It is extremely difficult having a mental illness and it can be even more challenging getting through the holidays while dealing with a mental health condition. The stress of the holidays can often be too much to bear, especially with the stream of endless pictures of happy people everywhere, who are enjoying the holiday cheer. It may seem all too overwhelming, but there is hope for those of us who have bipolar disorder and want to get through the holidays intact.
Breaking Through Depression by Giving Back
I have been experiencing a lot of heartache as of late because my high school friend passed away from cancer at the age of 38 leaving her three children behind, my mother spent the last 3 months in a high security ward of the psychiatric hospital, and the pain of a lost 4-year relationship continues to haunt me. As the holidays neared, so did my agony of having to get through them with a genuine smile on my face.
I was given a ‘Christmas Blessing Challenge’ from a friend over two weeks ago and I was asked to purchase a few items for a youth who is living in poverty and struggling through the holidays. I sat on this challenge for weeks in despair as I could hardly conjure up the energy to leave the house, but I decided that I am not one to ever back away from a challenge. I had been sleeping a lot, two days to be precise, and I could barely find my way out of the fog with my depression. Still, I took to my web cam and made a video as instructed for the challenge, and I nominated two people to also take on the task of purchasing and delivering a gift to the local church for someone in need.
After many attempted recordings, I eventually got my message across that the holidays were very difficult for many people and I was not one to put on a fake happy face. However, I admitted that I was definitely trying my best and that I was going to leave my house and buy a gift for a young person in need. I posted the video to my Facebook Feed and in a matter of a couple of hours it received over 50 comments from people expressing that they too were having a hard time over the holidays.
I thought that I was alone in my despair, but my courage to come out and express my truth prompted so many people to share their own hardships throughout this time of year.
Putting Other First During the Holiday Season
I drudged my way to the store today and I bought suggested items such as a scarf, mittens, toothbrush, toothpaste, make-up and a food gift card and then I realized that my problems may be quite difficult, but my heart went out to the youth who truly needed a ‘toothbrush’ on Christmas day. I never minimize my own problems or anyone else’s by comparing them to others, but something changed inside of me when I felt the light of giving light up my depressed heart. I have a warm place to live, friends and family who love me and most of all I may be depressed, but I have what I need to maintain a good and comfortable life. It did not solve my problems to purchase this gift, but it certainly did lighten my mood.
As I left the store earlier today, I observed a man yelling and rummaging through various garbage cans on his way through the mall complex, so I ran up to him and told him that it looked like he was having a bad day. I gave him a five-dollar bill that I had won on a lottery ticket and offered him the money and a chocolate that I had in my purse. His eyes lit up with excitement and his demeanor changed immediately from angry to being civil and grateful. I then realized that in the spirit of giving, I found a way to ease my depression and in times of emotional pain, I can always count on my generous soul to carry me into a place of gratitude and hope.
Have you brought light to someone’s heart over the holidays with your willingness to give, and how do you deal with depression during the holidays?
via bpHope – bp Magazine Community