2018 has been a monumental year for me as you may have seen from some of my blog posts. I really didn’t want to be writing another bah-humbug post at the end of the year, but, hey, this is what I exist for these days. I got two Christmas cards this year, one from my equine dental vet, the other from my storage unit – that really set the tone for this year’s festivities.
Let’s clear something up first. I do not suffer from clinical depression, so I don’t want to proclaim any serious mental health issues that aren’t mine. I do suffer, however, from situational depression; depression that is caused by an event or events and struggle to cope during these periods. My situational depression has just happened to have lasted six years thus far, on and off. Right now, it’s on in full swing.
The holidays can be hard for a lot of people, not just me. Very hard. Most people I know scurry off to the relatives house’s or cook their roast dinners, turkeys or nut roasts with family in abundance or their partners by their side, children in tow, parents or grandparents oohing and aahing over the beauty of the decorated tree and the abundance of presents under the tree. Dad or granddad playing Father Christmas for one and all. It’s such a nice scene to think about. One that I enjoyed for many a year, even being Jewish, I was never married to another Jewish person, so we enjoyed both Chanukah and Christmas; it was a great two-fer (a two for one).
As I’ve been on the single scene for a while now, you’d think I’d be used to this by now, but this year was, indeed, different. I’m not in England this year for the second time in over fifteen years; last year was spent in Los Angeles and I was lucky enough to have pneumonia the entire trip but I had my brother and both my children so even THAT was better than this. This year was a year with just my boy, who, at 22, is leaving for London in a couple of weeks as work is hard to come by in his field with no experience. He became a Certified Ethical Hacker this year but has not yet managed to find work – you need experience, but to gain experience, you need a job, and so the cycle just continues. I digress…so he is leaving and my daughter, with her not-so-new serious boyfriend have stayed in the US and my brother, who thought he was retiring in November, used up all his holiday time before then, then changed his mind and decided not to but had no time to travel. So, it was me, the boy and the two kitties; one of which was mildly sick for the last few days so we are vet bound today just to make sure. Bengal cats are the best, but they can have their fair share of issues, yay.
I had a party this year for my new-found friends on the weekend before Christmas. I chalked that up to a success. Everyone came and (I think) they enjoyed themselves, with good food, wine and company. The atmosphere was festive, with the Christmas tree in the hallway, lights low, Michel Buble crooning Christmas music on the stereo and the Christmas candles were wafting through the air. It was a magical night, Christmas crackers and all.
Then they left and my Christmas joy went out the door behind them.
Christmas day, my son cooked me breakfast in bed, scrambled eggs a la Gordon Ramsay, bacon, a bagel and a latte macchiato. Why am I complaining then? Well, that was my Christmas.
We opened the three presents under the tree, mostly courtesy of our guests of Saturday night, and then we watched A Christmas Story©, a staple in the house since the children were small, even before then, I think since it’s release in 1983! But, it was an empty viewing. My son sitting on the chair and on his phone and me on the sofa on my iPad. Nothing else going on. Nobody visiting. No roast dinner. No family. No friends knocking on the door. It was just strange.
I did the laundry. My go to feel good task. It felt good to put the clothes out on the line in shorts. I don’t care if there’s snow on the ground at Christmas or not. I think I once did, but that tradition for me is long, long gone. I really just wanted my family here with me. A purpose to cook a big meal, to talk about years gone by, to see their faces when they opened up their presents or present this year, but to be around love. My son, of course, loves me, but he has the burden of carrying that role all year round. I need a cuddle. I needed my little girl, at 29, not so little anymore, to be laying on the sofa with me and having a cuddle. I needed my brother to drive me absolutely nuts with his dietary concerns (I have dietary issues, he has concerns – what part of the chicken do you have versus what you’ve given me, although now I think he’s more or less a vegetarian, so nut loaf portion size probably would have been the topic).
As I went through the motions of the day; trying to wish friends and family far away a very happy Christmas, it was just hard. I see my life through my own eyes. I see I am alone and with my many health issues, I don’t see that changing anytime in the near or far future. I see my fiscal life in tatters with my settlement coming to a close in two short years and still without a job to keep me afloat. I fussed over the cat hourly, trying to get him to eat, giving him different flavoured cat foods to no avail. I kept the other cat away from the food as she’s the opposite and needs a good diet; another half Bengal, half tabby, she’s a bit tubby, but cuddly, and not unhealthily tubby…yet.
The day came and went, without a call from my family and only one friend rang me.
As the years go by, they find their own way, new partners, new friends, new beginnings and I’m stuck in my festering rut and on Christmas Day it became glaringly evident that this is my life now.
I think of some of my aunts when I was growing up; the ones that lost their significant others when I was very young and so only knew them as singletons and without children but never felt sorry for any of them, for they had us. They had the big family around them always, never alone on a birthday, a holiday or if they needed anything. This is the difference now. We have all lost this. The sense of something that matters. That loyalty to our families, our lost friends that need someone because they don’t have anyone. One aunt was small, she used to sit on someone’s lap in the front seat of my dad’s car whenever we’d go out for dinner somewhere, we would never imagine leaving someone out of our club. The world has changed. Relationships are self-centred and self-absorbed; if you can’t do something for me, then I won’t do something for you. That’s what it feels like anyway.
The political atmosphere on both sides of the big pond are more similar than perhaps we would have liked to admit two years ago. Everyone fights for their own pot of gold, nobody wants to let anyone in anymore. If you’re not part of our clan, then you’re not part of any clan and we don’t want you. My Christmas Day in a nutshell. It’s how the world has changed and how it has trickled down to the individual. I read a lot and I think to myself, how can I change this feeling? How can I not feel so alone all the time? But, the more we divide ourselves in the higher levels, I fear that there is no chance for me on the lowest level.
I guess my Christmas Day alone, or nearly alone, is really just a product of the symptoms that the world is facing or maybe it’s just that my life has gone in a direction I never thought it would. I refer back to the days when I had a husband that I loved, the big Christmas dinner we would have with the family around and the two of us cooking all day and preparing the presents the night before for our son when he woke up in the morning; one year we had so many presents under the tree, there was no room in the room for the furniture! It’s not about the presents! Some of them were nominally priced, but it was about the thought of seeing his face in the morning. It was about giving and not receiving. It was about being together and not being apart. Now everyone wants to just be in their own world; their own country; their own home. That is a gross sweeping of the brush, but it is the majority. I just miss my family. I miss what I had and I miss what I have that I just cannot seem to get anymore; fulfilment from within because outside there is just chaos and fear and self-preservation. Ho Ho Ho. Merry Christmas, Happy Christmas. It’s all the same to me now.
Off to the vets again. Here’s hoping, at least, that one of the two furry beasts that keep me going every day (at least twice a day they need me) is going to be okay. Without them, in a few weeks time, I’ll have less than I do today. The dread of it all…
Situational depression. Next week maybe the situation will change and I’ll write a happy post….look for The Five Reasons I Like Being Single, or maybe it will be ten followed by The Twenty Reasons I Hate Being Single!
Happy New Year. May 2019 bring big changes for me and for the world. We certainly do need it! The hate is rife and it’s going to hurt us all in the end.
Come back soon. There’s always more to come!