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Trying to Mask Depression

Well, everyone, with Christmas morning less than twenty-four hours away, we’re quickly approaching the peak of the holiday season. And as they all say, “Tis the season to be jolly. Fa lala lala la…la…la…….la…”

He let his head and shoulders drop with a long sigh.

Other get depressed because Christmas appears to be a trigger to engage in excessive self-reflection and rumination about the inadequacies of life (and a “victim” mentality) in comparison with other people who seem to have more and do more.

-Psychology Today

christmas depression

It’s not that I don’t like this time of the year. Quite the opposite, actually. I love it. Has to be my favorite. But it always seems to bring a bittersweet kind of feeling. On one side, this beautiful holiday reminds us of the importance of family, friends, spirit, and just being together. On the other side, for me, it’s just a constant reminder of something I myself can’t quite seem to grasp like so many others: Joy. Yes, joy–the heart and soul of this here holiday season.

Throughout the year, I spend the majority of my days and nights in a state of neutrality–not good, not bad. I don’t feel like I’m living or dying. I feel dead. Occasionally I’ll have my brief moments of what I think happiness may feel like. More often though, I’ll have my dips into a deep-seated feeling of melancholy. During this time of the year, that low feeling is always made a bit more prominent when I look around and feel like I’m missing a puzzle piece. Obviously, I’d rather not feel that way. I’d like to feel like everyone else. I’d like to feel the missing puzzle piece that is joy and be able to feel whole.

Sadly, that puzzle piece continues to elude me–but that doesn’t mean I won’t still try.

So, what do I do? I fake it. Day after day, night after night, I pretend to feel something I don’t, in hopes that maybe one day I’ll feel it for real.

And I know I’m not the only one out there feeling this way. I know there are others feeling this way at this exact moment. Which leads me to this blog post. I’d like to try and help. Whether it be by helping you to feel less alone or by offering some perspective and useful advice. Consider this my depressing-yet-hopefully-uplifting Christmas present to all of you 🙂

The Feeling.

“I’m paralyzed. Where are my feelings? I no longer feel things I know I should. Where is the real me? I’m lost and it kills me inside.”

-NF, Paralyzed

“You should smile more. I miss the old Jordan; where is he? What’s wrong with you? Are you all right? You should talk more. Be happy–it’s the holidays!”

Yeah.

We’ve all felt like victims of this crap. Depressed or not. And, as much as we may want to, we can’t always find it within us to reciprocate and give people what they want. Why in the hell would I go out when that’s all I hear?

Christmas just doesn’t feel like Christmas anymore. I suppose that happens as we grow and mature, but year after year, it seems the lights stop shining as bright and everything just gets darker and darker. Holiday trips are no longer as exciting, spending time with family isn’t as fulfilling, and that Christmas spirit seems to be buried 6 feet deep somewhere.

The Mask.

“Humans fake a lot of human interactions, but I feel like I fake them all, and I fake them very well.”

-Dexter

Honestly, the only time I can really feel even the slightest hint of that holiday cheer I once thrived on as a kid, is when I’m alone in my apartment, staring at my own Christmas lights and playing Christmas tunes. By myself. Being out, being in public, all I see are things I know I should be feeling but can’t. But I can’t hideaway forever. In those instances, I stare into the mirror before I leave, and paint on a mask.

It gets heavy though, that mask. Heavier and heavier. When you go to the gym, you really have to do the same exercise repeatedly before you start getting tired, right? Why is it that every time I go to lend a fake smile to a passing stranger, it feels like I’m already a thousand fake smiles into it on just my first one? Sometimes it’s just so hard, and so exhausting, trying to curl my lips into what I think a happy face should look like.

But I still do it. I still lift my tied-down arms and wave. I still force out the words “Hi, how are you? I’m good, thanks for asking.” And it feels like sickness in my mouth. A bitter taste of bile I’ve just regurgitated.

So tiring. So, so exhausting. But still, the show must go on.

“I’m empty. But I found a way to make it feel less bottomless: Pretend. You pretend the feelings are there, for the world, for the people around you. Who knows? Maybe one day they will be.”

You’re not alone.

Merry Christmas everyone! Make the most of it. Thanks for reading.

-Jordan

 

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5 thoughts on “Trying to Mask Depression”

  1. Thanks for writing.

    “It’s the holidays, be happy!” Is probably the worst thing to hear. Actually, anything like “it’s the holidays, you’re supposed to _____________”

    Holidays are weird, because there IS an expectation that it’s supposed to affect your inner world in a certain way. That we are supposed to be happy and grateful and whatever else haha

    This holiday season is looking extremelyyyyyy different for me, but so far it’s been a comforting lonely mellow.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The expectations suck. You don’t meet them and you suddenly feel like you’re doing something wrong.
      It sounds like a miserable time, but sometimes being alone for the holidays can be better than the alternative. When you’re able to just do things your own way and not feel so pressured. But yeah, I agree. It does feel different. Wonder what next year will feel like.
      Thanks for commenting! Take care 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Seriously! Hahah well this year, staying home with my cat and getting some quiet time seemed better then spending it with either a grumpy/liberated post-divorce parent haha

        I hope things go surprisingly pleasant for you 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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