Many of us dread the holidays. There are meals to plan, family get-togethers, gifts to buy, unexpected bills, and even stressful jobs. We often become so overwhelmed with all the stuff in our lives that we forget the holidays are supposed to be a joyous time. For many who have mental illness, the holidays can trigger depression and anxiety. It’s hard to be happy when darkness fills your soul. A person with mental illness can feel alone and sad even though he or she is surrounded by family. Some totally avoid the holidays.
Throughout much of my childhood, I found the holidays very depressing. Kids at school got me trick gifts, and no matter how hard I tried, nothing could shine the light on my dark soul. It took me many years till I could find the joy in the holidays, but I sometimes still dip into darkness. Being a cashier during the holidays challenges my mental health. Customers are grumpier, lines are long and endless, turkeys and hams are very heavy, and I just want to scream.
The other day the lines stretched down into the aisles and customers were in a rush. My break came over an hour late. My emotions were overflowing. I wanted to scream and cry. My anxiety caused me to dry heave. I kept thinking about how much I hate the holidays. I just wanted Thanksgiving to be over with. I didn’t care if I celebrated or not. I forgot the reason for the holidays and I didn’t care.
My husband came for my break and had to wait a long time. I told him to just go home, but he refused. He was determined to wait till I got my break and I’m glad he did. When I finally got my break, I was able to let some tears fall and my husband was there to comfort me. He reminded me what the holidays are about.
I am thankful to have a job when so many are losing theirs. I am thankful to have a husband who will wait over an hour just to spend a fifteen minute break with me. I am thankful that I soon will be spending Thanksgiving Day at the nursing home with my grandma. I am thankful my brother and his family will be home for Christmas. I am thankful for all the love and support I have in my life.
I have to work Tuesday before I’m off on Wednesday and Thanksgiving Day. Two more days of craziness. Will I be able to stay in the light? With my mind focused on what I am thankful for, I will face each day with a bright light shining in my soul. Then once I make it through the Thanksgiving madness, I will be ready to face the Christmas rush. I just need to focus on the good stuff in my life and fight the darkness.
The holidays are about family, love, and Jesus. The stress will make things challenging, but God will carry me through. I’m ready for all the holiday stresses because I am strong with the Heavenly Father guiding me.
This Thanksgiving and Christmas, don’t dwell on the darkness and the stresses of the holidays. Look at the good things you do have in your life and list them. Don’t hide from family and friends. Turn to the love of others to carry you through and turn to God to guide you. There is a light waiting to glimmer in your soul let it shine. Let Jesus glow within your soul.
Despite the trials of the holidays, I will focus on the positive and allow God to lead me through. This holiday season I dance within the light of all God has given me and the love of his only son.