Holiday Blues – Grief and Anxiety during Christmastime

(yes, I’m writing, yes, I know I wasn’t sure I would and I might not keep it up. It will be whatever it is. How’s that for non-committal hogwash? If you’re sticking with me, thank you. If you’re not, you’re not reading this sentence anyway).

The last couple weeks have been hard for me. Really, really hard.

It’s what I call “can’t unload the dishwasher” level. You know, where you sit on the couch and look at the dishwasher and know it needs to be unloaded but for the life of you can’t get the energy required to do the chore?

I’ve had that burning feeling behind my eyes, like I could burst into tears at any moment, for any reason.

I walked into my therapist’s office and she told me my body language was “off”. I sobbed the rest of the session.

And although in some ways it feels like just the mild depression I always get, the focus seems to be on the grief from losing people I love. There are SO MANY dead people and I miss them all so very much.

I cried these last couple of weeks for my grandmothers (both of them), my dad, my grandfather (both of them), my mother-in-law, my father-in-law. Maybe it’s because I’ve always been in charge of the gift buying at Christmas and when I went out this year I was made painfully aware of how many of us have left.

And even though they’ve all been gone for years, I still saw things that they would love, and had to stop myself from buying a gift for a person who’s human body has been gone from this earth for long enough that their buried bodies don’t even look like bodies anymore. I’m sorry if that’s not delicate enough for you. But the skin and bones were never anything but a suitcase for their souls, and I do feel very confident that those still exist.

And actually, they’re still here, of course. They are in my heart, they are in my mind, and in most cases they are literally in my DNA (not the in-laws, but my sons carry that on). The truth is grief is hard and relentless and doesn’t really end.

Encouraging, yes?

Maybe not. But this part should be encouraging. Just as I knew it would, after lots of tears had been shed, after lots of meals had been missed, the cloud lifted. I felt slightly better. My appetite returned.

And last night I made dinner without feeling I needed to take a nap in the middle.

To all who are sobbing and grieving and can’t eat, or sleep, or unload the dishwasher –this, too, shall pass.

And you are not alone.

10 thoughts on “Holiday Blues – Grief and Anxiety during Christmastime

  1. Stephanie Suire says:

    I am so sorry and I am here to read your words and feel your pain. I am glad you are still using your blog as an outlet for your emotions and for a space to work through how you are feeling. Also, this makes me want to fly to your house in Georgia, cover you up with a blanket on the couch and make you some homemade soup. I’m praying for you and carrying a little bit of your grief with me so I can lighten your load.

    • Running For My Life! says:

      You are a true friend, Stephanie Suire, and I love you so much! I really am so much better today. Off for a run (which is always a good sign:0). But yes, you are welcome in Atlanta any time – to cover me with a blanket or just to hang out and talk. Miss you.

  2. Kara James says:

    I continue to have waves of missing Joy that hit me so hard, it’s like drowning in the ocean. I’m sure it’s better than last year, but it’s still hard. And profound.

    Add to that family dynamics, teenager stuff, trying to learn a new job, be a good wife (mom, daughter, friend, person) and all the holiday stuff, sometimes I just want to curl up in a ball.

    So glad to hear your thoughts and words. ❤️

  3. Bekah Massey says:

    Jen, I appreciate your rawness…more than that…I identify with your rawness. Thank you for being real and unashamed about what you feel …it speaks to my spirit to find someone else who doesn’t clean herself up for public consumption…instead you speak what your heart is saying to you…and for that, I am grateful.

    I’m sorry for all of the loss…it piles up and demands our attention doesn’t it…and the feels suck all of the energy out of us…it really is exhausting. I’m praying that you would be overwhelmed by presence and peace of the Holy Spirit and that he would fill you with joy. I love you lady. You are pretty amazing in my eyes.

  4. Lita Sanford says:

    Jen, I’m so sorry you’re down. Holiday/winter depression is an issue for me, too. I know it’s hard to believe now, but grief does end if you go through it and deal with like you are. You’re doing the hard work now and you’ll come out the other side in tact. You’ll be happy again. F the dishwasher. Watch some comedies or thrillers. Please call if you want to talk. I’ll be home by 7. Love, Lita

    • Running For My Life! says:

      As I said in the post, I am doing much better the last couple days. And I actually do believe that grief lessens, but in it’s own way, I truly believe it’s always with us. Some of my losses are decades old. Thank you for your friendship!!

  5. Jennifer L French says:

    Thank you for sharing your grief and sorrow with us. I’m sorry that you’re depressed at this time of year. But it is nice to know that I’m not the only one that suffers from sadness and depression at this time of year do to the people that I have lost. Hang in there and I wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas.

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