I meant to write a Christmas message, and now need a venting type post. Sorry to be discouraging.
Year after year, Christmas has been a difficult and depressing time for me. I start feeling blue at the start of December and get worse from there. This year was different though. I was very triggered by therapy, which took me two weeks to get over, so that took me to mid-December. Luckily there’s a therapy break of a few weeks. I do not really miss it. I especially do not miss the massive triggers and lengthy recovery periods.
I went back to some depression books I’d found helpful in the past – one called Unstuck, and the Mindful Way through Depression. Stuff in those books really helps, and none of it involves looking back to the past. I’ve been going to the gym every other day for the last week and a half. This can trigger me, but it also helps a lot with the depression. Then, I spend some time calming down after exercise, just taking the time to try and feel whatever I feel, and that seems to help.
I also went for acupuncture at a community acupuncture clinic, which is half the price of regular, so I feel I can afford to go. It seemed very low key, but it brought up a lot of sadness for me again, and it took some days to feel better. But then, I felt as if I may have let some old feelings surface and dissipate.
So by today, Christmas day, I’m physiologically not that depressed. A miracle. I’m not super cheerful, but I feel like I can cope.
The parts of Christmas that were nice:
- my tree – a real pretty one
- Christmas service last night – I enjoyed belting out the traditional carols, and the candle ceremony where we each held a candle appealed to the kid
- Christmas lunch with my ex and my son at my house. My ex cooked and brought food, while I provided a tidy space and cleaned up.
The crappy part:
- dinner with my family today, which I walked out of.
And here I am at home alone at eight o’clock. My family is awful. You might think they’re fine. They don’t yell. Everyone is ‘polite’. But they don’t give a shit about me. It’s just so hurtful. I have known this. But I have been hoping I’m ‘too sensitive’ and ‘too depressed’ and really, I just need to be more self-confident and look at it differently. And now, I no longer think that. I don’t think it’s me.
My siblings and my mother are very focused on cooking the perfect meal. There are five different kinds of veg, plus three salads. Turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry, many kinds of wine, two kinds of homemade pie.
So I go late afternoon to try and help out. I feel guilty – I bring a veg, but I know they’ve been cooking for hours. Turns out my sibs were down the day before cooking also. I chop things as directed. No one ever talks to me. There is discussion about the food. I ask some questions, but no one responds much, so I give up. I try talking, but no one responds to that either. I wonder – am I boring, or is something I said really embarrassing, or what? I feel uneasy. I feel jumpy. I decide everyone is just tense from the pressure of cooking the perfect meal.
My father’s friends come – all university people. My sister’s friends come – ditto. My father as always refers to my brother’s job, the university professor. The only people who don’t have academic pretensions are my mother, who is almost completely silent, and my uncle and cousin, who both leave early, before dinner, having waited hours for this perfect meal. I know my uncle is also uncomfortable with the focus on university and nothing else.
At dinner, I feel so depressed. No one talks to me. I sit there silently, no longer up to making any effort. Yes, all the dishes are delicious. I couldn’t care less. I finish my plate quickly and leave the table to read my phone in another room. And then, I leave before dessert.
I feel so furious. Maybe I should have said something, but it gets difficult to know at what point to do so. My father is such an asshole. Maybe it’s awful to say it. He must continually control, to show in every way that you must be an academic to be worthwhile. He really does do that. He has never said a word to me on these occasions. I’m never worthy of a comment or any concern.
I’m still seeing red. I hope I get it together to never go back to one of these big family type holidays. They’re all about perfectionism and my father’s controlling ways. I start to feel smaller and smaller until I’m incapable of speaking.
It would maybe have been better to have the fight instead of leaving without a word. I tell you, it’s hard to deal with passive aggression, with mean spirited childish behaviour that goes back many decades. When everything is an omission. My T has pointed out I can still say something, but I find it difficult. Especially maybe with so many relative strangers at the dinner, who are all fitting in with my father’s agenda, and really, just trying to have a Christmas dinner they don’t have to cook.
They have gotten worse these last two years. I understand they are very stressed out by having my disabled son live with them. I cannot help that and would if I could. I know that’s why these rejecting behaviours have escalated, back to the scale they where when I was younger. My siblings just play along for different reasons. I don’t care. I will not keep doing this to myself.
I hope I never see my family again. They can go to hell.