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Forums / Anxiety / Christmas - with anxiety/depression

Topic: Christmas - with anxiety/depression

27 posts, 0 answered
  1. Moonstruck
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    3275 posts
    8 November 2019
    8 November 2019
    Hi all...any old buddies on here will know I can't bear this "festive season", not the day itself, by which time it's quiet, with folks already doing what they planned and no more hype or pressure. I thought I was avoiding the dreaded "lead up" but it's started already. I am now overtaken by panic and anxiety flooding my whole being, after months of coping relatively well and healthy.
    my family and grand kids live in another city, and travelling there costs a lot. The parents don't get much time off at this time of year, they have a small home, so I try and find accommodation (which always goes up sky high in Peak Times). I don't get to see them often at all...and need to make contact with the kids before they get much older and I won't even know them.
    working out dates, times etc to travel, hopefully before the tourist rush starts....has me in a really bad way. The earlier you book plane trips in my regional town, the cheaper it is. If I leave it till just a few days before, the cost will be out of my reach. I have to watch my finances these days...and combined with Xmas presents for the kids my head is spinning and I am terrified.
    I can't think straight.....what stores to buy the presents from? will I just send money to contribute to the present if I can't get there in person? My son is not the best communicator and doesn't realise I need every little detail worked out (he doesn't know how bad my anxiety is) I need dates, times, which brands and size the presents have to be etc etc
    To finish up, (and I hope I haven't bored you to tears) I am terrified, can't make decisions, frozen until I hear the family's timetables and advice....and afraid to tell them I am scared of spending too much money. They are my grand kids....I can't disappoint them?
    I am scared of spending money on travel, as well as the presents, but this means I won't see them in person....I miss them, I love them so much....why does Christmas tear people with anxiety and/or depression apart like this? contrary to the happy happy movies and ghastly Carols....there is no peace, no joy, no celebration...at least for me...just stress, financial difficulties, endless choices, time wasting shopping, searching online for travel deals...it's going to destroy me this year.......and I have been doing so well...back to square one with my panic and anxiety...all due to Christmas!!
    1 person found this helpful
  2. geoff
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    8 November 2019 in reply to Moonstruck

    Hello Moonstruck, and yes for so many people this time of the year is the most wonderful time, but for those who have suffered from an MI it opens up so many cracks, so many past memories that appear so quickly every year which we regret.

    What presents do we buy for our children, the grandkids that they will be thankful for, or will they deny the effort it's taken us to purchase.

    I know how you feel and understand what you are saying and feel so sorry, and can I get back to you tomorrow, as I'm logging off.

    Take care.

    Geoff.

    5 people found this helpful
  3. Ggrand
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    8 November 2019 in reply to Moonstruck

    Hello Moon, Geoff and all..

    Christmas is always bad time for me...

    It never existed..because my husband said it’s only a money spinner..my children missed out on any Christmas festivities..it’s a huge trigger for me..

    I have spent the last 3 alone..due to my anxiety..To many sad memories and guilt..I do not like Christmas and dread it every year....

    Im happy for those that enjoy the family get togethers..Food Gifts .etc..and I hope they make good memories..

    Grandy..

    3 people found this helpful
  4. Aaronsis
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    8 November 2019 in reply to Moonstruck
    Hi Moonstruck

    I am so glad that you have raised this issue as I am about to head into my first Christmas with some anxiety and some unknowns, this will be the first Christmas without my brother, so I can totally understand how the lead up to this event is impacting you, our worries are a little different but the whole event is causing us some grief.

    I have an idea for you though, I am thinking that to perhaps lessen one thing to worry about how about this for an idea for the grand kids, so instead of having the expense of multiple gifts, the not knowing and waiting to be told and then having to shop, how about and experience. You could take them out for the day to perhaps a zoo or a movie or and activity that you could all do together, you could make them up little cards and give them to them on the Christmas day so that would eliminate any extra baggage to carry and then you get the luxury of spending the day with your grand kids, they would love that so much more than a box of leggo etc...time is precious and seeing that you dont get to see them often this could be perfect. What do you think?

    I was thinking too that perhaps you could put together a timetable that suits you and present it to them, that would save you having to wait in a frozen state until they can let you know what to do. The good thing is at least you know when Christmas is and you could work around either side of the day to get some accommodation and some travel.

