Blogmas 2016 – The Christmas Blues

bluechristmas

Day 9

As far back as I can remember I was always sad or angry around Christmas, even in my childhood.

It was as if I had an anxiety attack from the beginning of December through part of January. Sometimes, it would be even longer than that but because I didn’t really realize it, I didn’t keep track. My family did notice it but chalked it up to “attention getting behaviour” in the early years and just told me to snap out of it as I grew older.

But it was not something I was in control of. I just seemed to get depressed and stressed to the max.

Was it Christmas?

Was it the weather?

Was it too much sugar?

It wasn’t until I started seeing my fourth and final psychiatrist that I started getting some answers.

  • The “Christmas Blues” is a real thing. It is related to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and is a type of environmental depression based on the lack of sunshine and the stresses of the holidays.
  • I found out I was bipolar and this explained so much about everything, especially my behaviour. I would take on too much and that would send me into a manic state. I would be a bundle of energy and nerves.
  • The sugar component was real as well. I baked a lot for the holidays and, with my then undiagnosed binging disorder, ate a lot of what I made. This would put my anxiety and energy levels through the roof. I remember one year growing up when my mom and I made a gingerbread house. It was a centerpiece on the living room table. I stared at it for a long while one day then walked over and grabbed the chimney until I crushed it. My mother was furious and I was in a robotic state.
  • My behaviours, according to my doctor, were also based on stressors I mentioned in my Day 3 post. Christmas was a very stressful time in my family and I tried to make everything perfect to please everyone.

Now I know I have written this all in the past. However, I am by no means implying that none of it is relevant now. It is all still there, inside waiting to burst out. The difference is I work very hard to recognize the signs and take action to diffuse things before they start.

  • I stopped doing Christmas baking for gifts because I would just eat it and react. I still have to fight this one. I want to make some cookies for the neighbour kids but it is way too tempting.
  • This year I literally have no presents to buy, which is good because of the stress involved with it and lack of money at the moment.
  • Because we are moving, we are not putting up any Christmas decorations. While the tree and lights help brighten my moods, the stress of putting them up and taking them down is not worth it.
  • I am picking and choosing how social I am going to be through the holidays.
  • I am taking extra vitamin D to make up for the lack of sunshine
  • I try to get as much sleep as possible
  • I do self-checks constantly on mood, pain, hunger, etc.

So, here’s to a bright Christmas!

Lydia!

5 Replies to “Blogmas 2016 – The Christmas Blues”

      1. Oh, most of my pressures were self-induced because I was trying to be perfect but it never worked. I sometimes wonder if I had learned to be myself back then they might have accepted me and things would have been different.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Sounds like you are doing an awesome job at being aware of your triggers and looking after yourself. I like what Ellen said “it’s just one day” I hope this year will be your most low key and happiest Christmas . I wish you peace and rest 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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