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wundayatta's avatar

Do you get more depressed at Christmas time?

Asked by wundayatta (58571points) December 5th, 2010

I’ve recently realized that Christmas—the darkest time of the year—brings me to my darkest mood. Christmas, I always thought, was a relentlessly cheerful time probably to help people fight off feelings of depression.

Most people can go along with Christmas cheer—or festivals of lights or Solstice celebrations. They like these efforts to keep up a positive attitude. It works for them.

For people like me, it doesn’t work. The happier people are, the more withdrawn I get because I can’t feel happy. The thought of it makes me feel queasy. Maybe because it is so false, in my case. I can pretend, but the look of happiness is all on the outside (and not very convincing, either). It never changes, inside me.

I also realized that the worst things in my life happened at this time of the year. My first depression peaked (this was before I was diagnosed). In following years, I made other horrible things happen, almost as if I wanted to guarantee I’d be depressed. I couldn’t allow myself happiness. I was always the person on the outside looking in. I now realize that this started years ago, long before I got that diagnosis.

This year really is no different. I’ve done things to cause me to lose friends—one a very good friend. It’s not on purpose. It’s only in retrospect that I realize I’ve picked a fight, most likely because I’m depressed and can’t allow myself to feel good.

I say that as if I had control over it, but it isn’t like that. I’m going along, acting normal (at least for me) and then all of a sudden it seems like the world crashes in on me. The haze fills the air. My head pounds. I’m moving through some thick ooze. My stomach is nervous all the time. I don’t sleep. I kill friendships without even trying. It’s scary. I so wish I hadn’t done that.

It’s weird, because I now know I have this pattern and I tried really hard not to follow it, and it still got me. Even now, I’m still hopeful I can pull out of this dive before I crash into the ground.

Is this familiar to anybody out there? Does the happiness of those around you make it worse for you because you can’t get your mood up there even though you try really hard? Do you find yourself doing more self-destructive things at this time of year? Do you find yourself seeing all your blessings and instead of being happy, you feel like you don’t deserve them and people would be better off if you weren’t in their lives?

It comes on so fast and quiet, like a bird of prey, and it hits like a buffalo stampede. Scary.

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6 Answers

noodle_poodle's avatar

I think a lot of people find xmas pretty depressing..theres all this impetus around family and friends and if you dont have lots of either you become so much more aware of it. I hate this time of year as for me its all obligations and stress and the tv world of happy smiling people just makes my own melacholic state feel all the worse. Your not alone theres a lot of charlie browns out there too.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@wundayatta You see?! Right there! —-> ”...it seems like the world crashes in on me. The haze fills the air. My head pounds. I’m moving through some thick ooze. My stomach is nervous all the time.”
That’s why I know you have a gift! I could almost feel it! You took my breath away!
Thanks a lot, Pal ! ;-)

I don’t know a what you do for a living but if you’re not a creative writer, you should be. I wish I could fix you up with @Jeruba!

To answer a part of your question, I used to work as a Medic on an ambulance service. The 11 PM to 6 AM shift a few nights a week for 7 years. Thousands of hours of active service. We averaged about 2 calls per night. So I have probably been on about 500 -700 calls. From my unscientific study I can say that you are not alone. Suicides would blip up on on Sunday nights and holiday times.
I’m sure someone can find the statistics for you.

jazmina88's avatar

yep…...a dysfunctional family and a nephew in prison…...but ENDURANCE will get us through, hell, high water and the holidays. Hang in there.

OpryLeigh's avatar

Oh yes. I feel incredibly lonely at Christmas time even though I really have no reason to feel that way.

hotgirl67's avatar

Yeah because someone in my family died before Christmas a few years ago and the holidays haven’t been the same.

yankeetooter's avatar

I like Christmas, but it has become such a stressful time in my life, between struggling to find the perfect gift for everyone in my life, scraping together enough money to do so, and rushing around during finals time while working 2 jobs trying to do the above…Sometimes I wish I could boycott Christmas, or that we would just get 4 feet of snow right before the holidays, so that everyone would just have to slow down…

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