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Christmas Blues

Christmas. This shitty season. Family. Shit. Every year, Christmas in me triggers a depression, and this year the Christmas depression comes on strong. I usually try to escape, visit friends, and better yet escape to a country without Christmas (i.e., a non-Christian country). This year I haven't done that. Shit.

Christmas. Family time. A time that reminds me of my childhood, and I have few pleasant memories. Loneliness. Sadness. Emotional abandonment. Lack of empathy. Lack of understanding. Pretension of happiness. In short: shit. A shit that I have locked up for a long time, but which I have let out since a number of years, as it has not been very healthy for me to lock up all my past, all my childhood, and throw away the keys. It was leaking all over the place (there wasn't a lock efficient enough), and it caused me more problems than it gave me peace of mind. So, after my major breakdown three years ago, I'm now letting this shit out, connecting with my childhood sadness and loneliness. However, the "tranquillity" of Christmas and the importance of the family in the daily life of Seville during this season makes me fall into a stronger depression.

But this depression does not only have its origin in the past. It also has it in the present. Have we really managed to build other communities, other caring networks? During Christmas I feel that for almost everyone the family (traditional, heteronormative, "of blood") is still the most important thing. Sometimes happily, often out of a sense of "duty" or responsibility. These other communities and networks that we talk about so much seem to disappear during Christmas, leaving me - those of us who do not have or do not want this family of blood - without our community, without our emotional networks. And loneliness returns. Shit.

And it makes me doubt our communities and our networks of affection. Are they real? That's the doubt that comes to me. I'm aware that this has a lot to do with my life, with my childhood. I find it hard to trust. Above all, it is difficult for me to trust in affection, as I lived something else, where affection was more of a pretension, or perhaps it was real, but it was an affection without understanding, without empathy (if this is possible). The mother's love for her son as she wants to imagine him, and not as he was, with his unfulfilled wishes and needs. Can this love be called love or affection? It has strangled me, locked me up, or rather, it has made me lock myself up to defend myself, to survive, to disconnect from myself and my emotions, to lock myself up in a huge loneliness. So I find it hard to trust our emotional networks when they disappear temporarily, like during Christmas. In my head I know they are there, I know they are there especially when I need them, but emotionally I find it hard to trust them. Another piece of shit that contributes to my depression.

I know that this depression will pass, probably after The Three Kings (Two weeks! In Spain Christmas is too long!), when life returns to its "normal" rhythm. Meanwhile, I have to live with my depression, with my sadness, with my loneliness, with my Christmas blues. This year, I still don't know how I will do it, as the depression is touching me more strongly. I feel on the verge of crying, but at the same time I can't - I'm blocking myself, and I still don't know what's behind this emotional block. I know, from experience, that crying can be a release, but at the same time crying can open some doors that, perhaps, I am not yet willing to open.

I am a little afraid of loneliness during Christmas. I am a little afraid of entering into a vicious circle downwards (I feel that I am already in this circle), towards another 'breakdown', like in the summer three years ago. I'm a little afraid that this time the Christmas blues won't pass, but that it could be the beginning of a deeper depression. I hope I'm wrong. I hope it is just this - a brief depression, a reconnection with my unpleasant childhood that in itself is not bad, and that the depression will pass. And I know, if not, that I can rely on the support of my emotional networks to overcome any depression or breakdown. And I know I have nothing else left: I'm going to live out my Christmas blues.

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Article | by Dr. Radut