I’m not sure what it is about December, or the holidays in general, but it’s far from spirited and joyous for some of us.
Maybe it’s just an inevitable string of bad luck that just so happens to encompass a third of the year from October—January.
Maybe it’s the fact that seeing everyone’s happy posts about engagements/jobs/babies/etc.. makes my bad luck seem worse.
Or perhaps it’s just because it’s the end of the year, right before we begin anew with the New Year, and everything says, “Hey, it’s time to die!”…so it dies.
You get the point.
I have not had the best luck when it comes to happy holiday memories. This season is marred with family death, funerals, breakups, family fights, snow season, and scars from grad school all-nighters that were accompanied by enormous amounts of stress stemming from the Verdict of Final Grades.
I was supposed to be attending a wedding and shipping off to California this weekend. Of course, that’s not happening now. Was I psyched before the breakup? You bet I was. Does this sort of thing happen after I get psyched for something, in that it falls apart completely? All the time.
I’m going to touch upon a sensitive topic that is often in correlation with the “happiest time of the year”. It sucks to write about it, but I find writing gives me a peace of mind.
Terrifying word for many. Sense of escape of others.
Three days ago, I attended the funeral of a family friend (who was considered an uncle) who had committed suicide last Sunday. I can handle death quite well, as everyone dies and it’s a natural part of the circle of life…but death by suicide is unsettling. There are so many unanswered questions and too many speculations regarding the how and why behind the motive. It’s fun to investigate and get the lowdown on what exactly happened, but at some point the research gets exhausting and its logic succumbs to the overwhelming, chaotic emotion that accompanies such an unexplained loss.
I feel that sometimes the behaviour is semi-predictable: I lost a cousin to suicide back in 2008 and I knew in my gut that it was a matter of time before it was going to happen; all of the signs were there, but we just didn’t know when. When it did happen, though, we were all floored. The funeral was surreal, but my family knows how to put the fun in funeral: many wore heavy metal T-shirts, we cracked jokes, and I brought toilet paper as additional tissues. The truck that he was in when he did the deed resides on the family farm, buried near the woods, and serves as a memorial every year on January 4th. Prior to these deaths, my maternal grandparents passed away in October and January of 2007-2008. Three deaths in four months then. Not fun when you’re trying to get through school and you’re failing everything because you’re so withdrawn from life. Now it’s four deaths in four months that will have to be commemorated somehow in the future, and I wonder what else is going to creep up during this time of year.
(As I type this, I found out that one of my coworkers from this summer was severely burned in a house fire the other day. Also, my ex-boyfriend’s cousin passed on Thursday. Seriously, if it’s not one thing, it’s another…)
The holidays seem to ignite a prominent divide between those that are naturally joyous about the season and those that aren’t. Blame it on the hyperreality (previous post), blame it on the lack of sunshine, blame it on whatever…sometimes, these feelings just can’t be helped.
It doesn’t help that depression runs in the family. There have been attempts by many, and majority have not been successful. Personally, I have not been immune to dark thoughts or even traversing down that path at any stage in my life since the eighth grade. To deny that I haven’t would be ignoring a vital part of the experience that is life. I’ve mentioned it before: I’m not perfect. I’m not always sunshine and rainbows. I find it fulfilling that I can allow myself to be raw and real across any medium I wish to express myself upon, and in a way, it’s a relief to some who may be experiencing similar feelings and know they have someone they can relate to. As I mentioned before, I find writing to be therapeutic, especially when I don’t want to talk to anyone.
Or napping. Naps are great. Don’t underestimate the power of naptime.
Depression sucks. It really does. It sucks even more that some don’t see beyond the present, that there is always another day ahead. Others may be proactive for another person by stating along the lines of, ‘It does get better’, and tries to get them to see beyond the cloud of gloom that encompasses them. As well-meaning as some of these people are, the only person that can truly break from their moods is the person themselves. It may take time, a change of environment, etc… but if someone wants to change, they have to take the initial step forward.
In the Kelvingrove art gallery in Scotland, I had this similar conversation with one of the other ladies in my group. She had reached *that* point and had the lightbulb go off that she was the only one that could break herself from what she was feeling. So she did, graduated with a 4.0 in her undergrad, and is now in a Ph.D. program at UMD.
For those out there that are battling with scary thoughts and feel genuinely confused about life, I’ve been there. I still go there sometimes. Just know, you’re not alone. Feel free to reach out to me if you ever need someone to talk to. I’m a social media nut and I’m just a message or a tweet away (@runDisneyBelle—across any and all platforms you can think of). If you need to seek professional help, don’t be afraid to contact a suicide prevention hotline or other such line of communication. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (http://www.afsp.org) has a list of resources you can peruse.
What gets me through those thoughts and dark times, you may ask? Well, after experiencing what I have, I’ve realized the following:
- Suicide can be messy and gory. I’d rather not do that and turn my attention back to my paper and pen. Spill ink, not blood.
- It truly IS okay to talk to someone, as awkward as it is. Admitting that things aren’t right is the first step.
- As much as you might deny that no one will miss you, ohhh trust me, there will be many.
- You are on your own terms to feel better. Although many may suggest it, no one can do it for you. It may take weeks, months, maybe years…but as long as YOU want to make the change, take your time. It’s a process, just like many others.
Life ain’t always beautiful. That’s reality. But with each other’s support, we can make it through together.