Its Christmas time! Festivals, whether it is Christmas, Diwali, Eid, Hanukkah or any other festival for that matter, are a time of happiness and reunion for most people. It is when we catch up with old friends, meet family we haven’t seen in ages and we celebrate and eat together. With all the happiness and positivity doing the rounds, it unfortunately becomes harder for a depressed or anxious mind to cope.
I have written extensively about how complex it is inside a depressed mind. We want to be a part of the festivities but also convince ourselves that we are not really important or needed here. We want to be happy but also tell ourselves that happiness is somehow overrated or unnecessary. All the positivity is rejected and any tiniest bit of negativity, even if used as a joke is over analyzed in an attempt to convince us of our collective pointlessness.
In the two years that I was depressed, I always looked forward to every festival. It was the time I could see my old friends and compare how far behind they had left me. It made me feel bad; made me feel stagnant and yet I looked forward to the holidays. It was as if some part of me liked it when I felt hurt. It liked to see me being trodden down by no one else other than myself. I want to make it clear that there was never an occasion when my friends told me or pointed it out to me that I have been lagging behind everyone and I am playing with my whole career.
There seemed to be a silent recognition of it in everyone but no one was really courageous enough to say it to me. In hindsight, I would say that may have been the best decision they took, even if unconsciously. I had already been telling myself that I was not good enough, that I was wasting precious resources and that it would be better if my life ended right there and then.
I can’t emphasize this enough, if you know someone who is struggling this festival time; appreciate the thunderstorm that must be going on within them. Let them know that you are there for them. You might want to behave normally and act like everything is okay but it might be perceived as beating around the bush and trying to stay from the real topic of their depression. Be straightforward. If you want to, you may push them a bit into talking to you as well. An important part of this is following up with your worry for them. If you tell them once, tell them again and again and make sure they know you are there. It might not be easy, comfortable or covered in glory but you might help save a life and a mind from itself.
This Christmas, reach out to the people you haven’t heard from for months or years, to people you know have been going through a tough time and let them know that they are in the thoughts of someone else as well; that they are thought about and cared about. Someone who you think has recovered from his ills, even them, because when it is a festival time, it is time to remember the people who are having a tough time and making sure that they also feel a part of the celebrations and the festivities.
Merry Christmas! 🙂