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Coping with anxiety and depression at the holidays
It’s Wednesday, the day before turkey day and I’m currently thirty-thousand feet above the southeast portion of the United States, heading to see my family that lives in Florida. I had to work my day job on Monday and Tuesday and my husband left early on Monday morning with my two little people since they were out of school. I came down with the holiday sickness Sunday and was pretty rough by Tuesday, I worried I wouldn’t make this flight. But here I am. I had to leave my oldest at home, he has to work and couldn’t make the trip this time. I struggle HARD not having all of us together. Plus this trip will be very hard as I have not seen my Dad in 1.5 years and he just got some very bad news at the doctor recently. He lives about 2 hours from the rest of my family and I’ll only get to see him for a few hours on Saturday.
I’m not sure how I’m supposed to feel
All of my immediate family has migrated to Florida over the last 15-16 years. My sister and my niece went first in the early 2000’s. Then my mom found a job and the perfect opportunity there while visiting and moved a couple of years after them. Both of my brother’s went at different times, then my Grandma, then my dad. I’m the only asshole left in the freezing cold and ridiculously high taxes of the Chicago area. I personally could never live in Florida year round, so moving there would never happen. I visit ALL THE TIME, like legit, it’s my second home, I even spent 8 weeks with my sister after she had my 3rd niece. I started going down for 4-6 weeks at a time when my little’s were not in real school. I tried to get the hubs to buy a rental property so we could have our own place to stay during our visits, and rent it when we weren’t. He refused. So we just pile in my mom’s house like sardines now.
My husband is an only child. His family consists of him, his parents, his cousin; wife and two boys. That’s it. Holidays with his family have always been uncomfortable for me, never mind that his parents have never really liked me. Everything is scheduled, like “be here at 5 to eat at 5:30” kind of thing. That’s not how I was raised, like at all. Major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas were an all day occurrence. Hang out, eat snacks, watch parades & football and then eat dinner. Take a break, watch some more football then eat again. No rush. Relax and unwind and chill the hell out. I mean, isn’t that what holidays are for? People have told me for years that it will get better as time goes. Fact is, it gets harder. Harder because not everyone speaks to one another in my family so we can’t all be together for a holiday or any event for that matter. Harder because now I’m older and I know that we don’t live forever and when I leave it may very well be the last time I see them. I’m never sure how to feel. I think I may very well be the most emotional of my siblings, basically I see myself as the neediest and I think I might be okay with that.
I’ve tried for YEARS to not dwell on not having them close. Doesn’t work, at least I haven’t figured out a way to make it work. I fantasize about non-reality people I see on TV who have friends that fill the family void. Nope, don’t have that either. I have a very select few people who really love me for me. This year I had the idea that I wanted to host a Friends-giving and the more I thought about it the more I realized we had no one to invite that would actually show up. The majority of those select few people who really love me don’t live anywhere near me. I also had a crazy idea that I wanted to host a Christmas cookie exchange and brunch. Again, who would actually show up. I’m really kind of over the idea of inviting acquaintances to events and parties at my house, I’m not a fan of small talk and I have figured out the hard way, those people never end up as friends. I want real friends here who love me like family. Real friends that don’t judge me.
I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel anymore. I love the shit out of my family but I literally can not handle their drama. People can’t get along, won’t speak to one another and simply do not communicate with each other. Drama is so physically and emotionally draining on me and I just can’t deal with it. I love to go see them, and as hard as I sob every time I leave, I love to come home. I kinda hate how much I love them and how much I let their crap affect me. Doesn’t matter how much I tell them, they still do what they do. They create the rain then get mad when it’s pouring. We all battle, whether they want to admit it or not, with anxiety and depression. I try to keep mine at bay, but the holidays are so bad for me. Every year I pep talk myself into thinking I will be better and I will be happy and it never turns out that way. We have been super lucky at home with decent weather, once the weather changes for the worse and temps drop, I crawl back into my shell and hardly come out til Spring. As I’ve gotten older my anxiety has gotten worse. People tell me I’m to high strung and that I need to chill out. I wish it was that easy.
Time to make NEW memories
In an attempt to help my own issues, I want to make NEW memories for my kids. This year we have decided that we are scaling back Christmas, major! We want them to appreciate the things they get instead of just thinking it’s about the gifts. My mom always went overboard on us four kids, I hold the memories deep within my heart and I will never forget them. Those gifts are long gone tho (except for my 5 Cabbage Patch dolls, 1 Koosa and 1 Pony still in my basement) but the memories of us being together are still very vivid. We agreed that instead of spending a ton of money on gifts that Thing 2 will break in 5 minutes or Thing 1 will shove in the toy box til Spring, we would take vacations as a family. Less stuff more experiences is my motto and I finally got my husband to agree! I hate stuff, I really do. I hate clutter and messes and piles so the less crap to pick up, the better! It’s time to make memories with my kids because I’m an adult now and trying to make memories with non-existent family and friends is impossible. I want my kids to remember the fun holidays and not the ones where their mom is secretly crying in her bedroom.
No more stressing over what to buy someone. I’m only focusing on my kids and my youngest nieces and nephews. So what my oldest is 25, he’s still my kid! No more overspending or running up credit cards (which we shredded btw) that we can’t pay, this sends my anxiety into outer space. I’m so done with the stress and burdens put upon me at the holiday’s. We will save that money that would have been spent on plastic crap from Target and we will go on vacation. This year is a ski trip over Christmas break. Next year I am petitioning my family that wants to make the trip to come here for Christmas so I can finally host something with people who like me. I don’t want presents, ok maybe one, an Air Fryer, but that’s it! Grandparents, guess what they are getting? Probably something with my kids faces on it and it will be something they can use. Seriously, no more crap! I’m done. Finished. Can’t even stress that enough! The holidays are so hard on me, even my husband doesn’t get it. Why would he? He is an only child and his parents live around the block from us. He has NO idea how it feels to be in my shoes.
One stressed out Mutha!
I’m finally getting my mojo back for my Perfectly Posh business. It has kind of taken a back seat the last few months since I went back to work full-time. I’m now running a household, working full-time, and self-employed. My blog has suffered and so has my business. No time like the present, the holiday season, to get back in a groove and buckle down. I love what I do, I really truly do. I’m just burning the candle at both ends and the end results are pretty sucky. I’ve been burned several times and I’m stressed way the hell out. Please stick around and subscribe to this blog, I promise I have lots planned! I may not bring you Posh on a regular and if you are okay with that, I’m grateful to have you! I’m a mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend and I’m human. I may be down but I am never out.