Well I wasn’t going to write another post until after Christmas , to be honest I just want the whole sorry saga to be over with. But after talking to my girlfriend who read my last post, and who commented that she felt in her opinion I had been both evasive and flippant about tagging it ‘Christmas ‘ and ‘Depression’ and I have to agree she is right. She thinks it would do me good just to explain myself properly , she’s thinks it will be cathartic for me and again I think she is right on this too! ( She usual is). So I have decided to do another posting on Christmas and depression, no humour , no quips, nothing , this posting is me laid bare.
Now not in a million years did I ever think I would be publicly putting this out there. Now there are about 2 maybe possibly 3 people in the world who know this part of me and reason’s why I suppose I grew into the adult I am, one person being my mother and the second my girlfriend.
Another reason why I am doing this is that maybe there is a small chance that someone reading this can relate to it and realise they are not alone and that my story is not unusual and maybe they won’t end up damaging themselves . I am living proof of the damage that can happen. But I am also proof the damage is reversible and I am getting better and that’s down to my amazing partner. I just wish I had been able to search the internet when I was younger and find out that I was not on my own and just maybe things might have turned out different.
Anyway here goes , In my about profile I have said that I have suffered from depression since I was a child, I think I had my first depressive episode when I was about 8. I remember seeing lots of doctors and the like and I remember all they said was that ,all that was wrong with me was that I was that a sensitive child and as I had no siblings I found it difficult to mix and I that I would grow out of it ….I DIDN’T I JUST BECAME RATHER GOOD AT PRETENDING EVERYTHING WAS OK! The truth was that my little close-knit family which consisted of me , my dad and mum were hiding a secret. That my father was an alcoholic, Now it pains me even to write this because he is no longer here, he passed away 8 years ago , I feel I am betraying him and his memory but I am still alive and I still live with the repercussions of his alcoholism but I have a wonderful supportive partner and Mother, I don’t want this to burden me any longer so it’s time to let it go and be honest.
Now I want to make one thing absolutely clear I adored my father , I loved him so much , still do and I miss him so much. He was a wonderful caring funny man but his alcoholism ruined my childhood ……fact…… his alcoholism caused my depression to manifest itself when I was a child and as a result made me have low self-esteem , anger , and suffer from loneliness and embarrassment.
When he was sober he was the most wonderful father but his alcoholism made him dishonest, and selfish. It wasn’t pleasant growing up with an alcoholic , problem being that sometimes I felt I had two dads one who was nice and loving and the other a violent nasty drunk, which lead to my distrust and fear of not only him but people in general and as a result I started living two lives one away from the alcoholism and the other in depths of it. It has ruined friendships and relationships because to this day I find it difficult to trust people and I bottle things up, but now having support and love after finding someone I can trust and I have tested her on this and each time she has never let me down ,so I am learning to trust and open up with her help.
As a child of alcoholic parent you firmly put the blame on yourselves for your parents addiction ,I know I did, I tried to do well at school , I tried not to get into trouble , did the littlest things to please him which in some bizarre way you think you’ll change and cure your parent of their addiction but it doesn’t. Nothing I ever did cured him of this illness and it is an illness.
My mum shielded me from a lot of the things that happened as a result of my fathers alcoholism , but there were times I witnessed things no child should have to witness. Chaos and stress ruled our home , it wasn’t a nice place to be sometimes. Weekends and Holidays were awful, which brings me to Christmas .
Now when most people look back on Christmases , they have fond nostalgic memories of Decorating the Christmas trees , presents , Aromas of Childhood of Christmases gone by. For me Christmas is the one time my childhood and my father’s alcoholism shows its self in all it’s glory and all the unhappy memories come flooding back. Something as innocuous a carol or a colour of a christmas decoration or even the smell of mince pies can trigger and unlock those memories, which you try to keep buried. The depression kicks , the feeling of anxiousness all come back, you don’t sleep because you have nightmares and panic attacks , it shows itself in the weirdest ways.
So that’s why I hate Christmas it instills the fear I had all my childhood, that I become that small little 7-year-old girl again cowering behind the sofa whilst her father in a few minutes destroys the Christmas tree and it’s decorations and with it the magic of Christmas thereon after all because he needed a drink and he didn’t have access to any.
On a positive note my father did however eventually seek help for his addiction only because my mum became ill, it was the wake up call he needed but I know there were times he battled with addiction right up to the time he died and I know it wasn’t easy for any of us because you always had that underlining fear that today would be the day he give in and have another drink . Christmas still posed a problem because of the booze was all around.
I am in my mid forties and to this day every Christmas I feel the same. I so want to embrace the magic of Christmas again but truth is I’m scared to because in doing so I go back and unlock the unhappiness, may be this Christmas is the Christmas I might not and maybe I can create happy memories for once..