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607502 tn?1288251140

Deck the halls with?

Ok so Christmas ***** for me, Its a day that I hate not least because Ilost my mother on Dec22nd but also because of all the fake cheerfulness and good will toward men stuff - the bee cheerful or shut up attitude that pervades.

Suddenly people you cannot stand buy you presents and you have to smile and be nice, work christmas parties are the 10th circle of hell where people you have to work with are now people who get drunk and insist on talking to you (And living in Australia where binge drinking is a national pastime this is a big thing trust me) and generally its rather miserable.

So how do you handle christmas?  Im not feeling great right now so I am alternating between curling into a ball until its over or just bearing with the fake good will.

Whats christmas like for you ?  Surely I am not the only BP who wants to avoid it and gets depressed by it?
30 Responses
607502 tn?1288251140
And why is the word s.u.c.k.s a swear word?  Umm isnt that going too far?
672839 tn?1305796547
Yep, I'm sitting at home trying to decide how to celebrate Christmans this year...Do I travel to new places (sister in Virginia has invited me)...or do I stay at home and go wild...
NO meds and no work, so my time is my own.  Have had some very strange Christmas's when manic.  Don't want to go off while visiting family.  Haven't bought one prsent yet.

Hope you all are feeling better!  Me too.
505907 tn?1258372940
I still have two boys at home to somehow find gifts for. We were too late to sign on to the local charity drive so I'm not sure where the money for this will come from. They will want a tree and all my carefully chosen and cherished ornaments that I saved over the years are gone. Life's complicated, no? The reason I must try to be cheerful is for my boys. The reason I'm secretly frantic is my boys. The reason that there is any real joy coming in the door at my house is still....my boys.
  So go get yourself some boys? (teenage boys are a mixed bag at best) I know it's been said a million times but once, when I was young, I actually did take it into practice - find some way to contribute - HANDS ON. to give money to a cause is a a generous act but to actually get your hands dirty - to see people's faces light up by something you did. Soup kitchens, Toys for Tots, I'm not sure what they have there in Australia.
  Keep it real, man.
Oh, and p.s.  I wrote the word "*****" on a comment recently as in "your feet suck up Vicks 'cause your legs are like straws" (you'd have to have been there) and MedHelp ++++ the word "s+u+c+k+s"!  Unbelievable!
Avatar universal
I loathe Christmas for all the same reasons you do - I actually said to my husband the other day "one good thing about not working is I don't have to go to those damn awful Christmas parties".

I like Boxing Day when its all over and I can get rid of the decorations and the house gets back to some kind of normality.

I put the big act on for the actual day because of the children, but admit to spending many minutes in the bathroom throughout the day gritting my teeth and crying, splashing on the cold water and then presenting myself back down the stairs.

This years going to be a tough one, its the first one without my Gran, how I'm going to get through Christmas dinner without collapsing in tears I'm not sure.  My Dad will also be trying to put on a brave face (she was his mum).

So, I suppose I shall get through it like all the years before in the hope that the day goes quickly.

