Well it’s the holidays. Ho, ho hum. I’m not feeling it.
I’m not looking for sympathy. If I think someone feels sorry for me, I will feel worse.
Nor do I need anyone to cheer me up. Good intentions notwithstanding, I don’t need more pressure to be joyful. It’s already everywhere. The air itself is lousy with good cheer, joy to the world and festive reminders that I’m supposed to be merry or jolly or some such foolishness.
If shiny paper and twinkle lights and the scent of cloves and oranges and the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” and the other holiday propaganda can’t lift my spirits, what chance does any person have?
It’s just a bit of the holiday blues. I consider myself lucky because
I can handle it. My heart goes out to those who struggle.
Out of curiosity, I did a little research. There is no shortage of advice for the holiday sorrowful.
Most websites say the same thing: causes include too much food, too much booze, not enough exercise, not enough money, not enough time, loneliness, unrealistic expectations.
They then rattle off a whole litany of advice: don’t eat too much, don’t drink too much, get more exercise, stick to your budget, budget your time, spend time with friends, lower your expectations.
Occasionally, someone dusts off such pearls of wisdom as: count your blessings, the glass is half full, and – cruelest of all – no matter how bad you have it, someone out there has it worse. Great. Now, not only am I saddled with my own woes, I now feel bad for everyone who has it worse … AND I feel bad for feeling bad for myself.
Who is the person who has it worst of all? I would like to know who has the one and only right to be sad.
I find it strange that I searched oodles of websites allegedly dedicated to psychological wellbeing, and found only a smidgen of trite and tired advice. It wasn’t until I happened upon Lifehack that
I found anything useful.
Here’s a sample of their advice to people who know someone who’s depressed:
Don’t trivialize their pain, or say they’re getting worked up over nothing. Don’t blame them. Don’t remind them it could be worse, or suggest they “think positive,” or tell them to count their blessings or that they’re feeling sorry for themselves.
That’s good stuff.
To that I would add: let them know you’re there if they need a sympathetic ear, a strong shoulder or a hug, make sure they know you won’t judge or make them feel like a nuisance, and never tell them what they “need” to do to fix the problem. Listen.
To those who are blue, understand this: It’s OK to feel that way.
You’re not obligated to figure out why or how to make it stop right now. Do it in your time. Know you are not alone, and you are worthy of the support you need. firstname.lastname@example.org