GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK!!

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TIS THE SEASON!!!  It’s that time of year.  It is frantic, hectic, joyous…and magical, hectic, scary.  You have so much to do, right?  The holiday parties…work, school, church.  Thanksgiving AND Christmas.  The music starts earlier and earlier each year.  The shelves are stocked with ornaments, clothes, table decorations.  EVERYTHING must be perfect.  Or, does it?

For most people, this is a scary time of year.  The sun is gone, the demands are higher, the children are HOME!!!  What are you going to feed them while they are home all the time?  It is overwhelming and depression can suck us right back into that hole.

But, we are not going to let that happen this year.  Our mental health “problems” will not take us down this year.  We are going to embrace these feelings, share these feelings.  We are going to give ourselves a break.  Those of you battling these demons, don’t you hate me right now?!    Had I read this last week, I would have hated me too.  But, I held on.  I trudged through the thoughts which have brought me whirling down the hole before.  I GAVE MYSELF A BREAK!!!

I spent some time with a friend of mine who is battling the demons right now.  I know what she is going through.  Her thoughts are running wild:  guilt, shame, fear, and loneliness, to name a few.  I just listened.  I can do nothing to change the thoughts in her head right now.  I can listen while she works through her thoughts.  She needs to release them and analyze them.  She didn’t need me to say “you’ll get over this”, ” take a walk”, “write in your journal”.  When you are feeling like her,  those are not the things you want to hear.  You do not want to hear “read your Bible”, “God will take care of everything!”.  Where is God now?  Why is He doing this to me?  That is what she is thinking.  The only thing I can tell her is there is “the other side”.  By the way….God is there, you will see when you look back on that dark time.

In the past year, I have decided to quit using my Mental Illness as an excuse not to do things.  Someone once told me not to use it as a badge of courage.  Well, hell yes I should!!!   Of course, I had to do it in my own time.  Fall is a hard time for me.  Sixteen years ago, Dean was born, we were transferred to Nashville, and my mom died.   Every year it hits me like it was yesterday.  Every year I tell myself I will not let that year get me down.  This year I almost did.  But, I embraced the sadness.  I embraced the good memories sixteen years ago. I stared depression in the face and said: “not this year”.  Of course, that was about a week after feeling absolutely miserable.

We who battle CAN DO THIS!!!  We can take our badge of courage and turn it around to fight it….for ourselves and others.  Embrace how you feel and let it go.   I know this is a hard pill to swallow.  You may not be able to do that right now.  But, give yourself a break.  Let your family and friends know you are not feeling well.  Tell them you need a wide berth right now.  You do not necessarily want to be physically alone.  Hang out in the den with everyone.  You can still have your demons run through your head.  You have the right to feel bad.

GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK!!!  Bring cups to a party instead of that amazing dip you bring every year.  Bring something premade.  Don’t bring anything at all.  There will be plenty of food left over.  Take the “it has to be perfect” mantra out of your head.  Hell, play sick and don’t go to the party at all.  IT IS OK!!!

Try to enjoy this time of year.  GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK!!!

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