585414 tn?1288944902
Well its difficult for me because of my physical disability being homebound. I really can't go out and be around people much until treatment for physical spasms adjusts and people have to understand that. I had my natural father's side of the family who were let's say not mentally recovered although they had come to terms with their substance abuse/alcohol issues and anticipating this would happen, among other reasons I changed my phone number when the physical disability began to get worse half a year ago. The reason is not being anti-social, everyone else got my new phone number but they were having a birthday party for my grandfather on that side of that family and I explained I really couldn't go because of the severity of my physical disability and my grandmother said in a cynical tone "we figured". I hit the roof but because they are elderly I am polite to them but I just couldn't handle it. However, my mother has disconnected herself from that side of the family too because my natural father was abusive to her and she divorced him and then he died in an alcohol related accident in the 70's. Even before I had my physical disability with their issues they were always screaming at each other or acting inappropriate and I joked about it in advanced guessing which family member was going to do what and called it "dysfunctional family Christmas".
  I don't detract from people who celerbrate Christmas in a genuine way. If a person is sincere about it I wouldn't want to take away their happiness. I hate the commercialism and the people who put on this fake act of sanctimony. If they are that way the rest of the year then they are a sincere person. But some aren't. One person I knew said "we love to give gifts to the children. No one else is there to do it for them. I only wonder what happens to them the other 364 days of the year". It was like they were talking to themselves and feeling guilty about it. I don't deny that Christmas isn't important for children. In fact through the non profit I am a part of I'm online now coordinating a gift giving occasion for kids in the local public housing development through Toys for Tots. But I work to help that population all year round. Its certainly a time of year to be charitable but people shouldn't think of it as a "get rid of your guilt day".
  And my stepfather would ruin every Christmas when he was alive by getting worked up and scream at us and get abusive. But in looking back with his moodswings and the way he used to talk to himself I believe he had bipolar with psychotic features and he was going into an agitated mixed state. I wish I could talk with him about it. The day before he died when I was telling my mother that I heard voices and needed help, years later she said he told her that night he had the same problem and she told him that she was thinking of me and she couldn't handle it and then the next day he died of a heart attack. Everyone knows people get depressed at around Christmas. Its just in bipolar, in an agitated mixed state depression can come across as anger and we have to realize what those people are coping with as well.
505907 tn?1258372940
Okay....and now can we have someone MANIC write in?
  I mean. come ON, guys. Sure it's commercial - it's been that way for a long time. It's commercial where I live too, yah know. But I honestly feel that people are trying. That they're just a touch more aware of the needy and the disenfranchised around now. Yes, they really are! As one of the poor and disenfranchised I know! How can you, who are merely jaded, be so quick to deny the magic and good will? If you look hard enough AND really try to see what's there I know you'll have a door opened for you, a shy smile. a timid "Merry Christmas" Watch some old movies (Scrooge - my favorite) or cartoons "the Christmas Cricket" (?) comes to mind. Watch some children. Bake some cookies and give them to some surprised neighbors or workmates. Visit a nursing home. Pretend it is what, on some level, it truly is.
Avatar universal
I have always had a hard time at Christmas. As a child of an ugly, contentious divorce, I had to learn to lie and fake emotion from the time I was about five, maybe six. I would always have to split the day up and not let one side of the family know if I enjoyed myself or liked my presents or tell them what had happened at the OTHER side's house. And yes, they would quiz me and try to get me to spy so they could try to turn me against my mom, etc. Obviously, this was not fun. Soon enough, I didn't have to worry about having a good time because there was too much anxiety to enjoy myself. Over time, I became progressively more depressed and anxious each year. Some of my family members on my mom's side are also very argumentative and confrontational. They want to discuss politics, religion, etc. - all the things where we disagree. My husband hates that, too. He is totally non-confrontational and refuses to discuss those subjects with anyone except me. Since the discussions always turn into arguments and people end up emotional, we both dreaded going to any family gathering. Being around my family frequently means shutting my eyes tight and reaching for a glass of wine - or (more recently) taking meds (Valium or Xanax) and trying not to completely melt down while I'm waiting for it to kick in. This would be why I don't visit too often... When my father died several years ago, I am reminded of that loss every holiday. We were not close. He was not interested. He didn't even come to our wedding. But, as long as he was alive, there was the hope that some day we would have a better relationship. Now, that hope is gone.

We stopped travelling to visit family 6 years ago. We now have a quiet day at home alone and don't do much. We haven't even put up a tree since we left Texas. There is often crying and cuddling not just on the day but on many days during the season. I have problems from Thanksgiving until New Year's, but I still have to make an effort for at least a few days because my husband's birthday is in that time frame. One year, I couldn't do anything special and he was so hurt. What hurt him most was that I didn't have a card. He had presents, but no card or cake and we didn't go out. That won't happen again. If it kills me, I'll do something... Normally, I try to make a big deal because he is a twin and having a birthday 2 days before Christmas meant he had to share the day with his twin AND often would get that "one big present" for both occasions b.s. (I hate that).