    I am not sure if I have helped at all but I can feel how much this is consuming you, it really should not be about the gifts anyway but about spending time together and enjoying each other, this sure does not sound like you are enjoying any of this...big hugs to you and I hope that you can find some comfort knowing that Christmas is so many things for so many of us and I think together we can get through these times if we talk and share the load.

    Hugs to you Moonstruck

    AS
    2 people found this helpful
  5. Guest5643
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    460 posts
    8 November 2019

    Hi moonstruck

    I used to love xmas so much my decorations went up in oct and i was big time full on with them. The day my mum passed 2 weeks before xmas i lost the christmas spirit. This one will again be devoid of humans. I dont speak to aunty now so at least i wont have to hear about my pedo dad spending xmas with his girlfriends grandkids. If anyone reads this and remembers a warning at on gumtree last xmas day that was me😆

    Lynne

    2 people found this helpful
  6. geoff
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    9 November 2019

    Living by myself I don't put up a Xmas tree and the last two years I have one of my sons live with but has moved out into a home he rents, and he's not too keen on a Xmas tree, although if one of us said we'd put one up, then we would.

    I used to drive two and half hours every Xmas to see my 2 little grandchildren but haven't for a while, just ring them on Skype, they, of course, love Father Xmas and have a wonderful time.

    They don't and see me because that son has OCD unfortunately.

    Best wishes.

    Geoff.

    2 people found this helpful
  7. Moonstruck
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    9 November 2019 in reply to geoff

    Geoff, Grandy and others who replied...thank you for sharing and understanding. Grandy you said "I do not like Christmas and dread it every year"....it is a relief to know I am not the only one. Geoff you hit the nail on the head also...with it "opening up old wounds and memories"..

    .Helium ..it appears you've had awful things to deal with too regarding Xmas..."devoid of humans" sounds quite OK and acceptable to me....but....others can drive you crazy with their questions about "what are you doing? are you visiting family, or is family visiting you this year?"....why, oh why do people assume it is ANY of their business what the hell you or I are doing, or not doing....and what the reason is!!

    Aronsis.....lovely words and good advice too about the outing....it looks as though some pressure has been lifted with my family actually suggesting it maybe better, less stressful (for me as well as them ( they are under pressure too with work at this time of year) to visit after all the fuss has died down...in the new year some time to avoid most of the holidaymakers and just have family time together.....whew!!

    Yes, Yes that suits me fine!! I will send my son some money to buy what the kids really need and say it comes from me and this will save a lot for me on travel and accommodation...I feel relieved that it was his suggestion and not my own (perhaps he knows me better than I thought)

    I find it really intrusive when acquaintances/neighbours etc constantly ASK what I am doing for Xmas? "is the family coming up" "or are you going down to them?"...as if there is some unwritten law that we must 'DO" something "FOR" Christmas? I can see my friends and family in April, July or September if I wish....I don't have to comply with a date on the calendar!!

    When will the media, and TV understand that their overly strong emphasis on Christmas can be extremely damaging to those with a M.I. ?

  8. Guest5643
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    460 posts
    9 November 2019 in reply to Moonstruck

    Hi moonstruck

    I end up lying to neighbours ect who ask cause they seem to not accept its ok to have xmas alone. Well technicaly im not lying when i say im having xmas with a friend, they just assume its a human friend not a dog friend😊

    Lynne

    1 person found this helpful
  9. Guest5643
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    460 posts
    9 November 2019 in reply to Guest5643

    Hi

    I know this is not xmas related but birthdays are a bit the same too. Dont ask when someones bday is and then completely ignore them and not wish them happy birthday Thats just a huge insult. Imagine the double wammy of birthday on xmas day!

    Lynne

    1 person found this helpful
  10. Moonstruck
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    24 November 2019 in reply to Guest5643

    I read on another thread someone's question "what would be one thing to make Christmas easier for you"....and my chosen thing would probably be ...less crap from the media, especially TV hosts.

    i.e. special Xmas Day Dinners with celebrities around the table and a celebrity chef cooking gorgeous dishes we haven't a hope of replicating, with mega expensive ingredients....double page spreads in the papers and magazine with recipes for "that perfect lunch"...then a stupid "countdown".

    what to do 2 weeks before, then what to prepare a week before, etc etc...then your timetable for "the day"...it's absolute crap ..how can ordinary folk possibly live up to this blissful happiness because a calendar has a certain number on it?.......

