and great expectations. A major problem facing people iat this time of year is loneliness. People feel it more when there is a sense one should be with others, and they are not.
A lot of holiday sorrow arises from the comparison of what you have vs. what you had. We remember the splendid holidays of our youth and what we have today feels deficit. At Christmas time we want to be children again with the magic of the season. Alas, our elders are dead and we are on our own. Perhaps this year you are by yourself as the ex gets the children and you don’t have anywhere to go (being estranged from your siblings or no time off or money to travel to relations at the other end of the country). I see seasonal sorrow each year and try what I can do to get them through another sad time.
Funny how patient are willing to let go of negative and stressful things but not The Holidays. To blow off Thanksgiving and/or Christmas, to simply forget about them, this rankles the conviction one ‘should’ have these things. To do so borders on blasphemy. The holidays are one of our biggest ‘should’ statements. Have a holly jolly holiday or be a loser.
I’m for the radical notion if something causes sorrow and anxiety and costs a lot of money don’t do it. Thumb your nose at it all and feel OK to do so.
You can’t go home and it isn’t worth trying. One doesn’t have to do aggravating family or disappointing gifts or high-calorie weight-gaining food. If you can’t have tradition, have an adventure. Do something fun and radical rather. Just say no to forced false festivities.