A Letter to Those Suffering During the Holidays...
For many, the holiday season is synonymous with happiness. It’s a time filled with mistletoes, glee, and family. It’s, as Andy Williams declared in his famous song, the most wonderful time of the year. As beautiful a time it is, this season can also be clouded with grief, hardship, and depression. For many, the joy of the holidays is cloaked with the memories of past lovers, deceased family members, or broken relationships. It can be a difficult time. The fact that this time is supposed to be one filled with unprecedented happiness can make it even more difficult for those suffering. To those feeling hurt and dejected, you are not alone.
These months can be especially difficult if you’ve dealt with loss—the entire season can remind you of all the moments you’ve had, and of all the moments you’ve lost. If you’re still reeling from the loss of a friend or family member: you are not alone. Your feelings are valid. While difficult, it’s important to acknowledge your feelings and communicate them to the people around you. Being clear with your emotions not only helps you process them better, it allows your friends and family members a better understanding of what you’re going through. It’s perfectly okay if you don’t want to do traditional holiday activities because it hurts. Conversely, it’s okay if you go a bit overboard with the holiday spirit. Process your grief the best way possible, whether that’s honoring your loved one with a new tradition or continuing a new one.
Similarly, some may not like the holiday season because of chaotic relationships with family members. Truth be told, some family relationships may even be toxic. So, spending your time with people who can be racist, homophobic, or misogynistic can be mentally and emotionally exhausting. The key to dealing with this? Set boundaries. Set boundaries for what you’re willing to deal with and what you’re willing to allow. Know that just because people are in your family, it does not mean they’re good for your mental or emotional health. You do not have to be stepped on, berated, and guilted when visiting them. Also, be mindful that you can and should seek outside help if you feel that you are in any type of danger. This can also be extremely terrifying and difficult depending on your situation, but your life deserves to be lived and it deserves to be lived to its fullest and greatest potential.
While the holidays for many of us are filled with cheer, understand that you’re not weird for feeling how you do. Whether you’re battling your own inner demons, or demon-like people in your life, remember that you are not alone. The last few months of the year can be incredibly tough, but you are too! Despite grief, unhealthy relationships, or anything else that you may be experiencing, you can overcome this. While it may not be the most wonderful time of the year for you, it doesn’t have to be a complete hell. It can be anything you wish and more.
Cover image via Sarah Wilson