    So my first chosen "thing" is less pressure from the MEDIA....

    1 person found this helpful
  11. Moonstruck
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    3275 posts
    12 December 2019 in reply to Guest5643

    Hey Helium...nearly there. The madness is approaching the finish line for us again this year...I am surviving so far...just...how about you? I confess I too, like yourself...have told little white lies about "what I am "doing for Xmas"...just to shut people up!

    What do they mean exactly? "doing" for Xmas? Why should I do anything different, with anyone different, in any other place because my calendar flips over to December 25, than any other of the 364 days of the year? I don't understand!

    "Are your family travelling up to see you?...or are you going away to their place?" they ask expectantly, obviously requiring me to answer Yes to one of the above..heaven forbid if I am doing neither.....Well neither actually, is the answer (not that it's any of their business)....am I then obliged to explain why??? ....is it "compulsory" for us to be physically in the same location on this particular day that seems to hold such ludicrous power over everyone?

    They don't ask me these questions in July....or March...or February. Why do they get so inquisitive about my private life in December??

  12. quirkywords
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    12 December 2019 in reply to Moonstruck

    Moon,

    i have just seen this thread.

    I don’t celebrate Christmas for cultural reasons and when people ask me about Christmas are just smile and changecthe topic. Everyone assumes everybody celebrates Christmas with their family.

    Quirky

    1 person found this helpful
  13. Moonstruck
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    3275 posts
    13 December 2019 in reply to quirkywords

    Dear Quirky....thank you for your reply. I can reply back in just one word: "Why?"

    Why does "everyone assume everyone spends Xmas with family?"

    I heard it said again for about the millionth time just now on a morning TV show...."Christmas is a time to be with family"......A plea to those on TV or in newspapers....Please please please stop repeating this over and over again!!!

    Have you any idea how much it hurts those who will not be (for whatever reason) with "family"?

    I don't have clinical depression but I can get extremely sad and feeling down too....this year the Xmas hype has just begun to hurt me terribly, just now. Its as if I heard that phrase repeated just one too many times re "family being together at Xmas" and my whole self cried out 'Enough!". I cry now every time it's rammed down my throat.

    It has never affected me to this degree all these years (some of which actually have been spent with family, which is lovely...but then any time spent with them is lovely). there is no family rift or anything bad happening.......it's the constant hype about Xmas and family over and over again...it's finally done its job...for the first time...it's left me feeling "lacking" as if there is "something missing" or perhaps my family "don't love me enough" to make sure we are all physically in the same location on a certain day...

    Please please stop with this over emphasis on "family being together at Xmas"....it's extremely damaging to some of us.....

    1 person found this helpful
  14. Moonstruck
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    3275 posts
    16 December 2019 in reply to Moonstruck

    I am sinking lower and lower. Worst year it's ever been. I feel so tired when I wake up...I don't want to get out of bed and face another day of heavy traffic, unable to find a park in the city as so many people go Festive Season Crazy!!!

    I can't put Morning TV on, as presenters have decorations and trees on set behind them...talking about "tips, how to avoid Xmas stress etc." The latter always gets me....as for a start, I suggest SHUT UP about it...would be one way to lessen the distress on OTHERS.

    I am terrible at choosing presents. I am panicked now that the ones I posted to family are all wrong, and stupid. I can't think straight. A relative I know suffers from loneliness and depression I suspect...they live out of town so I will choose a nice gift for them and post it....but I can't think what to get...what store to go to?

    I will be faced with an array of expensive items, so many to choose from my head spins and all I want to do is lock myself at home and wait..wait for night to fall, the darkness, so Christmas and the intense pressure I feel on top of me....can't get at me.

    There's no escaping it during the daylight hours...relentless...on the radio....ancient Christmas songs about winter and snow and sleighs when we are in a fiery heatwave!!!! Totally irrelevant and unnecessary but still the radio plays them. WHY?

    I need to do "mundane" things un-Christmassy things like making Drs appointment etc..but if I venture out, am bombarded with questions about "Have you done all your shopping yet?" what do they Mean by this exactly? I'd love to do more "shopping" but don't have a lot of money. How can I answer that question? What are you "doing for" Xmas? Do they really want me to spell out my whole routine for December 25? morning, afternoon, evening..?

