I’m not very good at writing these types of posts. Transparency is not my forte. Growing up, my family was never the type of people who wore their hearts on their sleeves. When I became a mother I vowed to be different, but it doesn’t come easy for me.
So, it’s official, the holidays are here. A time where we are supposed to be filled with joy, cheer, warmth of friends and family, and the magic of the season.
And yet, because it’s the holidays, last night I tossed and turned in my bed. I woke up in a cold sweat, I cried, I felt afraid, I would fall asleep for a few minutes only to wake up with more anxiety and fear.
Because this past week, I have been putting together a new training. Not one on marketing, how to build a business, or design a website.
I’ve been updating a training I did 4 years ago on discovering the strength inside of you in order to overcome obstacles, achieve success, and create a meaningful and fulfilling life.
In building this training, I’ve (mentally) had to relive some of the darkest, most depressive times of my life.
I shared stories about how much I HATED the holidays when I was broke and could barely even put food on the table.
Everyone But Me
Everyone was happy.
Everyone was cheerful.
Everyone was joyfully listening to holiday music while baking cookies.
Everyone seemed to love setting up their Elf on a Shelf fiascos for their kids.
Everyone LOVED the shopping, and the parties, and the Hallmark Christmas movies.
I dreaded it, feared it, quite possibly even loathed it.
Outwardly I put on the happiest smile I could muster. I faked happiness for the sake of my children. It was still magical to them and I wanted them to have wonderful childhood memories.
On the inside, I was the Grinch:
“But, whatever the reason, his heart or his shoes,
he stood there on Christmas Eve hating the Whos.
Staring down from his cave, with a sour grinchy frown,
at the warm, lighted windows below in their town.
For he knew that every Who down in Whoville beneath
was busy now, hanging a holly who wreath. ”
One Christmas, I had just $40 to my name. On December 27th (the day before my birthday) my best friend, my fur-baby, my golden retriever who had stood by my side and loved me even when I couldn’t find a single thing to love about myself….passed away.
I held her body for hours after she passed as I sobbed into her golden fur.
There was no one to help me, no place to bury her.
I drove her body to the nearest veterinarian to have her cremated. He charged me $36.
I went home alone, without my best friend, with $4 to my name….and with just a few hours left before my birthday, I wrote a suicide note.
I could never go through with it. The only reason I am living today is because I couldn’t stand the thought of my children hating me for the rest of their lives because I took my own life.
But I prayed for death. I begged for it. I pleaded with God to let me die somehow someway that wasn’t my fault. I wanted to be done with this life in a way that my kids and my family couldn’t be angry with me.
Fast Forward To Today
Fast forward 6 years and here I am today, at a much different place in my life, still reliving those holiday horrors in my nightmares.
I felt compelled to write today for two reasons:
#1 FACEBOOK LIVE
Statistics show that about 40% of the population experiences some sort of depression during the holidays. In addition, suicide rates drastically increase around this time of year as well.
If you don’t feel as ‘holly and jolly’ as you think you should this time of year…..let go of the guilt. Most people don’t feel as cheery as their Instagram feed portrays them to be.
This topic is so important, I’ve decided I am going to be doing a Facebook Live session about steps you can take to help with holiday blues, on Thursday, November 30th at 1pm EST. (You can join here.)
#2 YOU MAY WANT TO UNFOLLOW ME
I am going to be releasing the new training this week. I will be completely honest…some of you will be immediately turned off just by the title. There will be several of you who will unsubscribe.
But it’s okay. Through much contemplation, living life, and building up thicker skin, I’ve finally come to terms with that.
This training is incredibly important. More important than training on how to build your email lists or run a Facebook ad.
It changed so many lives four years ago and this time around I’m really pulling back the curtain on my own life, struggles, and obstacles.
Again, transparency isn’t easy for me, but I know the more candid I am, the more lives that are changed.
I will be releasing the training information within the next few days. In the meantime, if you struggle with being cheery through the holidays, join us on Thursday.
If you know of anyone who battles depression pay extra close attention to them this time of year. They don’t need you to call everyday, but inviting them out for a 30 minute walk a few times a week would be a wonderful holiday gift.
Much love and gratitude to all of you,
P.S. Just sharing this story has helped me to feel better this morning. Thank you for taking the time to read it.
P.P.S. If this post had any impact on you, please pay it forward by leaving your thoughts, comments, stories below. You never know how you might impact someone else’s life.
Thank you for sharing this! I suffer every year...thinking I should be able to provide more, give more.. be more. I love the lights and Christmas trees but hate the way everyone's lives seem so bright and cheery and I have to grit my teeth and ride it out. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I hope none of us has to feel so alone again, this year or in coming ones.
It’s that pursuit of perfection, isn’t it? We have a vision in our heads of what the holiday season ‘should’ look like. When we can’t live up to it we feel like failures. Thank you for sharing. (I love the lights too) 🙂
I hear you. You're pain was real, your hopelessness was real, and I do understand what you went through. I too recall as a single mom having $10.00 dollars to spend for Christmas. I don't know what I was waiting for, maybe a miracle, but it was Christmas Eve day when I took that $10.00 and went to the Goodwill and bought gifts for my sons. I felt so bad for them. Sometimes I see other families who look to be struggling and it just hurts, because I know it's not easy. I know all about that.
The thing is, my son Chad who was a very loving, caring young man, who gave so much, took his life on October 14, 2014. I try very hard not to the be Grinch on holidays, and I do put on a good face. But honestly, Christmas will never truly be a happy time for me again, no matter how many faces I put in. The only thing that would turn it around is if Chad would come back. But that can't happen, even as much as I've dreamed and hoped it would.
Thanksgiving day, one of my daughter in-laws had a beautiful dinner for family. As much as I appreciated her efforts, there wasn't one minute that I wasn't thinking about Chad and what happened to him. After two hours of putting my all into visiting normally, every voice and every sound seem to come at me in a tornado-like fashion blasting everything into my ears. It took me about a minute to say my goodbyes and slip out the door.
I'm not a Grinch at heart, and I'm thankful for what I have and I do laugh with my children and grandchildren, but, reality can't be changed. My heart is completely broken. God made us so that love our children in a different way than we do others, and that's the price we pay; nothing can take the place of my son. Saying that, I have never blamed God, and I continue to pray not only for myself, but for all the other mothers, and fathers know this pain. Just a very small Christmas dinner sounds inviting.