Christmas Melancholy…Don’t Let It Get You Down!
I have been struggling with my depression……again…..!!! UGH! Sometimes it just feels so…well…DEPRESSING! I am such a “Charlie Brown” this time of year! In all seriousness, though, recently it was triggered by the oncoming of the whole holiday season beginning with Halloween! I think this year it is worse, though, because of several reasons. However, I am determined not to let it get me down!
1. I really miss my parents at this time of year. I feel sad that they were only able to spend less than ten Christmases with our kids. My daughter was seven when my mom died and ten when my dad died. My son is two years older than she is. They don’t really remember those early years very well which also makes me feel sad. But hey, how many people DO remember their really early years? I have a very vague memory of being in the hospital when I was just three years old after an operation I had. I remember the surgeon giving me an orange stuffed crow and signing it. I remember there was a teen-aged boy across the hall with a broken leg up in a sling who was nice to me. That is as far back as I can go.
2. Our kids aren’t little any more. Shopping for them is different now even though it is easier in a way. We get fewer items, because they are usually more expensive now! 😉 I am sure many people can relate to this. I used to enjoy having lots of stuff to wrap. I felt excited about putting toys too big to wrap under the tree on Christmas Eve after they went to bed. I really miss those years.
3. I have arthritis. This is the thing that is the most depressing for me this year, even though this problem began a few years ago. It began in my feet several years ago when I started developing bunions while walking two miles a day. I thought the bunions were what was causing my pain, but it was actually the arthritis and a bone spur. I was operated on two years ago for a bone spur that was removed from my right foot, but the bunions aren’t bad enough to remove. I just can’t wear the kinds of shoes I used to be able to wear, but that’s no big deal.
On Friday I went to the doctor about my back. I keep getting tight muscles that knot up overnight sometimes even if I haven’t done anything extra strenuous or different. Earlier this week it happened to me, and I couldn’t hardly move without pain. I was in tears by Monday night. I called a massage therapist I have been to a few times who has been able to take me in times of urgency in the past. This time, however, she was completely booked! I resorted to looking for someone in the phone book. I let my fingers do the walking. Low and behold I learned that in the largest town closest to me there is a place that has twelve massage therapists! Who knew? Have I been living under a rock? How did I not know about this place? I don’t have an answer. All I know is that this young lady massaged me for 45 minutes and I was almost completely out of pain by that evening! All of the tightness was gone, and I was not in tears any more. I thank God for these wonderful people! One of my dearest friends is a massage therapist. She gave me one the week my mother died while I was in that area. Wow, it was great! Thanks, Tania (in case you’re reading this.) I really wish she lived close by, because I would definitely go to her regularly. Well, I decided that I am getting one once a month to keep myself from getting in that state again. 🙂
Anyway, the doctor I went to on Friday prescribed some cream that is much stronger than anything for pain that I can get over the counter. I have been using Aspercreme for years, but it doesn’t do much. Also, this doctor is getting me into physical therapy for a while again. I went several years ago for a torn rotator cuff that cleared up in just two months time. I am hoping to learn whether any of the exercises I have been doing for my stomach and legs are making things worse. So, I am thankful for my husband’s wonderful medical insurance!
However, I was not thrilled to learn that I also have arthritis in my lower back and a little bit of scoliosis going on in the lower half of my spine. No wonder I feel so much older physically these days! No offense intended to anyone over 55. (I’ll be 54 next week.) It is no fun having to live with these physical limitations especially since all I want to do is continue the writing I do and the art I create these days which obviously requires a lot of sitting! That’s what I see myself doing most when my husband retires and the kids have been kicked out of…er, I mean…left…the nest. 😉 So the temptation to become depressed on Friday was strong. But guess what? I didn’t let myself go there. If I have to fight to my last breath NOT to give in to the temptation to become so depressed that I feel like this life isn’t worth living any more (like I felt on Monday,) then fight I will! Deciding to fight for my health, and my life reminds me of the image of Meg Ryan in “You’ve Got Mail” when she’s dancing around like a boxer saying, “Fight, fight, fight!” I couldn’t find a picture of that particular scene, but here’s a pic of the scene when she asks her boyfriend if she should fight for her store, and she mentions “going to the mattresses” and is surprised when he also knows instantly that this expression came from “The Godfather.”
That is one of my favorite movies of all time, by the way. I love her character’s determination, but also how it shows her very real pain when she loses her store and has to start all over in her career. I guess I need to watch it again! (Oh how my family will love that.) That is one movie that if I happen to see on television while channel surfing, and watch only the last five minutes, it will still make me cry no matter what kind of mood I’m already in. Yep, that’s how much it means to me. I have lost count of how many times I’ve watched it.
So…I have decided that I have to make up my mind that my days of long hours in the kitchen baking Christmas cookies, traipsing the mall or other stores for gifts, and standing over a card table wrapping presents are gone. They really are. My back just can’t take it any more. Even though this makes me sad, it’s kind of a relief at the same time. Being an older parent, (I will be 54 in a week or so) has been difficult at times. I have always wished I had better physical health and more energy for raising our kids. However, I don’t, and they seem okay with it. They are great that way. They have never complained about my age compared to their friends’ parents, but of course they tease me about being old. 😉
Lastly, I have learned that once I have acknowledged all of my “Scrooge” tendencies every year, I usually cheer up. Trying to deny these feelings just makes me feel grouchier. Watching “It’s A Wonderful Life” always helps. So in spite of the news I received Friday, I am thankful it wasn’t something worse. I really have so much to be thankful for! I thank God that we have a new church to go to. I thank God that the pastor is filled with God’s Spirit and loves to preach. It is so evident in the way he delivers a sermon
Today after church we are planning to get our Christmas tree. Our tradition has been to get it closer to my birthday which is on the 14th, but last year when we went around that time of the month, there wasn’t much to choose from. So this Sunday we get to put up our tree, drink eggnog, listen to Christmas music and sit back and look at the lit tree in the living room that will only have the glows of the computer and t.v. on around it. I like to turn all the lights off just to gaze at it. Then we usually watch a Christmas movie.
The greatest thing about Christmas, though, is that I believe it is Jesus’s birthday. When I allow myself to focus on God’s greatest gift to mankind, I remember everything I have to live for. He sent His son to save us from our sin, to give us new life. Just like Linus said to Charlie Brown after his speech on stage, “and that’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”
Until next time, have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug! 🙂