I just want to share how much more manageable my holiday anxiety has been this year – probably better than it’s been in about 15 years. I’m sure being on Paxil for a year has helped a lot, and the realizations I had last month about my expectations for the holidays seem to have made a big difference as well.
Staying busy helps too. Frankly, I was so depressed last Christmas that it was hard for me to get off the couch and do anything. That doesn’t help my blues at all. I think the Lamotrigene prescription has helped here. It’s a mood stabilizer that’s made my highs lower and my lows higher. Not getting so low that I can’t function makes it easier to do the things that keep me from being so blue and anxious.
Being ABLE to be busier has helped so much. I was busy training and racing until the first week of December ended. I’ve been running sound for almost all the Sunday services and the Christmas cantata this month. I’ve also done a couple of funerals and a wedding.
I went to a ridiculous Christmas party for the church youth group last weekend where we played Dance Central 3 and the adults spent way too much time huddled in a corner laughing and playing with Poo Dough.
Then I drove five teenagers home from the party. They listened to the Classic Hip Hop channel on Sirius and marveled at songs they’d never heard before – songs from 1994 – before they were born…. (Seriously?) And they wrote profound Christmas wishes like “Poop” in the fog on my windows. Good times.
Just being with people, staying busy and laughing (the opposite of what you want to do when you’re depressed) makes such a big difference in how I feel. I think the mood stabilizer keeps me above that low end threshold that makes it hard to care if I’m taking care of myself or even to do it even when I want to.
I usually try to take some time off running at this time of year to let my body rest and heal some, but that time off is really bad timing for my anxiety. Even after my busy weekend, I was feeling the holiday squinkiness sneak in last Sunday night. But I did something I wasn’t able to do last year, I made myself get up early before work on Monday morning and run because I knew it would help. (And it did.) I knew it would help last year too, but I couldn’t get myself to do it.
I’ve also been wrestling with my feelings for Boo for the last couple of years. When I was in the depths of my depression last year, I got to the point where I couldn’t feel anything at all. When I started coming out of that, I had feelings again, but I had trouble figuring out exactly what those feelings were and what they were about.
I feel like I’ve about sorted all that out. For the last year I’ve assumed any bad feeling I have is sadness and unrequited love about that relationship. And so if I felt something bad, I thought it was about Boo, which made me think too hard and too much about Boo, which made me feel bad, which made me think too hard and too much about Boo, which made me feel bad….
But I had a big moment in therapy back in the spring when I realized that what I have always thought was the feeling I experience of “being in love” is very much the same feeling I have when I’m feeling anxiety. (This may be an important realization…. *snork*)
I still haven’t figured out why I feel like it’s so important to me to hang on to Boo. He’s never really done much to reciprocate those feelings I have for him. But there’s obviously something deep-seated in my need to hang onto him in some fashion and in the fears I have of letting my hopes for us go.
I wrote in a recent post that I wished “I had the courage to give up.”
For me, having the courage to let things go means being brave enough to stand on my own without having to use things and people as crutches, without having to try and control the outcome of every single thing in my life. I’m starting to feel like I’m strong enough to try and begin letting the Boo thing go.
I need to believe and trust that it’s the healthiest thing I can do. The Mr. Spock part of me knows that’s true. The disgusting, weak, clingy, needy, girly part of me is still afraid. That makes me a little anxious.
But that’s OK. I am better. And this Christmas is better – even when the anxiety still creeps in.
All I know is that I have my running clothes sitting out for tomorrow morning. I will run. I will breathe. I will calm my mind. I will keep getting better. I will keep getting stronger. And maybe one day I’ll even find something to value in the weak, clingy, needy, girly part of me.
And to you, I hope if you’re depressed or anxious or lonely or scared this Christmas, that you’ll know you’re not alone. Love is all around you, even when it doesn’t seem like it. Just keep slogging through and know that it won’t always be like this. We’ll hold each other up until then.
Much love, friends!
- I didn’t think I can fix everybody.
- I didn’t think I can help everybody.
- I could accept things instead of trying to control them.
- I didn’t fear that no one will ever find me worthy of romantic love again.
- I wasn’t terrified to grow old alone.
- I hadn’t been inculcated with the promise of finding a magical romance at the holidays.
- I didn’t feel like I’ve failed at something competitive when I can’t make someone fall in love with me.
- I would stop trying to get involved with men who aren’t available.
- I wouldn’t feel so disappointed and angry when people let me down.
- people could be depended on to do what they say they’ll do.
- I could let people go when I’m doing lots of giving and not getting anything back.
- I didn’t feel like I have to chase men if I want to find love.
- someone would chase me.
- I didn’t give too much and too desperately.
- I didn’t feel so needy.
- I didn’t keep thinking that a man can finally make me feel complete.
- I wasn’t afraid to stop pursuing someone for fear they might be my last and only chance.
