Ho, Ho, How the Heck Am I Doing This Holiday?

Last Updated: 20 Oct 2020

As the gifts come in, I play elf and wrap; it helps hush my anxiety. Action is the enemy of anxiety.

Photo: Getty Images/ nicoletaionescu


Every year I am pretty organized for Christmas, but this year has been a scramble. I do not like this feeling. Spending time in overdrive and ordering online has me frazzled trying to get caught up. (Sorry, I’m not “shopping local”.) I apologize, dear readers, if I’m cranky; please forgive me. I am just breaking through this depression.

I’m coming out of the worst major depressive episode since 2004.

You know how this goes, right? Luckily, completing tasks–this post being the first major one–is getting better though the thought of writing a blog last week was overwhelming.

I know what to do in times like these. I accept help and get to my psychiatrist and to my psychologist immediately.  I have set up weekly appointments with both of them, and I will continue to go through December until I feel okay. In times of crisis, I’ve got to step it up a notch.

I don’t know about you, but every year I feel financially inadequate and wonder how long I can handle being ‘the broke author’.  I feel it especially at Christmas when I’m giving gifts. (Do you go through this?)  I know it’s not about the gifts, but my pride gets in the way. Plus, I can’t let my niece and nephews down. I’m sure if I gave my parents straw they would thank me, hug and kiss me. Little kids though, they want something to tear open and play with.

I feel stressed, and I don’t know about you, but all of this disorganization is creating quite a bit of anxiety.  I am making list after list every day on what I ordered, from where and for whom. This delivery stuff is causing me some nervousness. (Perhaps next year I should shop local!)

As the gifts come in, I play elf and wrap; it helps hush my anxiety. Action is the enemy of anxiety.

Here are some of the things we can do to keep our sanity during the holiday season:

  • Breathe and close your eyes for a mini-break anywhere, any time.
  • Use soothing smells (men, you too). How about a second spray of perfume or cologne after work or try lavender oil at night.
  • To minimize stress, shop early. (Guilty as charged!)
  • Wrap as you buy, so it is less overwhelming.
  • Can’t think of ‘the perfect gift’? That’s okay. Why not donate to a cause in their name—a wildlife organization for that animal lover friend of yours. Or how about giving to a non-profit children’s hospital for the child advocate in your life.
  • Keep on top of your moods and your medications. With all the hubbub of the holidays, they can both fall by the wayside; just the other day I nearly missed one of my morning medications. Worse yet, I hadn’t even noticed right away. Yikes!
  • Listen to those around you when they say your mood is off. Oftentimes they pick up on our moods before we do. Believe them,
  • Check and re-check your pill trays. (Keep an eye on your refills, too.)
  • Don’t forget to make and keep mental health appointments. I set two alarms to make sure I get out of the door on time—one hour before and one half hour before each appointment.
  • If you are having a tough time, feel overwhelmed, anxious, depressed or manic, tell someone. Give them a task or two to lighten your load; that’s what friends are for.
  • Special events can put us in system overload. While at social gatherings bring your own car, so you can leave it if becomes too overwhelming. My Uncle Rick called this “the getaway car”. I still use this strategy. I am usually the last one to arrive and first one to leave.
  • Don’t beat yourself; do what you have to in order to get you through this holiday season.

I am looking forward to family, good food and December 26th.  How about you?








About the author
Wendy Williamson had her first manic episode while studying at Virginia Tech, eight weeks before graduation. It was then she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder type I. After being downsized from corporate America, Wendy wrote her memoir of honesty and hope entitled I’m Not Crazy Just Bipolar. She co-wrote her second book: Two Bipolar Chicks Guide to Survival: Tips for Living With Bipolar Disorder with author Honora Rose. Wendy writes for BPHope.com and The The Huffington Post. She has written for: BP Magazine, Bipolar Disorder for Dummies: 2nd Edition and The Two River Times. Her book has been reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly and National Alliance on Mental Illness’ The Advocate. Wendy is the founder of The Red Bank Writers Group and has been interviewed on over forty radio stations worldwide. Catch up with Wendy on Twitter and at her website.
  1. Great holiday reminders!!!

    I’m sorry it has been so rough – of course I can relate to all of this post.
    Hoping you have a good week, Wendy!

  2. I know EXACTLY what you mean! I don’t have $$ to spend so I make things for gifts (I draw and do woodburnings) and I bake a ton of treats to give as gifts too. I plan everything out in detail day to day and I think it makes me more stressed sometimes but if I don’t, I feel like I’m forgetting things and I DO forget too much.

    I feel like I’ve got twice as much stuff to deal with and I’m not even in the mood. Kind of like nothing I can afford will be appreciated so why bother, but I do it anyway.

    1. The holidays are so stressful, aren’t they? I am relieved they are over. They fill me with anxiety, is this enough, will they be disappointed, on and on. Baking is tough since it has to be done at the last moment, but it is so much better than buying anything. All the planning and last minute details really do make me feel grateful for Dec. 26th. The gifts we buy are mostly appreciated, I feel, the first few seconds (*esp. kids) that they take to open. It makes me not want to buy anything and the pressure on a tight budget is enough to drive someone to the brink.
      I remember one piece of pottery I made for my niece with her name on it; it took me hours and hours to make, paint, re-fire, etc.in my pottery class. To this day, no matter what I buy, no matter how they remodel or change what’s on their shelf, she insists no one in the family touch or move the bowl I made for her. It remains front and center where it always has. That reminds me nothing replaces what we make from the heart, not even expensive gifts.
      This is why gifts we make are the most important. They will always keep them and appreciate them far more than anything else. Keep baking, it trumps anything someone can buy. Keep creating, nothing bought can replace the love and time we put in to making something with our loved ones in mind. Thank you for sharing, kgbb! Wordburnings sound cool, btw! Wow!

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