© Since December 7, 2016 (All Rights Reserved).
The holidays are always bad for me. It’s my favorite time of the year, and yet, I always struggle to enjoy it.
As I learn more about my mental illness, and about myself, I am still trying to come to grips with what causes me to feel so down, so sad, and sometimes, unnecessarily angry and in pain during what is supposed to be the happiest time of the entire year.
The answer: I believe it is attributed to a lot of factors. In time, with the help that I receive from treatment, I will overcome many things that make this time of the year especially hard for me on a more personal level.
But ultimately, there is one thing that may not ever change, and that is something I must accept – I may ALWAYS be Bipolar. I may ALWAYS experience (notice, I am trying to stray from using the word, “suffer,”) anxiety and depression.
These conditions may not ever go away.
So, how can I better cope with them, especially around the holidays?
If you have my diagnoses, I am sure you understand that this is no easy task.
Many things can bother us during the holidays, that should probably lift us up or make us smile. “Seasonal depression,” is very real, and affects many people. Mental Illness, however, can be triggered during the winter season as well. Rather than to endure this in silence, I feel it is vital to talk about, and share among others. I feel that we all should.
Many times, people’s disorder or seasonal depression worsens during the holidays due to poor family ties, maybe loss of family members, maybe it is their finances and lack thereof, or, everything could be fine in their life – and yet, they still get sad around this time.
Every. Single. Year.
I love Halloween. But for the past three years, I have not bought a costume, attended a party, or celebrated the holiday at all. For the past three Halloweens, I sat at home, probably crying, hating myself, hating life and feeling terrible, inside and out. And, I don’t really have a reason why.
Other than the fact that winter triggers my mental illness.
The hardest thing to accept is that sometimes, this illness will feel more powerful you, yourself are, and although everything is going well in your life, it might feel like depression, bipolar, anxiety, etc. are out to take every bit of your joy away.
I acknowledge that this sucks. But, I want to no longer focus on the pain that I endure. Rather, I am DEDICATED to finding more ways to cope, and heal, in spite of my condition. I am committed to making positive change. The one thing that we can control is ourselves. Even with a mental illness – we are STILL in charge of our happiness.
As I think about it, here are a few ways I plan to cope during this holiday season, and take charge of MY HAPPINESS:
- PRAY. (I am spiritual, however, if you are not, this may not apply to you personally, and that’s totally okay). I choose to pray to GOD, and be honest in my prayers. I am long overdue for that. But, my way of gaining strength and guidance during dark times, always starts here.
- Call loved ones, especially the ones you haven’t talked to in a while – MAKE THE TIME. Time is always fleeting, so use what you have right now. Let them be there for you, and vice versa.
- Decorate your house with holiday spirit! Dress up, cook your favorite meal, spray the house with lavender or something to help relax you, and if you are feeling extra cheery, put up a Christmas tree and get creative, and have fun with decorating it. Spend time pouring POSITIVITY into your home. You’ll be surprised on the impact.
- Go outside! I know it’s cold, but try not to stay indoors all winter. Get some fresh air, go out. Take time to just breathe, and enjoy what little morning sunshine we do have during this time when it gets dark at 4 o’clock.
- Speak POSITIVE SELF-TALK. Talk nicely, but honestly to yourself. Often, we don’t even realize how much we beat ourselves up. Speak kindly to yourself, as you would want someone else to do. Encourage and reassure yourself that you are strong, and will persevere during this dark time. Speak confidently and consistently to yourself every day, whether it is on your way to work, going home from work, cleaning around the house, or during alone time at home. SPEAK POSITIVELY TO YOUR INNER SELF. It’s just as vital to your health as the air that you breathe. ***LEARNING TO TAKE MY OWN ADVICE 🙂 ***
- Watch what you eat and drink. It’s easy to eat soul food and drink alcohol in large sums during this time of year. Some people do it as part of the holidays, but others do it to ease pain. Either way, it’s important to be mindful of balance, and remembering that taking in excess will not make us feel any better, but rather the exact opposite. Love your body and treat it right. Have your junk food, a drink or two, and some heavy soul food on Thanksgiving if that’s you wanna do. But keep maintaining a balance in mind. Feed your body things that will make you healthier, and thus, happier, from the inside out. ***HAHA YES, TAKING MY OWN ADVICE HERE, TOO.***
- Laugh! Seriously. Find songs, movies, books, games, or YouTube videos to dive into that can replenish the motivation, optimism and overall happiness inside you, especially when you feel low. Laughter is a wonderful medicine, as it is guaranteed to make you smile. Sometimes, we may feel so bad that we might not even want to smile. But try. Seek out positivity when you harbor negative feelings, and struggle to stay hopeful whilst enduring mental illness. Give YOUR ALL. Make happiness your priority, and things will get better.
You may not ever feel “perfect.” But I believe it: they can, do and WILL get better.
– HAPPY HOLIDAYS. ❤
Until the next blog 🙂
R.K.B. is an award winning self-published Author, Poet and Entrepreneur from Detroit, Michigan.
Visit her website to learn more, and stay updated on her upcoming works and events: http://www.intomywoods.com !