- I wasn’t afraid of other people and other possibilities.
- it were easier to figure out exactly why I’m sad when I’m sad.
- I knew what would soothe me and comfort me when I’m feeling empty or sad or needy or whatever this is.
- everything weren’t so complicated.
- I could be stronger.
- I could afford to be weaker.
- I wish I had the courage to give up.
Relationships continue to vex me. There never seems to be the right man at the right time with the right desire and the right commitment. And a weird thing has been happening lately where people I have loved in the past are starting to come back around again.
One man reappeared out of the blue after 10 years. He just popped up in the comments of one of these blog posts one day. He sent me a dozen roses. What the hell is that all about?
Then another ex sent me a text a few weeks ago reporting how many months it had been since we talked, since we’d seen each other, and since we’d had sex. What the fuck is THAT all about?
It’s like they’ve completed an orbit of me or something. (Wait! That simile makes me sound really fat!) How about, they’ve come full circle in realizing my incomparable womanly awesomeness!
It’s as if my exes are women who’ve had babies. After a suitable amount of time, they seem to forget the pain and think they want to do it all over again.
But the problem is, they’re exes for a reason. In the meantime, I’ve been chasing my Boo for two years now with varying degrees of success. Lots of face time. Only a tiny bit of SUCKING face time.
Why can’t I seem to get on the same page with a man and us love each other and be available at the same time? (I mean. I did it once before!)
Boo, my “not-boyfriend” as he’s come to be known in Sunday School class, drives me absolutely nuts. But despite that fact, we’ve actually become good friends.
I’ve kept no secrets from Boo about the feelings I have for him. Most men would run screaming from a woman who’s pursued them as mercilessly as I have pursued him for the last two years. He doesn’t. But what he does do is take tiny little baby steps closer to me and then take off running in the opposite direction like a scalded dog.
It’s funny how things have evolved between Boo and me. I used to just want to claw my heart out of my chest when I couldn’t convince him to love me. It hurt me so much. (And know that I still believe completely and delusionally that if I love him hard enough and show him and tell him that enough, he’ll fall in love with me. I am a MO-RON!)
He and I used to have some kind of messy conversation about this stuff every three or four months and then get cold to each other for a while.
Now we have this same messy conversation and then just go on with each other the way it was and nobody seems to be torn up about it. (My prescription for Lamictal helped me a lot with the pain too. Lows are not as low. Highs are not as high.)
Somehow, in the midst of all this complication, we’ve become good friends. Our friendship has become one I cherish. Boo is an awesome person. He makes me laugh my ass off. (He’s totally inappropriate and sarcastic. I love that. It actually turns me on a little…) He pushes me to try harder and do my best. And I love being with him even when he’s in a bad place where he can’t open his mouth and manage to say two words out loud.
So I suppose I just put this all out there to say that, DAMMIT, when you’re a little girl, nobody ever tells you love is going to be so complicated!
Men. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.
Can’t stop thinking about their muscular forearms, and their big, strong hands, and their mischievousness, and their handsome faces, and their smart-assedness, and those hugs and kisses, and that stubble….
Jesus, be an intercessor and maybe a bottle of Mermaid Spirit Magick Voodoo Houdou Oil for Seduction Sensuality Femininity Acceptance! I can’t do this down here without some help!
(What’s an incomparably awesome woman to do?)
I’ve always loved the holidays – the lights, the gifts, the music, the television specials, the anticipation! And I still love all those things, but a confluence of several factors including my divorce and the death of my dad have changed things. There is an empty place in my heart.
The holidays are supposed to be a time for joyful gatherings. But I always feel like a giant zit under a magnifying glass when I’m alone there these days. I rarely feel self-conscious, but inevitably I do at holiday parties.
I feel it particularly strongly at family gatherings. Except for my widowed mother and grandmother, I’m the only one not coupled up and the only adult without kids. It makes me feel like Forrest Gump at the Black Panther party, and like I screwed up all the things you’re supposed to be and do as a grown-up. Here I am, 46 years old and alone at the holidays without any “family.” And it’s my fault for quitting and walking away from my marriage because I thought I could find something better.
Disney and Hallmark and all the others have conspired to make me believe in happy endings, in love stories, in holiday magic. I have daydreamed countless scenarios where my magical holiday ending finally happens. My imaginary stories are so romantic, full of kisses and Christmas lights and love!
But a life’s true story isn’t wrapped up tightly in a bow after two hours. There are very few happy endings. And there are many, many sad and lonely people.
Every year at the holidays, I swear this time will be different. I’m going to beat the holiday blues. I’m going to love myself. I will be enough. I’ll have more gratitude. I will find joy.
I will not have a prolonged anxiety attack from Thanksgiving Eve through Christmas Eve.
So far on night one of the countdown, I’m not starting out too well…
And then I died because my heart burst into a hundred million pieces…! ❤