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What It's Like to Have Depression at Christmastime

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The pain is indescribable. It consumes every inch of my body until I’m left feeling breathless and numb. Emotions prick my soul like needles. They rush into my head, unwanted, undesired and ready to stop me in my tracks. The embarrassment of being an easy target, prey to the predator that consumes me, feeling like a substandard version of what I feel a person should be.

The inability to fully experience enjoyment. The fear of feeling happiness because it’s so unfamiliar. The feeling of being lost in a place where I belong. Overwhelmed when I’m supported because my body knows nothing else other than discomfort. Not knowing how long I can live like this, how long I can keep doing it for, how long I can keep feeling this way. Is it possible to feel this way and still feel at all?

Aching, waiting, straining, synonymous with living my life, every moment spent knowing this has to be the end. As my eyes blink open, a painful groan escapes my lips, long and tiresome, aware of my existence. Internally bruised as I carry out everyday life. Then, the Christmas holidays come, the festive season where everyone around you appears to be filled with warmth, with a buzz for life that’s so unlike other seasons. Unique.

Bright lights are hanging from cheerful decorations, and I remember what it was like to experience the season with that feeling of excitement. It’s painful to hear those Christmas songs again, the ones I used to dance to with merriness during childhood, to be an observer of the people who can still enjoy. Families eating chocolate covered treats. Children sitting on their parent’s or grandparent’s lap, couples holding hands, TV adverts that insist on showing me what’s unattainable, what I can’t seem to feel.

Everything I see provokes hurt inside, reminding me too distinctly of the times I didn’t hurt at all. Going home to a family I know that I’m blessed to have, the fortune of my predicament seems to inflict a sharp stomach pain. Good or bad, everything feels like it is slowly killing me.

The smiles, the laughs, they show the same person I’ve been to everybody over the years. Then, at night, the body is shaken, rigid, heart beating fast, yet labored. Fatigued by its attempt to keep me going off such little desire for life.

How long can I go on feeling like this? Not long, but it’s Christmastime. In my mind, things aren’t meant to feel this way. Where does depression find its place in a season full of cheer?

There are people who have been in circumstances which don’t always change to accommodate pleasant expectations of the festive season. The bereaved, those without family, people struggling with chronic illness, the unemployed and many more. Through personal experience, I have become more understanding of this, and I pray these people find even just a glimpse of joy within this time of year.

Merry Christmas. Happy holidays. Wishing you joy and happiness for the new year!

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 Image via Thinkstock.
Originally published: December 20, 2016
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