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Steps to embracing Christmas and to letting go……

Well I said I would do a ‘Post Christmas’ Blog on how my attempts at embracing Christmas went this year, 

After my blog at the beginning of December my girlfriend and I decided to write a list of things that would help me ‘Embrace’ the Yuletide season ,one because I needed a plan (I function better if I have a list….. I’m anal that way… This will definitely discussed further in a future blog) and two I REALLY wanted to make good/new  memories for not just me but for my mum and my girlfriend.

Anyways step One …… Going for the tree , now as a lover of nature and all things outside as is my mum and my girlfriend we decided on a live tree , that’s to say one that was not cut at the base but one that could be replanted once Christmas was out-of-the-way.

So came the morning of said Christmas Tree shopping, which didn’t go without a hitch, I’d been the loft to retrieve the boxes of Decorations and, I had a massive panic attack which kicked in my asthma, because in retrieving the decorations I had flashbacks of Christmas 1973!. It took me a while to get over , but non the less once I calmed down off we went.

When we arrived there were an array of various trees of all shapes and size’s but most were cut at the base , which I found quite sad. Anyways in a small section of the Garden centre were the live trees and there was particular tree slightly bent, not as athletically pleasing to the eye because it wasn’t perfect and which had been placed in a corner almost out of sight. My girlfriend turned to me and said “That’s the one isn’t it?” , ” Yes” I replied.” anyway with tree bought off we drove home ready to decorate the tree.

Now I ask the girlfriend if I could decorate the tree alone, as this would be a real test for me because if there is one single thing that brings back the awful memories of Christmases gone by is the Christmas tree and Christmas decorations because it evokes a memory of a particular Christmas my dad needed drink, he hadn’t a drink for a couple of days and usually something would stir in him and he get a look in his eyes and he would flip because he had no money to buy any more alcohol and because non was ever kept in the house and he was desperate for a drink he took his frustration out on my mum because as usual she refused to pay for his addiction, that was when I usually had to intervene and literally part them or as on this occasion shield my mum from him and at 7 that was a scary thing to do, but it always stopped him, he usually then take his frustration out on anything in the house , throwing ornaments, damaging furniture and tearing photo’s up and on this particular occasion breaking every single tree bauble and destroying the tree whilst mum and I coward behind the sofa until he would leave the house and we would plan our escape and stay at my mum’s brother’s for the night whilst the demons left him and he put back together the house, the tree , the photo’s with his remorse! I particularly remember this more clearly than any other episode because the day before the destruction occurred my dad and I were playing , laughing and joking and putting the tree up together and he had shown so much love that day and with him destroying the tree it has always felt like a denouncement of his love, it was also the last time I ever decorated a tree with him or in fact enjoyed Christmas and at age 7 that in itself is very sad thing .So yes it was more poignant that I decorate the tree alone and try to remember that day my dad decorated the tree with me instead of him destroying it. I more importantly wanted to remember the love shared between my Dad and I that day. It emotionally drain me, I wept for about two hours afterwards but I had done it.

Step two…… Was a visit to the European Christmas markets held in the City centre. As my girlfriend said it would help me in knowing that not all images of Christmas have to be negative they can be positive. Although I’d been before without her but I had never really enjoyed the experience ,but this time I did manage to enjoy and soak up the atmosphere, it was also lovely spending a bit of time alone with her as things have been a bit manic of late as my mum hasn’t been that well and as I am my mum’s full-time carer we haven’t had any proper time alone together.

Step three …….. Presents, wrapping paper and sellotape. I decided to buy some small gifts for my mum and girlfriend, which I wrapped and hid until the big day.

It was at this point I started to become overwhelmed with the pressure of everything. One by the guilt of the blog I just written and two because of the memory that kept coming back every time I saw the Christmas tree.