One problem I have had before is that I lose control of the spending. That has already happened this year. The positive note is that he probably won't care. I do have to split everything between bday and Christmas, so hopefully it's not too obnoxious. (Ordered online and so I have no idea what I'll be dealing with in terms of wrapping or bulk). This is something that happens a lot with buying gifts for family members any time of year. I feel guilty for not seeing them often enough and over-compensate a little with presents. It's not a huge issue, though. I'm not sending out Rolex watches or anything.

The one thing I usually enjoy is going out to look at people's homes decorated for Christmas. We haven't done it in several years, but we are going to do it this year. We also get special treats for the dogs and give the horses something special.

Honestly, a lot of the time I am waiting for the season to pass and things to calm down. Around here, I don't see a lot of Christmas cheer. I see stressed-out people in the stores. People are rushing around every place. On the road, this is the time of year when I see a whole lot of people following too closely, passing when it isn't safe and/or legal, and generally driving like maniacs. And, they do it with their kids in the car. There are a lot of people who are obviously over-scheduled and probably sleep-deprived. Maybe it's just this area, but it is a bad time to go out almost any where. It's not like we always have good driving conditions this time of year. Last night, I was out in ICE and FOG - and sure enough, someone had to pass me where there isn't supposed to be passing - not that you could see where the lines on the road were but I live here so I know.

This time of year is when we look at all our charitable donations. We have one set up as a monthly debit, but we get solicitations from over 25 charities. So, we'll weed through all that. A few orgs like Toys for Tots have drop boxes, so I can incorporate that into a regular shopping trip. It's best when I shop at an odd hour and avoid the crush. I have trouble leaving the house already and there is zero appeal to going out this time of year. I no longer get involved hands-on with any organizations. I've found out the hard way four times now that I end up over my head and overwhelmed. Maybe if I learn to say "no" and can manage NOT to get emotionally involved, I will try it again some day...
585414 tn?1288944902
Look its important just because I identify as recovered doesn't mean I'm cured. I do have schizoaffective disorder with the bipolar aspect. The glycine has mitigated the psychosis but I do have moodswings. I've been on 30 mood stabilizers into total but never found the perfect fit. Its just with the glycine, I know when I am manic and able to rechannel the energy. The same with depressive episodes. I think its a good strategy. I don't know if its a new generation of anti-psychotics only or a different approach but it does work. Someone asked about the negative aspects of Christmas and I did point them out. There are certainly positive aspects from people who just enjoy giving gifts to those who help the needy to those who celebrate it as a faith based holiday. Each interpretation is fine.
   My mother's family still celebrates Hanukah and lighting the menorah is essential and for people I know who are observant Jews it has an absolute religious meaning. As a non believer I am not a part of that but the idea of a eternal guidance against oppression certainly would have significance to me, as does the original meaning of Christmas and perhaps that as well as the story that ended up as my tag (but now that I'm recovery from that neurological disability that caused that dissociation, I might change it) as a celebration from a time when people didn't understand why the sun was hardly present at that time of year and hoping it would come back. That doesn't detract from the teachings of Jesus but all the winter holidays being located at the time of the winter solstice come from this. You see in thinking about this I know that the children who will recieve the gifts arranged by other people I am volunteering with and they will enjoy Christmas and could not have otherwise. In the brief time in posting this I was able to wipe out negative energy. People ask me how I can do this and perhaps its the new treatments and perhaps its just a new outlook. I'll never know.
607502 tn?1288251140
The belief that people are more aware of the needy is basically a fallacy - theyre now.

Charities struggle to raise money and if you asked the average person in the street what Darfur was i doubt 90% could answer you - sure they know about live aid and the like because of concerts but real awareness is beyond most people - they are actively discouraged by the diet of rubbish the media feeds them.

Some people are more aware, the average person is not.

Our government here just handed out $1000 to each pensioner and for each child as a stimulus package - charities have reported no increase in donations and the salvation army and other groups are desperate for assitance this time of year - however alcoholo, gambling and big ticket consumer item sales are up.

I thank god for the people who care.  I try any way I can.

