Overcoming Holiday Blues
By: Laila De Jesus
“Now when Christmas comes around, I just want to crawl in bed and never get out from under the covers.”
Robin Roberts (co-anchor of Good Morning America and author of Everybody’s Got Something) shared her struggle with the holidays after the loss of her mother in a USA Today Magazine article.
She said, “I couldn’t imagine gathering around the table in a festive sweater. This would be the first holiday without my mother, who passed away a week prior to my (bone marrow) transplant.”
While for most people it is a season for thankfulness, sharing in the exchange of heartfelt gift s, and practicing longtime family traditions, for some it can be extremely sorrowful.
A significant birthday, anniversary date, or holiday can all stir up feelings of happiness as well as uncontrollable grief—especially if you lost this person close to a major holiday. Roberts also felt a mix of emotions, saying, “I felt a crushing pressure to be joyful, but all I felt was sick. I was mourning my health, and I was mourning my Momma.”
She said she felt “happy sorrow”—a term her mother used to describe the feeling after losing her husband. Roberts also added that “Thanksgiving didn’t have to be sad—it just had to be different.”
For individuals who suffer from mental illnesses like depression or anxiety, or those who nervously anticipate the build-up of being around their family altogether, holidays pose as a huge trigger for them.
Also, consider that not all losses are specifically related to death. Right now, there’s a single father with three young children who just got laid off . A twenty-two-year-old girl, who minutes ago, received the news she had cancer. An older couple who have been together for almost forty years is about to get divorced.
As we walk through life trying our best to make lemon meringue pie out of the thousands of lemons that the universe throws at us, let us be dependent on one another. We need as much support as possible from as many people as possible.
In a USA Today magazine article, Journalist and cofounder of Stand Up to Cancer, Katie Courie, shared that since her husband Jay died. She has been “keenly aware that there are those whose holidays are far from merry and bright.”
“They might be next to you, picking out an ornament or tying a tree on the roof of their car or watching their child perform in a fourth-grade assembly...They are all around, bravely holding on to the present and terrified about the future.