    I am in a bad way this year...worse than ever....please make it stop...but it won't. It never does. Right up until the last minute.....do others know how cruel they are being to me? How much it hurts?

  15. Katyonthehamsterwheel
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    16 December 2019 in reply to Moonstruck

    Hi Moonstruck

    I just want to lend a bit of support as you're obviously struggling and I'm sorry you're finding this period so difficult. Anxiety certainly affects us all in different ways and while the hype doesn't bother me (I'm not sure I've noticed it but I don't watch mainstream tv or go out much I guess), there is always pressure around going places and buying gifts etc. How are you managing? Have you put some plans in place and been able to express your concerns to your family in order to get things under control somewhat? I hope so. It's such a difficult time for people with MI, you're right. I'm sorry it hurts. Please be gentle with yourself during this time. Thinking of you, Katy

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  16. Moonstruck
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    19 December 2019 in reply to Katyonthehamsterwheel

    Thanks Katy. yes I am struggling to keep my mood and spirits up....but finding it very hard and this year is the first time I have allowed all the hype, the crowds, the frenzy, the insistence of the media that we MUST be happy, we MUST be with family....has finally worn me down.

    Other years I just let the mob get on with it....and whether I am with my kids or not...or whether they are holidaying some place else....doesnt bother me. This year it does. Perhaps I am feeling more tired and therefore more vulnerable, or perhaps advances in all the technology and devices has made the pressure easier to get through to us ....I am not sure.

    No I won't be spending it all alone...I never do. (except for the day I spent it in the hospital ED , (pain after a simple procedure a few days earlier....that was my favourite Xmas actually...no one bothered me or even knew I was there...) but I digress....

    A family member lost his wife last year and he gets a bit lonely around this time...wants to cook lunch for a few of us, so will hopefully help the day to pass a bit faster for him.

    I also have a couple of other friends to whom Xmas means nothing and they have no family here....so may have time to drop in and say Hi to them. (I don't drink so can easily drive around the place, whereas a lot of others can't)

    What gets to me is...I can do the above any day of the year....the guy who lost his wife can have us over for lunch any time he likes...I can, and do drop in to see my other mates (who are alone) through the year as well as next Wednesday......so WHY all this pressure that it MUST occur next Wednesday??

    That's the bit I don't understand...and resent very much being "told" on which day I must be with "family or friends".

  17. Quercus
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    19 December 2019 in reply to Moonstruck

    Hi Moon,

    I hope it's ok if I join in. I'm finding this year I'm struggling more than usual too. Seeing your post today has helped me feel less alone so thank you.

    This hit so deeply and personally that I feel teary again. I'm so glad you wrote it so openly...

    it's left me feeling "lacking" as if there is "something missing" or perhaps my family "don't love me enough" to make sure we are all physically in the same location on a certain day...

    That's exactly how I feel. Lacking.

    Hubby and I have made such an effort this year to choose how WE wish to spend Christmas. I have read about self care and made decisions to focus on what truly matters to me. But no matter what I feel like I'm letting people down.

    Even at work people have given me presents and I feel awful because we just don't have any money for me to give in return. I'm exhausted from months of getting homemade gifts ready for family and close friends and nothing feels good enough.

    I agree about Christmas becoming ridiculously meaningless. I miss my Grandparents so badly because they were the ones who loved Christmas for the reasons I once did. Although for me Christmas has religious meaning, I accept that isn't how others feel and that's absolutely ok too.

    To me Christmas isn't one day... It's a time of year we can all show love and kindness to eachother. Focus on including everyone. Showing forgiveness and acceptance. And above all for me Christmas is about children and teaching them to genuinely care for others. But the way Christmas is promoted makes me feel sadder every year.

    You spoke about lonely friends and this made me want to reply most...because you caring for others is what Christmas is about as I see it. It doesn't matter what you buy... Your visit or phonecall and time is the best gift of all.

    If it helps I can recommend finding homemade gifts you can make. There are so many ideas on the web of things to cook or make and everyone I've given things to seems to love that my kds and I have taken the time to make them something. I'll ask management if they can post some photos to show you. It helps keep me busy and means I avoid the shops. I don't go shopping over Christmas or new years. It is too overwhelming.

