I know — thinking of Christmas??? My family just booked a vacation to Mexico for Christmas break. Just me my husband and kids. No parents, in-laws, or any other family. We will spend Christmas morning on a beach. We have never done this and I am looking forward to the heat and break, and seeing the palm trees. The last time I saw palm trees was 18 years ago. So needless to say that I am looking forward to it.
A friend said to me “well you are going to miss the celebration of the birth of Jesus” I said “ya but its something that everyone wants to do sometime take off for Christmas.” Then the friend said ” True, but then again you were in a bad place last year you didn’t enjoy any of Christmas.”
I thought about last year, the breakdown I had, the deep depression I was in, the endless tears, fears, the darkness that surrounded me. I hated Christmas last year. Hate is a strong word but I was confused, I was scared, I truly thought I was going crazy. When I sat in church and listened to the bible verses being read, it was like the they spoke another language. I could not understand what they were saying. On our Nativity night at the church where we dressed up as wise men etc. for the neighbourhood and sang christmas carols and read about the birth of Jesus, I was so angry that night. To hear the elder read, made me want to put my hands over my ears and scream “Stop Stop, enough”. I didn’t want to hear the good news of Jesus’ birth. The lie had me convinced that I couldn’t believe it, and don’t listen to it. That was last year. This year when I had the discussion about my coming trip, I thought about Christmas Eve, how we would miss the evening candle light service; my favorite, and all the things we usually did to make Christmas special at home. Then it hit me. When we booked the trip and everything was said and done. I was so relieved. That was the feeling I felt. Not excitement, not “what an adventure”, I just felt relieved, like someone had taken a burden off my shoulders. In my meditations this week it came to me; Your running! From what? From last year. Last Christmas.
Running, I was in a lot of pain last year. I suffered from panic attacks, deep depression, and paranoia. I was being shadowed by darkness, in a way I had never experienced before, and it scared the crap out of me. This trip is going to take me away from all the usual events we do every year at Christmas. Christmas Eve service and party at the neighbours. Christmas day presents breakfast and coffee with kids and dinner with family. Boxing day with the other side of the family. December 27th is pajama day, no one gets dressed and lays around all day. This year I was to host my side of the family Christmas and my in-laws on Boxing day. Both events last year were very hard last year, I was so sad, and they thought I was being snobby. They never figured that I was suffering from anything and I was too embarrassed to say anything.
So now what? What do I think of this revelation? I think its right. I am running. I can’t face the families, the services, the parties, the events that I couldn’t handle last year. What am I afraid of? I am better these days for the most part. I have been feeling sad and lonely this week but nothing like before and I can talk myself out of it for the most part. Being around a lot of people sometimes makes me anxious, but I am trying and sometimes I take my anxiety meds. or if I can, walk away and take a breather for a minute or two I can handle it. Panic attacks are gone for the most part, the darkness seems to be leaving more and more. Today it seemed closer but it’s still along way off. I feel God is near me and I trust him completely to look after me. I don’t feel crazy anymore. I have adjusted to this illness and not so embarrassed anymore. Does any of my extended family know-No but I will deal with that another time. There are people you can tell you are going through depression, and there are people who don’t understand it at all, that is my extended family. So ya I guess I am running. I can’t face Christmas in Canada yet. I can’t face family and Christmas church events yet. The pain and brokeness from last year is too fresh. I have come along way baby ( sorry couldn’t resist the line) but in some ways I feel I haven’t come far enough.
So this year I will try to have some Christmas traditions in Mexico. I am sure we can create some new ones and maybe we can find a church service on Christmas morning. I think it maybe a time of healing and maybe next year I can cope better.
All with Gods help cause truly I can do nothing by myself. Through God there is healing. Through God there is hope. Through God there is life.