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What It's Like to Have Depression During the Holidays

Depression Keeps Me From Being the Mom My Kid Deserves at Christmas

Depression can be paralyzing anytime, but for a lot of people, it can be especially bad during the holidays. I am one of those people. But do you know what the hardest part about holiday depression is for me? Being a parent.

I want to give my son the world every single day of the year, but during the holidays, there's so much more I want to do with and for him. Baking cookies, decorating the house, doing fun Christmas crafts, participating in all the exciting festivities — what I want to do seems so far from what I'm actually capable of doing. That is what makes depression during the holidays that much more frustrating.

That's the worst part about this illness: you can have everything to be happy about, but you're sad.

My little man is growing up so quickly. I look back at pictures of him, of how much he's changed from even last year, and I'm afraid I'm missing it all. Despite the overwhelming knowledge that we only get a few precious years of him believing in all the magic, my depression keeps me from embracing the little moments that I know mean the most. Sometimes, I can't even be present. I can't bask in the glory of today because my mind is full of worry about tomorrow.

That only complicates things. I get depressed about being depressed. I so badly want to just be normal. I want to have the energy to be the same mom during the holidays that I am for most of the year. I want to bounce around the house with a "get up and dance with me" vibe that brings Christmas spirit to my entire family. Some days, I can do that. But others, I can't. And it's on those days that I place even greater expectations on myself. The failure to meet those expectations fills me with guilt, sadness, and disappointment. I feel like my son deserves so much more. I feel unworthy to be his mom.

I know this is all part of the issue. That a lot of what I'm thinking in my mind isn't actually true. I wish I could snap out of it, or even understand why I'm depressed, but that's the worst part about this illness: you can have everything to be happy about, but you're sad. It can be hard to set your feet on solid ground. It can be hard to find safety and comfort until the storm passes.

I know my family loves me no matter what. I know my husband understands my illness and is there to support me. I know my son loves me however I'm able to show up for the holidays. It's just hard. Really hard. But having them helps me get from one good day to the next, no matter what may happen in between.

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