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I'm Not a Grinch, I'm Chronically Ill

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I promise you, I am not the Grinch. Though you might think I am if you see me around Christmas time. I am one of those people – yes, the one who skips through the radio stations quickly so they don’t accidentally land on the Christmas station. I walk into the stores and feel like the holidays are being shoved down my throat. I roll my eyes when I keep hearing the same song over and over. I almost want to run out of the stores. It ends up feeling like I cannot hide from it. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to see people happy, but I just can’t be “so happy.”

Unfortunately, I cannot say I feel full of glee or jolly at all. My life is the farthest thing from a Hallmark Christmas movie. I cannot shake the feeling that something is broken inside me that has created this distant relationship with this holiday. I have never been able to be so cheerful like everyone else. What is wrong with me?

Some of it gives you the impression that you are obligated to be happy! Then when you see all this cheer and you don’t feel it inside, it ends up leaving you disappointed, while almost validating that voice in your head that something is wrong with you.

I want to be happy, I want to love Christmas songs and wear ugly sweaters like the rest! I would love to finally have that Christmas spirit, but I simply don’t. It just doesn’t work…

I’ve tried forcing it for so long, that I am just tired of it. Every single year I tell myself this will be the year, and it’s not. Something always happens to ensure it. I just end up feeling so pressured!

I know my health creates somewhat of a barrier with me feeling the joy I should during the holidays. Although I tell myself to not let my disease define me or dictate my happiness, Christmas just seems to not apply to this statement for me.

What goes through my head? It’s closer to the end of the year… It has become a reflection of where the heck did the time go? Mentally, that’s hard. Because when you are chronically ill, you always hope that the next Christmas will be different. That it will be better. That I am finally going to feel better. Once I get that, I feel that radiance of joy inside my soul, just like others.

The holidays are tough. I push myself to do more than I should, or get anxiety about purchasing gifts with money I don’t have. I worry about where I will be eating and praying they didn’t cross-contaminate my food, because “no, a little will still hurt me.”

I hope no one thinks I am a Grinch or ungrateful, because I’m truly neither. But I am going to be honest with the world… I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. The exaggeration of happiness people have is just something you won’t find in me. Don’t assume I am just angry at the world; I am fighting a battle constantly, one that is never-ending. Please do know, I am trying my best and your understanding would be appreciated.

Getty Image by Kerkez

Originally published: December 21, 2018
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