The holidays can be difficult, but especially if you have a mental illness.
For me, I struggle with panic attacks when I’m around a big crowd of people. I had one last Christmas and had to isolate myself. It was humiliating. When everyone left, I was fine. I hate that! I hate that I didn’t spend time with my family but even more, I hate that I couldn’t control my emotions.
This year in therapy, I’ve been working on ways to get through the holidays. I put it to work on Thanksgiving this year, and it did work! Christmas will be the ultimate challenge, though, because a lot more people will be at my house.
What are some ways that you cope with the holidays? Let’s discuss on Facebook or Twitter!
(PS… I know these last couple of months have been not the best of posts, but that’s because the holidays stress me out. That’s why I wanted to talk a little bit about it this month. 2017 will be back to my regular self.)
I found my old journal that I wrote lyrics in when I was in high school. It’s full of old songs and thoughts, and the poem below really stuck out to me.
I think it perfectly describes what someone with depression, anxiety, and anything else is going through.
It’s difficult to recognize who you really are when you’re depressed. It’s something we have to deal with daily. But that doesn’t mean give up. It means hold on longer, hold on tighter, hold on with everything you’ve got. You’ll make a comeback; I know it.
The poem is called Stickers. I wrote it on July 8, 2008.
One at a time
Added as the days go by
No one seems to notice
Just how their words can stick on others
As time seems to escape me
I glance in the mirror and can’t truly see myself
Labels covering me, smothering me
I’m at the point
I don’t even know who I am anymore
I saw angels the other day
I looked at them like it was yesterday.
They walked near me, and I felt their love,
and they told me that you are up above.
No more pain, no more tears,
but I wish that you were here.
The moment I knew you were gone
I started to write down for you a song
“Be strong” I told you every day
I wish that I knew what you would say.
I love you my angel, and I’ll see you soon.
I’ll send you a letter in a balloon.
As it travels through the stratosphere, I want you to know
that I always loved you, but I know you had to go.
The pain was too much for you to bear
but I have and always, about you I care.
I know that you’re happy now, my friend,
but don’t let this letter be the end.
The shy girl.
You pushed me around, pulled my hair, threw paper balls at me, mocked me, pulled at my belt loops, blamed me for things that you did because you knew I wouldn’t speak up for myself, called me names behind my back, started rumors about me…
I’m still here. I’m talking now, and I need to tell all of you one thing:
I forgive you.
Why? Because you made me strong.
I wouldn’t know what strength it took to get me through those days had you not bullied me. I’m not condoning what you did, and I never will.
I know you must have bullied me because you were so insecure of yourself… Right? I didn’t do anything to you, so the problem was definitely you. So I forgive you.
I hope you’re well, and I hope your life is all you wanted it to be. Mine’s not. I battle with major depression and extreme anxiety. The same anxiety that you used to bully me for.
To the people that bullied me at jobs, you are childish, but I forgive you. I learned a lot from you. I learned not to trust anyone. Because of you, I only trust one person in my life.
I have just enough strength now to realize that trusting people is not on my agenda for my life.
Why do I forgive you? Because I want to be forgiven. Not by you, but by God. I’m tired of resting on these thoughts that maybe I did something to deserve all the ridicule. I didn’t do anything. I did nothing to deserve what you did to me.
Stop bullying others now that I’m out of the picture!
What goes through your mind when you bully people? Is it a sense of happiness, regret, insecurity? You made me feel like dirt on the ground… But yet I forgive you.
Thank you for making me stronger, even though I didn’t realize it at the time.
I hope it was all worth it for you…