Whilst all this was going on my mum had developed a serious infection, one that changed all our plans for Christmas. As we were going to spend Christmas day with my girlfriends parents and grandmother, obviously I couldn’t leave my mum and neither would my girlfriend leave us. I could see the same scenario of Christmas happening all over again. I was on complete edge and my girlfriend and I started to argue more and more until the point I used my mum’s infection to push her away , because I was so scared I was going to ruin Christmas for her and so I told her to go and spend Christmas with her parents. So she left , obviously I didn’t want her to go but what choice did I have. I had a sick mum to look after , I was on edge and could feel myself withdrawing I didn’t want that to be her memory or that of my mum’s for Christmas 2012. I cried all that day and when I wasn’t looking after my mum I spent it alone. During that evening ironically the Christmas tree fell over and that was it I cried like a baby. That evening my girlfriend returned and she wrote me a letter of all my faults cos she was mad at me and also in there was a letter which basically summed up my reason’s for hating Christmas , she is first one to actually realise what this fear/hate of Christmas was all about and that basically I associate Christmas with love , or more importantly the destruction of love. You see in all the time my dad was alive he never actually told me he loved me. I although he showed love , and I knew he loved me. I always doubted that the love was genuine, because of that one Christmas with that tree and how he had shown love one day but within the next day he destroyed it and that’s the thing that brings it back. As my girlfriend said all year you can convince yourself that he loved you but then Christmas comes and it brings all those doubts back again, one period in time ,not lasting no more than an hour has eaten away at me for forty years! As she said there was no doubt he loved me, if hadn’t of loved me he would have never accepted my sexuality which he did, with that there is no doubt. He wouldn’t have sung my praises as people she met have told her he did and how him and I were close and we were. As she said one moment in time, at time when my dad was ill should now be but to rest and so it has, as if it hadn’t I could not of explained that memory in detail, as I have done now.

We both put the tree back up and decorated it together and so the rest of Christmas went well, we all had a lovely time, my mum was feeling better , the table was set and lunch was delightful and we raised a glass to my dad, to our families, to happy memories and our love for each other , a perfect end to embracing perfect Christmas.

Next Blog a review of 2012 and my resolutions for 2013.

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Honesty at Christmas………

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..

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Tis The Season To Be Jolly………..

I have felt a little off centre recently , not feeling  quiet right.Which trust me, is not good!!! It only needs a small seed of doubt to be planted in my head  and lo and behold I find  myself way up high, sitting in the tree of Gloom! 

Now I don’t know if  I can actually trace it back and find the source of this feeling of “Woe is me”. I think its combination of factors

1/ See the previous post “Short and Sweet” I think the conversations I had with certain individuals in the previous week really pissed me off.  It hasn’t  helped my mood that’s for sure.

2/ My mum who I am a caregiver to, is not so good at the moment , which is a real worry and I feel useless because of it! I’M SURE THIS IS GOING TO BE A FUTURE BLOG!!!!

3/ Now  November has just been the most depressing of month’s and I seem to have spent it surrounded by negativity . Maybe I’M SUFFERING FROM S.A.D ! I don’t know if it’s because the nights are drawing in so quickly and winter is fastly upon us. But I love winter (Well any excuse to wear a hat)!

and finally……

4/Christmas is creeping up way too fast.

Now this is the time my mood definitely hits  a low, and I think its all to do with reflecting on past year’s and past memories, and of people gone. However feeling like this, this year seems to be odd , because all in all it ain’t been too bad.

Seems that the moment  the fat bloke with the white beard puts on that Red coat and utters those three words” HO”, “HO”,
” HO” I seem to go “Woe”,”Woe”, “Woe”! Its not that I put myself under any extra pressure either by buying gifts for the sake of it.
I buy the girlfriend and my mum gift’s and that’s it. I don’t even send cards, I give to Charity instead. So I don’t expect Christmas to live up to the hype. But you can be guaranteed come December First my ‘Holiday depression’ will start.  I will however make an effort on the actual day, I won’t ruin it for other people. So trying to keep happy and calm! How long it will last is anyone’s guess. Anyway off to practice my new mantra before Saturday “It wont be long before the 26th” ,”It wont be long before the 26th” ,”It wont be long before the 26th” , 

Anyway Tatty Bye For Now