Tuesday, 18 December 2018

It's "Bah-Humbug" time

At this time of year when the vast majority of folk are "Fou tae kitty's bow" with drink, food and bonhomie you possibly wonder about those folks who do not seem to be that bothered or are indeed "Bah-Humbugers"; folk for good reason who hate this time of year. More likely you do not give a shit - given food, drink and bonhomie.

For those with depressive illnesses, the enforced season to be happy takes a massive toll on their coping energy levels, reducing their own abilities to keep the black dog of depression under control. You see, it takes folk with depressive illness a lot of effort and energy to be "normal" at the best of times and when the festive "normal" rises to new levels of enforced happiness, it becomes just too much for many and tips them over the edge into "Bah-Humbug" territory. A territory where being alone is far preferable to being cajoled into being "happy", by folk, in disbelief asking,  "Why can't you just cheer up, it's Christmas?" every half an hour. Worse are those well meaning folk who think a few drams are all you need to sort you out. Sorry, all you well meaning drink pushers, if you are depressed, alcohol makes things far worse, not better.

The coping strategy becomes one of seeking isolation where ever possible just to give you a chance of surviving the "Season to be jolly" with out a full blown collapse. You become selective of those Christmas events either social or familial you attend, carefully planning your escape route for when it gets too much, as on most occasions it will. No one understands your need to become a Christmas introvert, you are called anti-social or worse. Comments which really help you on your way down the slippery slip to a full blown collapse.

I am lucky, my close family understand my need to be alone with a book on Christmas Day and make sure I know I can just bail out when it gets too much. I enjoy seeing my grandchildren opening their presents, I will help build the Lego or whatever toy needs building, I will sit on the floor with them and play Christmas games like "Smelly Wellies" but there comes a point where Granddad needs his space, time on his own to recharge his batteries. Kid's naturally understand this, they need the same space themselves -  it is adults who have forgotten this in their rush to be "happy", for a few short days.

This year I am on my own for Christmas, I do not feel isolated, I will talk to my son and his family in Japan by Skype, probably in a two or three way conversation with my daughter and family in Northern Ireland and my ex-wife in Oban. Then take the dog for a long walk and come home to duck breast and trimmings. Later I will have a small dram of the new malt my ex-wife has sent me, Ailsa Bay, and settle down to a serial watching of Star Wars.

Selfish, you say, most certainly, but also the best way to keep myself in mental balance.

To my fellow "Bah-Humbugers" I send you a big dose of empathy, to the the vast majority, "Season's Greetings" and to all a "Guid an hansome New Year an lang may yer lum reek."

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