And LetaB believe me I am not judging, I donate toys every year to disadvantaged children because someone has to and because i will never have children so I get to help them - this is not an i hate christmas as much as I hate the modern commericialised christmas brought to you by Coca Cola and (Insert shopping chain here).

I do not see why it has to be Dec 25th for there to be goodwill to all men and peace on earth.

thats just me, I know its hard for many of us when we do not want to be happy and cheerful.


585414 tn?1288944902
Yes this is a seperate discussion but I agree with you about charities. Not particular charities. The concept of charity. Giving money to people by itself doesn't help. And yes many charities do spend much of the money on advertising. The place I volunteer doesn't and neither do the independent living centers but many organizations not just for people with disabilities but any cause function in that manner to empower people rather than leave them in the same position. But that's a seperate political discussion.
  Actually I don't want to be "happy and cheerful". Not if I don't genuinely feel it. A lot of people here are down not just because of moodswings but because of the reccesion and lost jobs and certainly as the holidays come around because of family conflicts. When something is wrong in my life I want to come to terms with it. When I see something wrong in society I want to do something about it in whatever way I can. I think if someone has a Christmas celebration of any kind and there is a troubled family member they should unite to support them not tell them "cheer up". Do something to bring them out of their misery. Certainly every day but for a person who is a believer in Christmas that day especially. If the family conflicts were turned into family support to resolve those conflicts then people's holidays would go better. The question is how? For each particular person? Ideas?
505907 tn?1258372940
  Speaking for myself, my family, extended and immediate, are (unfortunately related to me) and the nut who in my nuttiness I married and the four kids who took after one or the both of us and to my ADHD father who was obsessed by my mother who is bipolar...What I'm trying to say is since what we have here is a disorder which is (in most cases) genetic and connected to so many others (ADHD, Anxiety, OCD, etc.) the odds of having only ONE disruptor in a group of us is slim. In my family Conduct Disorder and Oppositional/Defiance like to show their ugly heads in a festive setting. My father always admitted he loved to debate and several of us take after him. By now we know each other's weaknesses and stressors. Some skirt these and some take advantage of knowing. The peace makers clear the room. If there's a genuine meltdown clearer heads prevail - making them feel important, taking them aside for a private pep talk. I'm sorry but I do believe that "cheerfulness" is sometimes mind over matter. That's the difference between adults and children. Keeping busy is the bast plan.
585414 tn?1288944902
  Well that's what I meant in the original post. That side of the family had gone through massive substance abuse (one eventually developed cirrhosis of the liver and needed a transplant, in the 60's and 70's he had used heroin) but they are cleaned up and went to AA and NA. But many of them had a psychiatric disability and some had been on medication and said "I'm fine. It was just the drugs. I'm not mentally ill" (the world's oldest cop-out, substance abuse is often self medication). One person had taken antipsychotics and went off them, other people seemed to have bipolar and an uncle of mine obviously had bipolar with psychotic features. I remember that last Christmas he started off in an agitated mixed state with his revenge plans against the world and ended up after finishing rapid cycling in an elated mood telling me about "helping returning veterans with tbi" (which is something of importance, its just that he was ranting about it).
   That's what I meant by "dysfunctional family Christmas". But in that family no one knew anything was wrong except for the one person in treatment (even before recovery) which was me and since a lot of the symptoms were being hateful and passive aggressive and I often was the receiving end of it I got sick of it. But every Christmas less and less family members on that side showed up and my grandmother on that side of the family said one year (with seriousness) "this is the last year I do this" but I guess had a second opinion next year. I can accept their psychiatric disabilities, the idea that they are recovered substance abusers but the idea that they all thought they were "fine" and were symptomatic the whole time at each other's and my expense did bother me. And my grandfather on that side was genuinely anti-semitic and if not (happenned with other groups so it may be the case) an "expert" in offending people and my mother said in the past my natural father had to physically defend him when he started off someone who almost got into a fist fight and that's a bit too symptomatic to me. But yes that's where I inherited the schizoaffective from. And perhaps substance abuse as well. I don't know. I never drank so I made sure I didn't find out.
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