Batteries Not Included / BITTEN BY THE DOG

Batteries Not Included

23/12/13
Uncategorized

I’ve had some crap Christmases. Like the one where I ended up in hospital shortly after opening my presents. I’d just started enjoying a full English and a glass of Buck’s Fizz when next thing I knew I was lying on the kitchen floor with various relations looking down at me, my mum’s fingers in my mouth trying to stop me from swallowing my tongue and my uncle phoning for an ambulance.

I spent the next couple of hours in A&E feeling anxious. Not so much about what was wrong with me, but more about the terrible mis-matched pj’s I was sporting and berating myself for not putting on the new ones I’d received from Santa that very morning. If I wasn’t embarrassed enough then, I certainly was later when I was diagnosed as having simply choked on a sausage.

#FestiveFail. It did get me out of peeling spuds for dinner though, so it wasn’t all bad. And you might be surprised to know that it wasn’t my worst Christmas. No, that award goes to the time(s) when I’ve been suffering from depression and had to endure the season feeling anything but jolly. Fa la la la la la la la la.

I’d love to say that I could tell you how not to feel depressed at Christmas. I can’t though. That’s asking for the impossible. Even people who don’t have depression often feel like they do during the full-on festive period. Just ask my brother, who has flashbacks to the time over 20 years ago when he claims he’d been a good boy but still ended up with a black and white portable TV, instead of the Skeletor’s Snake Mountain playset he’d asked for.

Plus there are already plenty of existing articles containing advice on how to survive Yuletide. Unfortunately though, many are clearly not written by people with any experience of depression. One so-called expert says that “thinking that the glass is half full, not half empty, is a simple but effective tool.” Why didn’t we think of that? Honestly sometimes us depressed folk are stupid, as well as sad. Think positive and all will be fine. Wish I’d known that when my beloved Grandma was still with us. She might have been able to think herself out of her wheelchair to dance to ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.’

As suggestions go, at least it’s not as bad as the one to send yourself a Christmas card with a nice message in though. I mean seriously. How ridiculous. Have they not seen the price of stamps?

I realise I’m making light of this. I feel I can though cause I’ve been there. I’m not even sure that I won’t be there again this year. I’m okay at the moment but depression is like herpes – once you’ve had it once it lurks in your system preparing to break out again.

I could have a repeat of the year that I’d got through the weeks and weeks of build-up, but started the descent into meltdown mode when I had a terrible bout of insomnia on Christmas Eve. I tried desperately to get some sleep, not only cause everyone knows Santa won’t come otherwise, but because I knew I’d be fit for nothing the next day. I couldn’t and I wasn’t.

By Christmas dinner all the familiar feelings had arrived. I was tired and lethargic. I was irritable and anxious. I was starting to feel paranoid about the presents I’d bought. Despite being in a room full of 21 people I felt alone and unloved, like an unwanted Brussel sprout. Mostly though, I just remember feeling despair about the fact I didn’t seem able to have a good time anymore.

By Boxing Day it had got too much. I drove home tears streaming down my face. Anxious to get back to my flat where although it was cold, dark and my cupboards were bare, it felt like a welcome relief. Bah, humbug.

There will be people reading this who will feel I could be writing about them. There will be others who [whisper it] just don’t like Christmas and can relate. While there will be some who bloody love it and think we’re all crazy.

It is to the latter that I appeal to and say that regardless of your opinion of depression, now is not the time to debate its existence. For the duration of the season of goodwill can you just pretend that, like Santa, it is very real. And show some compassion to those that don’t feel so merry this Christmas cause that would be the best present you could ever give.

Almost as good as the Snake Mountain playset I’ve found on eBay…

I don’t want a lot for Christmas
There is just one thing I need
I don’t care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree
Mariah Carey – All I Want For Christmas

  • Smidge

    This ” Despite being in a room full of 21 people I felt alone and unloved, like an unwanted Brussel sprout.” that is Christmas to me too. Hope we both survive it x.

    • Stacey

      This year I did! Fingers crossed that you did too…x

    • Robert E. Hamilton

      New to E-mail therapy but a veteran to Mental Health. Have noticed there is a surge in the ‘Your Not Alone Approach!’, particularly over Christmas. Has the incidence of still being an orphan in a large family of sufferer’s been cured?

  • RainbowArt

    I feel like one minute I’m okay and the next I don’t want to carry on. I’ve had a row with my family and I feel so tired; I just want Christmas to be over. I just don’t want to have to talk tomorrow, I just want to curl up in bed. I don’t feel like I’m depressed though, I’ve been there and it just feel the same, so I kind of feel like the feelings I have now don’t count or don’t matter because I’m just unhappy or sad. It’s silly I guess.
    I’m sorry it’s not really related to the post.

    • Stacey

      No need to apologise – any of us with experience of depression can relate to how you were feeling. You won’t always feel as bad with the same intensity but it doesn’t mean that your feelings aren’t real. Hope you got through it ok and are starting a brand new year feeling positive x

  • Miss Spangle

    Firstly it’s my first time reading your blog and it’s great

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