It is that time of year again when we are supposed to be joyful, surrounded by friends and family, and have a generous heart. Many of us though find this time of year to be depressing especially because we are supposed to be in the Holiday Spirit. We are keenly aware we cannot be with loved ones either because they may live far away, have died or no longer associate with us. We are also reminded that we are often limited in what we can give to others. For many of us, it is a depressing time.
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Jumping off my balcony, abusing drugs, walking down the middle of a highway and neglecting meds. That’s how I use to ring in the New Year and wish my family a Merry Christmas. Since I’ve been diagnosed bipolar in 2011 I’ve found that once the Christmas season hits, I start to experience relapses. I could be as stable as a seamstress going into the holidays but just the anticipation of knowing they are arriving brings such great distress to my life. I mean it’s such a jolly time of year; I hate always being the one to ruin Christmas and New Year for everyone.
Nine years ago this December, my mental illness erupted through the surface of my otherwise regular life. Work was a snowstorm of activity with the holidays approaching, and I remember feeling super stressed out trying to keep all my end-of-the-year meetings with my many clients. This, on top of buying gifts for everyone on my list, which had doubled compared to previous years. Because as a new wife I took on the duty of shopping for my husband’s side of the family since we had been married for two years.
I don’t know about you, but this time of year is always tough for me. I am sure many of you can relate to a seasonal pattern for highs and lows – bright, sunny, energetic spring and summer almost always brings about the same in me, and so why wouldn't dull, dreary cold fall and winter do likewise? There are several things that this could be related to. Bipolar disorder is in many ways a disorder of circadian rhythms (our body’s internal clock), and the change in external cues (sunrise and sunset) seems to match our internal cues.