I’m alone on Christmas. It’s not easy. I have a biological family that I live with; we’ve never been affectionate, my family of friends are where I get my true love from. This year is different because my decline in mental health has driven everyone away. The friends that are still around are at distance, or estranged rather while I get better; while I work on our relationships for all of us.
This year the holidays are estranged and unaffectionate as well, no different than anyone else in my life at the moment. What’s supposed to feel warm and loving is replaced with a cold numbness. I didn’t receive any phone calls like I watched my grandma get. I got a couple brief text messages from the above-mentioned “working relationship” friends. Nothing substantial enough to make me feel loved on Christmas day. I didn’t get any visitors. There really was no one to talk to, I almost feel forgotten about. The world has moved on without me.
How does one get through supposed festive days like this when they’re feeling so down? My honest answer: Do their best to get through the day. It’s not Christmas for me today; it’s Monday, at least that’s how I have to view it in order to stay afloat. My start to the day was slow, I didn’t remove the weight to get out of bed until around 2pm. From there I forced myself to go outside and ride with my father and Sheltie, Daisy, to my grandmas house. The goal was to achieve the small step of getting out of the house. Done.
After a quiet but okay visit, I had enough momentum to do something I haven’t done in months: cook a full meal. I cooked enough salmon and chicken to last me the next couple days. I chopped onions and made time for garlic to cook black beans, and I made mashed sweet potatoes. I had no pepper so we’ll ignore the sweet potatoes.
While I was cooking I thought about how depression can distort a person’s ability to see their own gratitude. I asked for no gifts, and I received. I feel very alone, but technically I’m not; I live in a house (another gracious point, I have a free roof over my head) with my family. They love me in their own way that just doesn’t register with what I need. Although estranged, I have a few best friends that understand that I am going through a lot, yet they’re not driven away.
Today I was supposed to enjoy the nature of creativity by doing something. Maybe that was getting in the kitchen and cooking like I used to, maybe it was writing this essay. I don’t really know, that draft wasn’t my primary focus today. Stopping myself from self-destruction is a bit higher on my priority list than remembering to check today’s writing draft, although they’re meant to help.
I did enjoy being in the kitchen again. Maybe because I finally figured out that I can sit in a chair to cook and not have to stand. But just like that, Christmas came and went, and I’m still here. Still fighting loneliness, still walking up the dark mountain from the bottom, but I’m still here.