    I'm sorry you're struggling also Moonstruck. Thank you for creating this thread. I think your thread and Paul's compliment eachother because they take different approaches and both provide safe places for us all to talk. I'm always thankful to see you on the forums.

    ❤ Nat

    2 people found this helpful
  18. Quercus
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    19 December 2019 in reply to Quercus

    PS.

    As for carols.... I almost cried (again) taking my kids to carols by candlelight. The choir sang The North Wind which is my favourite carol that noone ever seems to know. It's one of the few Australian Carols and it celebrates a summer Christmas without talking about singlets, thongs or kangaroos. Another is the Carol of The Birds (Orana).

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  19. Moonstruck
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    19 December 2019 in reply to Quercus

    Christmas Carols always make me cry. (the traditional beautiful ones that is)...I never go to Carols By Candlelight or watch them on TV...it's just too sad for me. Hearing them dredges up all the heartache, lost chances, broken dreams, loss, grief.....anything sad that has ever happened to me in my life...it all overwhelms me to the point of tears.....I just can't bear it!

    I find the entire "festive" season from beginning to finish....immeasurably sad.....

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  20. Quercus
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    20 December 2019 in reply to Moonstruck

    Oh my goodness YES. Me too. It's like you spoke my mind.

    I used to avoid carols but now I just let myself cry. Therapeutic tears maybe? It can be embarrassing especially when I was watching my kids school concert and kept getting teary.

    Hubby reminds me getting over emotional is a sign I'm not doing so well. I suppose he's right. Chtist

  21. Moonstruck
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    20 December 2019 in reply to Quercus

    Hi Quercus....I tend to disagree with your husband. Your tears at Carols are therapeutic and it's the perfect time to cry and let "it all" out....whatever your "it all" happens to be. He's wrong in this case I reckon.....

  22. Hanna3
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    21 December 2019 in reply to Moonstruck

    Sorry to hear you've been feeling so low Moonstruck. I don't watch any commercial TV so I guess I've been lucky to miss any hype about it there, and I try to ignore the Christmas shopping and frantic shoppers, I just find the crowds and lack of parking annoying and will be glad when it's all over for another year! In fact I go to the shops just before closing time when the crowds have gone and it's quiet at last! But yes I know exactly what you mean, all that hype can make you feel like you must be abnormal or something .. I don't have any family and no friends to spend the day with this Christmas - I just tell myself in 24 hours it will all be over...

    Spending time with your lonely friend sounds a great way to spend the day. I'm having it with my furry little pal and we'll just chill out with a movie and a walk in the park if it's not too hot.

    I hope you get to feel better it sounds like a tough time for you and all I can do is offer my support here. All the best my friend!

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  23. littleboots
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    22 December 2019 in reply to Hanna3

    I'm totally understanding those of you who find Christmas challenging. The media hype is unnecessary and the marketing is shameless.

    The whole christmas thing intimidates me and I feel anxious about it all.

    Various health issues spike at this time of year just to add complication and my mental health takes a dive.

    I made christmas cakes for those that are precious to me about six weeks ago and gave them in advance of christmas because despite the name and some of the ingredients, it's just cake. Mostly everyone has eaten theirs already and given me shamefaced apologies and smiley reviews. It's good for a laugh if nothing else.

    I firmly tell everyone I am not into receiving gifts because the things I want nobody can buy. They don't understand but so far I am being respected.

    I wanted to ask those of you that are required to travel at this time of year... does it do your head in? Because, I want to drag my suitcase back into my bedroom and shove it firmly under the bed! Not even unpacking Yes!! Climb into bed and wait for it all to be over.

    Instead, I am stressing about:-

    How much it weighs

    Why must I wear clothes I don't feel comfortable in

    What if I leave something important behind.

    How will I navigate the airport without having a panic attack

    What if I sleep through both of my alarms

    How will I face all of these really lovely people that embrace me every year and put on the look ok, look happy, look relaxed, look well. Quite a feat!

    I don't want these people to suspect what lurks inside me. I want to look normal so they don't worry.

    Anyone think like this?

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  24. Moonstruck
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    22 December 2019 in reply to littleboots

    Hi littleboots

    Nice to hear from you...regarding "travel at this time" Yes...that sounds pretty much like me too....I suspect there are quite a few people who feel the same way......try to survive until December 26...love Moon S

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  25. littleboots
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    13 January 2020 in reply to Moonstruck

    Hey Moonstruck,

    I got through it! Yes!! But, I still never want to do it again. ugh....

