Holiday Depression

Holidays (mostly Christmas) can be very depressing for someone with a chronic illness, especially if they do not have a significant other. It could be that that person is not able to partake in festivities due to how shitty they feel. Another reason may be because they are on disability income and cannot afford gifts for the important people in their lives. Yes, it’s not about gifts, but it’s about being with family and friends. However it’s hard to keep that thought as everyone around you are opening gifts. And TV sure as hell doesn’t help. Every other commercial is about gifts, and what you are getting your loved one. Because more than ever, you want to be watching the surprise and happiness on their face when they open the gift from you.
These last few weeks I have been in a downward spiral with my depression. I am trying things and skills I learned in therapy to try and get back in the right mindset but nothing is working. I feel completely alone and lonely. It’s been a long time since I have cried this much. A factor that doesn’t help is I feel my close friends have not been there for me during this difficult time. A support group/circle is very critical to someone with a chronic illness (even for a normal person). Bless my mom for her support and putting up with my depressing texts, I would be worse off if she were not in my life. I have thought about contacting my therapist but I keep telling myself that I will soon feel better and back to my old self (and actually believe it) so there is no need to. But that hasn’t really been working either…
This is where my therapy skills that I learned kicks in: The negative thoughts (I thought about putting “voices,” then decided against it haha) are saying that my friends don’t care about me (I have voiced my opinion to them that holidays are depressing but they haven’t bothered to check on me.). But my therapy skills say, ‘let’s list reasons why they are unavailable and then choose a more realistic reason why they aren’t there for me: Do they have kids? A job? Significant other? Health problems? So every time I think a negative thought, I counteract it with a positive or realistic thought. But it’s not sticking. ūüė¶ And I realize that everyone has a life so they will be busy and that’s why I don’t hear from them. But my depression makes me focus on only ME and nothing else. Why things aren’t working out for ME. Me, me, me. I’m not dismissing that depression is fake, it is very much real. When I find out my friends are not happy or sick, I try to contact them right away to see if things are okay. But I feel that they don’t do it in return. Don’t I deserve to feel loved? ūüė¶

Cuddles

My bulldog, Storm,¬†does not cuddle. Only when¬†it’s on her terms¬†or when she is sleeping under my warm covers¬†(which is rare, because¬†if she¬†under them¬†she is down keeping my feet toasty). Lately¬†it¬†seems that¬†I have¬†a new dog.¬†Storm has been nothing but cuddly. When¬†we are on the couch, she has been laying next to me, taking moments to¬†gaze up¬†at me.

cuddles

Awhile ago¬†she slept under the covers and when I woke up, I saw¬†her laying next to my upper body. I seized the moment and wrapped my arms around her and she didn’t even try to move. I tried to stay awake to enjoy the moment but soon fell asleep.

On Monday I started to¬†have my cringing migraines. I didn’t leave my bed much that day and Storm stayed with me the whole time. I woke up from one of my naps to find her under my covers, right up next to me, pretty much ON me. I’m guessing she could tell something was wrong with me and bless her for that.

That night/Tues early morning I was awake as my pain pills had not kicked in. I laid there debating in my head if I should wake up my boyfriend so he could take me¬†to the ER. He wakes up at 3 AM for his work so I really didn’t want to go that route. I decided to try a couple skills I learned in therapy for distress tolerance. I laid in bed making myself smile while working on my breathing. It didn’t seem to work (hmmm.. now looking back on it, maybe I just didn’t use the skills long enough for them to work?) so I decided to just deal with it and accept that I would have to lay there in pain until I fell asleep.

As I was laying there, I began to pet Storm and¬†was so thankful she was my companion animal. With it being in the middle of night and everyone sleeping, I felt completely alone. I couldn’t hold a conversation but I just wanted someone THERE. Storm took care of that. Having a companion animal is no joke and should be taken seriously.