Conquering the Holiday Blues
Conquering the Holiday Blues
My dear friends I have written very extensively that I have lost actually several loved ones this year and this is particularly trying Holiday season for me. My son is non verbal with Autism and has no outlet for his grief.
While I am a behavioral therapist and a very rational person I can’t help be feel the loss at the Holidays. Thanksgiving has been rough. I will not lie to any of you. But as I go through this I am taking notes as to what has helped. And I would like to share these bits of advice for conquering the Holiday blues attributed with grief.
Embrace the Depression and Then Let it Go.
The Memory Books and Autism
My son like myself has a photographic memory. So everything in his life has been carefully catalogued in what we refer to as Memory books. We edit those memory books as we had to. For instance when my son was young he was in a NICU unit. My son hates to see himself sick and weak. It brings back fears for him so he destroys memory books with bad memories. I just concluded it was easier not to include unhappy memories in his memory books which he would just destroy anyways.
As part of Thanksgiving we watch the Macy’s Day parade. Both my parents are from New York so it is a tradition with us. After watching the Macy’s Day parade my son got his memory books out of his deceased Nana and he spent hours pointing to me and wanting me to explain every last detail to him of our other Holidays and why we were on our own now. I did as he requested for about 3 hours. I did it until he was completely satisfied and then he took a long nap. And I am letting him sleep as much as he wants through this because I recognize he has the Holiday blues a bit. This will be the worst Holidays on him and I prefer to have him go through it bad this year so he can recover.
But I do give him chocolates and I am indulging him through this Holiday season so he has a perceived locus of control and he feels secure.
Exercise, chocolate and sleep are great cures for depression.
Holiday Blues Maybe Winter Blues
I have lowered his and my expectations fro the Holidays this season. We probably will not have a tree. I lost all the decorations when my Mother died as there was the great scavenger hunt immediately after her death. I lost Christmas ornaments that were Baby’s first Christmas and other Holiday ornaments. Quite frankly I bought them all and yet the scavengers can to claim them as theirs. So we will not have a tree nor ornaments nor presents but each other. And if my son wants to sleep through this Holiday he can. Because next year his wounds will not be so fresh.
And to be entirely honest I wasn’t about to act undignified or uncivilized over material possessions when my Mother died. If there was one last thing I would give my Mother it was I was going to act decent after her death. No one else did. But that is there problem not mine. I know I did the right thing by acting civilized. And because I did I doubt my recovery will take me nearly as long.
I also had my son to think about at the time who was really grieving. He was also going through several extinction burst right after my Mother passed as well that I had to extinguish before he would be declared a danger to himself or others. My son was also sick and I had to care for him so I just let the scavengers come and take all they desired. My fight was to keep my son alive and to get him through his grief. Admittedly I had lost a lot of friends doing end stage cancer care for two years. I wasn’t much fun to hang out with and I wouldn’t hang out as I was tending to my Mother’s needs. The others had support systems as they had not handled the care and had run to everyone who would listen to them whine about my Mother’s cancer. I wouldn’t whine as I believed family affairs are private. But now that it is only myself and my son I don’t have to keep my Mother’s secrets. Actually I will take many things to my grave as that is just the way we are built. We know how to keep secrets. Actually the burden of the secrets and loyalty was probably what made me so social dysfunctional in this situation. But it is true I can keep a secret without ever letting anyone ever know.
So Relax and Enjoy Your Family!
A Theory On Conquering the Holiday Blues
Personally I have noticed everyone seems to go insane during the holidays much like when they fall in love. But what I have observed is that how the Holidays are perception is not based on material wealth or gifts or even the number of family members in attendance. I believe the holiday blues but are caused by setting unrealistic expectations for the Holidays, forcing yourself to try and meet them and then in absence of meeting goals or completion the Holiday blues arise.
So whether you are grieving this year or just simply want to dodge the holiday blues try to keep it simple. Be very practical with your time and your expectations and limit the probability of holiday blues.