    As usual, when I stress so much, a bug lurking out there waiting just for me, jumps me and by the time I made it home again and slammed the door on Christmas - I was was sick. ugh...

    If catching a bug is my immune systems way of telling me that all this stress is not worth it, I should listen.

    I've told myself I am not doing any travelling again next year.

    I see all the tired, serious faces beginning to push the Christmas funtimes aside and recommence work, life and return to some semblance of normal. Parents who are dealing with all of the gifts that are not the right size, broken or just too stupid.

    Parents have it hard these days. They must feel under attack from all sides. And the post christmas depression.

    I think that's the phase I am now in, the post christmas depression phase. The little I did do, was enough to set that up in me. I cannot imagine how it feels for people that have to completely immerse themselves in the whole hectic, chaotic mess.

    Or perhaps it's the NY depression? Where I really should make some kind of resolution and not be cynical?

    The quiet let down of it all...

    Excuse me while I go and blow my nose and lie down again.

    Once I get over this I will face up to the NY.

    It's not shaping up to be too good for a whole lot of people already & that makes me sad.

  26. Moonstruck
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    14 January 2020 in reply to littleboots

    Well glad you survived the ridiculous silly season...as you can see, so did I...but only just!! I always have a chuckle to myself the few days after Xmas and wonder if any of the Xmas Obsessives look around at the enormous effort they went to...to please and impress others, to have the dinner cooked just right, to get "the right present" for the kids on whatever is the "toy flavour of this year" as the magazines and TV ads push down our throats......and think to themselves..."was it really worth it? I mean, did it really enhance your life just because the calendar said it was December 25?

    If your loved ones and you had a wonderful time...then that's great! But you can express your love ANY time of the year you know......you don't need TV and commercialism hype, tinsel, decorated shopping malls and totally irrelevant music about White Christmasses in the snow with sleighs and bells...to share love with your loved ones and let them know you love them!!

    NY resolutions are another example of media crap!! If you decide something may enhance your life, health or well being....then you can give it a go in March if you like, or July or August for that matter!!

    what makes me mad is so many of us...following along like sheep.....if you asked "why are you doing this"...if they were really honest, the majority would reply "because everyone else is"....

    little boots you know what one of the best things about New Year is? that it's almost an entire year until the Christmas Crap starts all over again....no, I make a mistake...they start about October now don't they....silly me!

    1 person found this helpful
  27. Lady Nova
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    14 January 2020 in reply to Moonstruck

    Seriously? I loath xmas, every single bit of it.
    It all began with my youngest with autism not being able to cope with the shops decked out with all the lights, flashing, bling, excess ... from September! Every shopping trip was a nightmare. I was expected to do all the prep and plan, using public transport, with a preschooler who melted down and had such a hard time with all of it. My inability to do this proved how useless I was.

    Then there was the holiday house I would rent for my family of five, including three young children, one with autism. I would end up catering to a house full of relatives in law who did nothing, brought nothing and I had to feed and cater and smile and parent and autism wrangle until I nearly died of exhaustion. My inability to manage all this just proved how useless I was and how inhospitable and rude and stuck up I was. Also because my child couldnt behave properly I was a bad parent.

    These days we celebrate MidSummer, on or around the 21st December. All it is is a feast with friends, games, music, laughter and fun. My sons each get something from their wish list and life is much better without the pain of what xmas has become

    Once I got away from all that and moved to a new home. Our neighbours put up a Chevy Chase-esque xmas light display to win a $1k community competitions. We advised we had uncontrolled epilepsy and autism in the house and asked if the flashing lights could be on the other side away from our windows and al fresco areas, but instead each year after that the display got bigger and more horrific. We had people parking us in, abusing us and screaming/laughing/honking/radios out the front for over a month ... ALL night.

    Now I am done. I dont know what people put in their xmas cheer drinks, or their silly efing hats, but it only seems to bring a sense of self important over indulgence without consideration or regard for others. As they pray to they gods of The Holy Dollar in the spree of excess. We hide in our home and hope it's over soon.

    This year everyone was so invested in the Bush fires the crapfest didn't happen, but then there were the bush fires so it wasn't the relief it should have been. IT was just another form of nightmare.

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