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christmas blues, depression, holiday depression

What is a victimmas?

It’s a word I made up. It’s comprised of the word victim plus the end of Christmas. So for today, a victimmas is a person who is a victim of the holiday season.

  • – You hate to see the holiday season come in
  • – You wish the season would just pass you by.
  • – There’s obligations you believe and feel you must keep
  •      – Company parties or dinners
  •      – Dinner with relatives/in-laws
  • – There’s shopping you believe and feel you must complete for the kids, spouse, and even the boss.
  • – There’s even the church obligations; good causes but you’re just not feeling them.

It’s a time when people ask for money and time commitments and you’re supposed to be happy about it. And while it’s this special time of year, people continue to be sick, die, and experience challenging life-transition.

Why I was Infuriated in October

holiday stress, christmas stress, stressI walked into my Costco, in October, and before Halloween they were displaying Christmas trees and toys. I was ticked. I believe, Christmas has become nothing more than a commercialized event and the true meaning of the holiday is diminished. Christmas (the name of the holiday) is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ.

Now, whether you believe in Jesus; whether you believe he’s the son of God or the son of man; or you argue it’s not his birth date is not the subject for this piece. That’s another writing for another time. Also, at this time of year, you may be celebrating Hanukkah which has nothing to do with Christmas. Happy Hanukkah to you. But to make my point today, Christmas is about the belief in Jesus and his entrance into this crazy, chaotic and dualistic world. I find it hard to believe he began celebrating two months before whenever the date. To me, Christmas has become diluted, polluted, and cheapened as a Hallmark and Black-Friday, shopping-frenzy. (Black Friday now begins on Thursday and lasts a week.)

Now, away from my rant opine and back to you.

If you’re going through a challenging life-transition in this holiday season:

  • – a loved one is in the hospital:
  • – you or someone has been diagnosed with a serious or terminal illness:
  • – you have a young child at home suffering from a serious disease:
  • – you’re going through or have just come through a nasty divorce or marital dispute:
  • – Or; you’re having serious financial challenges,

(Companies often downsize in December. Their numbers must be what they have forecasted to Board members and stockholders. Hopefully, with the stock market booming and the economy doing better, not too much of this is happening. However, there are businesses suffering. Mom and pop establishments are feeling the impact of over-regulation and big government’s overreach. But that too is a topic for another time.)

these things don’t cease because it’s Christmas. California burns even as I write.

Surviving the Christmas Season

Let’s now turn our attention to how we survive this time. How to not be a victimmas.

It’s easy to say get over it. I had a Licensed Clinical Social Worker tell me during the holiday season that I should get over my husband dying. He had passed in 2005. It was 2010. Now, you can sit and say five years, Pamela, you should have moved on. But who is anyone to tell anyone how long they need to mourn. And in my case, I wasn’t mourning. The holidays, including Thanksgiving, reminds me of all those who have transitioned. My home was the gathering place. I hosted the special events, the BBQ’s and the holiday celebrations.

That had all changed. One divorce, and one deceased husband later; one deceased dad later, grandmother and aunts later, it was all different. I was trying to move ahead; but; in the season, I was melancholy.

I didn’t feel like celebrating. I had been invited to friends. I didn’t want to be there, but I went. And then I was told to get over it. They needed me to laugh and drink and have a merry-ole time with them. I was bringing their party down. I left only a few minutes later. And, looking back, I deserved it. I should have done what I believed I needed to do. And, that was to stay to myself.

This is the issue I often take with those who have degrees but no life experience. They have titles but no compassion nor empathy. They can’t.  Get over it, sometimes, is not the acceptable answer. Sometimes it is.

lonely women at christmas, loneliness at holidays, holiday sadness, griefEight Tips from My Life Experience

Here are what I believe to be a few tips to getting through the holidays and not being a victimmas. But first, let me remind you, you are not a victim. Victimization under any circumstance is not attractive or sexy. We live in an age when victimization is sensationalized. That’s when I say, “Get over it!”

