This time of year is the perfect storm for a mental health setback and I am struggling right now. The holidays are historically a terrible time for me to begin with due to grief issues and this year I have had a few additional setbacks to add to it. Some more grief to add to the pile.
My sister died many years ago after a short battle with cancer. She was 16. We were very close. You never get over that kind of grief and it haunts you at the holidays especially. It is so tough to be missing a little piece of your heart at a time of year when everyone is so happy. It doesn’t help that her birthday is December 23rd. An extra layer of grief added to the equation. The holidays were her favorite time and I am reminded of her daily by any number of things. The memories are happy but make me long for her nonetheless. Everything is tinged with “I wish Melissa was here”. Happy times are sometimes made less than happy by that thought. Everything feels just a little darker and my heart always feels like it is missing a little something that it can never get back.
My childhood wasn’t awesome and I have a lot of very bad memories from growing up. Things I have been confronting and dealing with in therapy. The holidays are a time that you are bombarded with images of happy families. I am currently grieving a lot of the things I didn’t have at a time in my life when I needed it more than ever and this time of year is one big reminder of that pain and grief. Pretty much on the daily.
I have lost 2 of my closest most trusted friends recently which were a big part of my support system. They are friends that I still see often in my daily life but they are no longer here for me in the capacity they used to be and it has hurt me so much. I grieve the closeness and love that I used to have there and having to see them often makes things even harder because “what used to be” is right there in my face all the time. I’ve talked before about the way that I love fiercely and without limits and that adds to the hurt I experienced in both of these situations. I loved these 2 people so much that when the were able to just let go of what I considered 2 of my most important relationships it feels like a slap in the face, like they must not have ever cared for me in the same way I cared for them. It has left another little hole in my heart.
So I am left with layers of grief. I told my husband the other day that I just feel like I have lost so much this year. At the beginning of the year I was massively depressed and didn’t want to live but I had the closest friends I have ever had. A strong support system and a lot of love. A family, albeit not a healthy one. Losing so much of that in such a short amount of time has been an enormous hit to my heart and my self confidence. Christmas is already a time that I associate with loss and to add this on top of it all seems impossibly hard. December is a time of reflection and evaluation for so many and to me 2017 feels like one gigantic dumpster fire. I just need to get through the holidays and this shit storm of a year and try to find the energy on the other side to rebuild.
So then the guilt comes. Ever present in my life for so many reasons but brought on even more at this time of year. Seeing people happy and never feeling that way; wondering what is so wrong with me. Watching my kids light up and knowing I am just trying to “make it through”. Feeling like there is something so wrong with me for not feeling the joy that is everywhere this time of year. So much guilt.
I don’t have any words of wisdom for you if you are struggling my friends but I can tell you this: You are not alone. There are many of us just trying to just make it through. For many of us this is not “the most wonderful time of the year”. It is a slow hard uphill slog through trenches of shit. It is an uncontrolled garbage fire. And we are just trying to survive. Maybe that can make you feel a little less guilty. Or at least a little less alone. We will make it through like we have so many times before. And eventually it will feel a little less shitty. And if you need some help because it all feels a little too hard please try to find some. And if you can’t please call 1-800-273-8255. We need you. I need you. Love to you guys ❤