Hi everyone! I hope you all made it through the holidays and are starting to get back into your routines. The 2017 holiday season is finally over and I feel like I can finally take a deep breath and start finding myself in the rubble. I’m not going to lie, 2017 was rough and I’m glad to be done with it. I am a bit annoyed with myself that I seem to be saying that every year. Surely there were good things too, I just tend to remember the embarrassing public anxiety attacks and family fights trying to convince them that I am not magically cured of my depression and anxiety.
The last few years have been really dark. I’m haunted by thoughts of suicide on a daily basis and cut more scars into my body than I can count. I’ve fought hard to live when it seemed like every cell in my body was begging to die. The loneliness of the holidays made that all rapidly boil to the surface. The commercials, movies, and honestly every holiday display they have is centered on getting back and spending time with family. I felt like an outsider in my family for most of my life, and this year was especially terrible.
On Christmas Eve, my younger sister and I have always had a sleepover. We stay up late, eat junk food, and watch Christmas movies. Sometimes we even play video games. Last year was kind of boring because she suddenly go sick, but we still spent time together. When we were little, we would sneak downstairs and check out the items in our stockings and make sure Santa got the cookies. I remember setting my alarm for the middle of the night so we could make sure we would wake up when our parents were in bed. We would set another one for midnight so we could sing happy birthday to Jesus and be the first to say Merry Christmas to each other. We’ve been doing this sleepover since my sister was old enough to sleep in a bed with me.
This year, we made plans to do that again. We have our own place now, so it was mostly just supposed to be Christmas movies and exchanging gifts for each other before we went to our mother’s house in the morning. It was all downhill from there. My sister suddenly decided that she didn’t want to be in the living room with me. She stayed in her room, watching Youtube videos and texting her boy friend. We didn’t exchange presents because she apparently needed another shade of nude lipstick from one of the Youtube people and didn’t buy me a present. Meanwhile, I had had hers for over a month and had been planning for it since she mentioned it in October. I spent most of Christmas Eve crying. I wasn’t prepared to grieve the loss of our final Christmas tradition. It hurt so much more than I could describe. I just wanted to die so I could escape the worthlessness I felt at the rejection of the one person in the world I thought would never hurt me like that. I even tried to reach out to the suicide hotline and after 2 hours, I gave up trying to get through. It just made the rejection that much stronger.
Christmas day was even worse. After a 2.5 hour drive through a blizzard to get to my mother’s home, I arrived to a new round of criticism. My road rage filled sister had been less than pleasant on the way there and nothing I did calmed her anger at the snow. After only an hour of being at my mother’s, my sister and mother proceeded to argue over who had to take me home. My sister was planning on staying at her boyfriend’s house that afternoon even though he wasn’t going to be there until almost 9 that night. My mom was sore from radiation and had thought she pulled a muscle getting off the table (turns out it was a broken bone). After arguing over which person had the misfortune of taking me home, my step dad said that he would. Later on, I tried to tell my mother that I was upset about that, and somehow it came around to my poor housekeeping skills. I don’t know how to talk to her at this point. I shouldn’t have to apologize for my mental illness! It takes so much energy to do little things like feed myself and brush my teeth. When you are struggling to exist, vacuuming is not a priority. The icing on the cake of that miserable day was that the show I eventually put on in the living room in hopes of my sister joining me, was the same freaking show she ended up watching in her room. I am proud to say I only ended up crying in the bathroom 3 times during Christmas breakfast. When I finally made it back to the empty apartment, I spent the night crying until midnight and finally went to sleep.
New Years Eve was about the same. My sister had just got back from a family trip to my grandparents house down south (that I had to help them rent a car for but didn’t get invited to) and texted me to let me know she wouldn’t be home because she was going to a family party that I wasn’t invited to. My depression was just overwhelming at that point. I spent a few hours not sure if I wanted to even be alive for 2018. Most of my friends were at their own parties. It just reinforced to me how truly alone I am.
After calming down over the last few days, I’ve decided that I need to make more of an effort to stand up for myself to my family. I’m glad to be alive for 2018. I hope that despite the past few weeks, 2018 will be okay, maybe even good. I think part of the reason I was so upset was that I finally saw myself as worthy to be part of something and then was incredibly excluded. I want to be hopeful about the coming year, but realistically, bad things are probably going to happen, I’m going to have tough moments and breakdowns, and I’m sure I will still have family problems. Despite all of that, I think there is a reason I’ve stayed alive this long. A tiny part of me knows that somewhere in me is the potential to help people with my life and I’m finally letting that part have space in my life.
Sometimes it’s really hard to keep on living. I think I’m up for the challenge.