Here we go:

Remember

You’re not in the holiday season, you’re in the grief season. Elizabeth Kubler Ross says there’s five stages of  denial, grief, anger, depression, bargaining, and acceptance. You can go back and forth and skip around. But Ms. Ross forgot a big one – guilt!

Forgive Yourself

Guilt will eat you alive. Parents who have lost your children, you must forgive yourself. Try to hold onto this thought—this belief. I believe we have all made a contract to come to this wacky, rough and tough place which was originally meant to be a glorious place. We contracted when we would come and when we would leave. We also agreed upon our purpose, the role we would play, and the lives we would touch. Life is not meant to be neither a good or bad experience. It is solely a learning experience for either the recipient(s), the giver, or both. And, we all transition back to being Spirit. We are spirit beings having human experiences.

Obliterate Obligation

If you committed to someone or something and you believe you can’t be there for them emotionally this holiday season, you can’t be there. Collateral Beauty, starring Will Smith, is a good movie exhibiting such.

Learn to Say No and Feel Comfortable

Say no without offering any explanation or excuses. Be polite, but let your no mean no. Here’s how it sounds:

  • – Thank you; but, I’ll need to pass on the holiday dinner this year.
  • – Thank you. I’m honored you need my services; but, I’m unavailable to volunteer for the church play or church outreach this year.
  • – Or, no I won’t be attending your [insert event here] this year. Thank you for the invite, however.

See how polite this is?

Let me say this: you may be a C-suiter and feel you’re going to lose your job if you don’t show up. I believe if you tell your superior something other than, “I hate office politics,” and you’re suffering a real loss, they will understand. Discuss it with them first. Just do not show up. Share your pain. They probably know about it anyway.

Beware of triggers

The good triggers and the bad.

  • – The smell of an apple pie baking is a good thing, right? For most. But, if you received bad news while baking or smelling that pie baking, it will make you sad or even angry. It can temporally through you back into the grief cycle. But it’s a good trigger, so to say.
  • – Someone calling you out of your name while you’re trying to find a parking space in a crowded shopping mall, and you’re already depressed could be a bad trigger. You know what could follow.
  • – Good trigger. Hearing Silent Night or Auld Lang Zyne. Silent night always gets to me as well as I’ll be home for Christmas.

Be Grateful

  • – For what you have and who you have. Help someone worse off than you. Volunteer, if you believe you can.
  • – Cherish the memories. We tend to hold onto what we label as “bad” thoughts. But, remember all the beautiful times you had together especially if the loss is a loved one either due to death or divorce. The loss of a family pet can be very painful, as well. Remember the licks, the sniffs, and the games. My Jessie would always lick you-know-where before trying to give me a lick in the face. It became a game she knew she’d never win. I would wind up laughing hysterically. It makes me laugh as I write.

Be Gentle With Yourself

  • – Cut your activities and get plenty of rest
  • – Hydrate (the healthy way.) Remember, alcohol increases depression.
  • – Turn off the phone and have a bath with candles
  • – Visit a spa and have a pedicure, manicure, and indulge in a luxurious massage

Make a conscious decision to live your life they way you choose.

  • – I now chose the events I want to attend. When people say, “Oh come on,” after I’ve said no. I say it again. If they insist, I then tell them I went to the worst high school in the Bronx (the same high school Collin Powell attended) and managed to survive and make it out by saying no. They’re wasting their time!

One Free Pass, This Time

Now, I’m not giving you permission to stay here. Unless you want to. Unless it’s a conscious decision to not get caught up in all the commercialism, stress and nonsense of it all. I’m giving you permission to pass, this time. And, if you need to do the same next year, do the same. However, in between the holiday seasons, do all possible to become well. You don’t have to live the entire year depressed, angry, feeling guilty, or in denial. Strive toward the acceptance stage. It’s also possible to get stuck in one of the grief stages and that’s not good. Sometimes, you need a healthy jolt from a loved one, a coach, or a therapist to help move you forward.

I hope this helps. Let’s now set a heart-felt intention, together, to be well and whole this Christmas season and throughout the New Year 2018. The master year of 11. ♥


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