Holidays can be Lonely

lonely-girl-color

When you suffer from bipolar or depression, holidays can be lonely. Even if you have family and friends, it can be isolating. Somehow, the joy others feel, the whimsy of decorations and the business of gift buying and wrapping can make us feel separate, off balance and uncertain about our place in it all. I previously wrote about our symptoms of insomnia, loss of appetite and a severe aversion to being around more than one person at a time; these symptoms are likely to become even more intense around holiday time.

It becomes important to care for yourself during this time. Remember what your behaviors are that lead up to manic, hypomanic and depressive episodes. And even though it can be excruciatingly difficult, reach out to trusted friends and family. Talk about what’s going on. And use the links to the right (at the top with the asterisk*) to stay encouraged and know you’re not alone.

For me, it was important to reveal my condition. It was a difficult decision. I found the strength to do so through the courage of several bloggers who wrote under their own names. There are many bipolar bloggers who write anonymously, and I cherish their contributions. Yet, when we put our names and faces on our stories, we connect with courage to erase the stigma and shame associated with mental health disorders.

When we do so, we also allow friends and family deeper into our lives. We take off the armor, become vulnerable and encourage those closest to us to know us fully and completely. We give them the choice to understand us and our condition. We grant them entry into the world of knowledge about our symptomology: what our bipolar mania and depression looks like for us, and what we can and cannot control about our symptoms. It is a gift we can give them this year.

Perhaps, in the giving of ourselves, we will empower our friends and family to come a little closer, to do a little more research, to give a little more grace, as we give love and grace to them while they learn about our disorder.

If you are one of those friends or family members of someone who has bipolar or depression, I have a special plea for you.

“Imagine you’re in your home, at your kitchen table having coffee with four of your friends. Research shows that one in five individuals will deal with a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year. That fifth person at the table is struggling silently with severe depression. Until we stop hiding and start sharing our stories, the pain, the discrimination, the stigma will remain.” Jennifer Marshall, Executive Director, This is My Brave, Inc., Ted Talk, Nov 21, 2016

Use one of the links to the right (those at the top preceded by an asterisk *) to find more information and link up with someone else who has bipolar disorder. Ask lots of questions. Look for precursor symptoms – those symptoms leading up to mania, hypomania or depressive episodes. Learn what is in your friend or family member’s control – and more importantly, what isn’t. Give love and grace. It’s the best holiday gift you can give.

21 comments

  1. My name is Anthony. I struggle with depression. Unfortunately, there are no “anonymous’s” for bloggers who cherish transparency while at the same time want to put their best face forward. Messed up, right? However, I don’t have bipolar, so those are shoes I must leave for others to describe. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anthony, it is courageous to admit we struggle with any type of mental illness. There are those who will judge us, but many more who will either identify with our struggle or who will encourage our disclosure and our walk with God.

      Thank you so much for saying this here and now, for the transparency, and for allowing others to see you. You are welcome here any time, and I pray God lifts you in love and helps you breathe easy this Christmas. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for writing this superb and very important blog post during the holiday season. With Appreciation, Gayle

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bless you Gayle for all you do as well.

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  3. I do get this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, Susan. I pray He is lifting you up. Much love to you. ❤

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      1. This is the hardest time of the year.

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      2. I will email you later today, my friend.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thank you. I look forward to hear from you.

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  4. Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s important to talk about this topics. Take care!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re very welcome, Paula. Thank you for taking the time to read. I appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I like this post because it brings up a point that has been made very real to me in my Psalms study. David, over and over again, has conversations with God about what he is feeling and what his enemy is doing to him. This really struck me because I know in my prayer life, I usually just bring the problem to God and don’t go into detail about how I feel bout it, and why it is bothering me. I always figure God knows the rest.

    But what God has been impressing upon me is that He wants us to talk to Him just like Dad did in the Psalms. “God where are you now? Have you forgotten me? Can you hear me? I am hurting People are hurting me and saying things behind my back. Could you please have mercy on me? hear my cry, O God?” Something like that.

    I believe God wants us to talk to Him and tell Him exactly how we feel. Does He already know? Yes, He does. But our confession tells Him that we understand our feelings, and God wants to help us know ourselves better! That way, He can work on us better. He is an awesome God!

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    1. This is so true, Pete, and King David is a wonderful example. He was vulnerable with God and declared openly the times he felt depressed, just as he declared the times he felt his great love for God.

      Yet Jesus encourages us to take this one step further and talk with each other when he tells us to love one another. Loving one another is being open and vulnerable, being wholly willing to be ourselves unconditionally without holding back, and at the same time, love each other unconditionally for who we are. It is the enemy who strikes us down and divides us through shame and stigma. It is God=love who dissolves the shame and allows us to see each other through His eyes.

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  6. Thank you for this important post. I share my walk of faith and depression on my blog. I ask us to communally pray for our pastoral community to raise awareness from the pulpit. Depression is a disease and does not need to be hidden! Support is so important in healing along with a professional team and prayer and faith!

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    1. Great point, Rick, about praying for our pastors. Sadly, I shared privately with my pastor and never heard from him again. I was quite disappointed, and felt an incredible lack of support. I join you in that prayer, and pray others will understand these disorders as disease so the shame and stigma will disappear. Thank you for standing up to raise awareness. ❤

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  7. […] via Holidays can be Lonely — Susan Irene Fox […]

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    1. Love you, Vincent.

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  8. what a brave and wonderful post, susan. as always.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks so much for sharing! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome, Steve.

      Liked by 1 person

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