Christmas Affective Disorder

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Grumpy Cat knows what I’m talking about. 

Christmas Affective Disorder; not technically ‘a thing’ (that I know of) but more of a narrowed down version of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) that I usually find myself prone to at this time of the year.  Apparently it isn’t just me though, and having spoken to a few people it seems a lot of us don’t get swept up in the Christmas cheer quite as quickly as we’re expected to!

I always tend to bum out around Christmas and I’m not really sure why, although my over-analytical mind tends to rationally suggest the likely reasons (I’m single this year so that could be why, I’ve neglected my social life in favour of other things so I haven’t seen my friends much, that could also be why) but I think it’s just that around this time of year I get overly reflective and focus more on the areas of my life that are lacking than the ones that are succeeding.  It’s a mindset I think, and I’m trying not to fight it too much, instead I’m accepting it, riding it out and anxiously awaiting the arrival of 2013 so that I can crack on with normality again.   
The end of the year is a reflective time for a lot of people as it’s easy to start considering what you set out to achieve and measure that against what you actually achieved.  Resolutions really don’t help – or certainly not for me anyway – as every single year I set myself a list of ten overly optimistic goals that I haven’t a hope in hell of achieving which is the very definition of setting myself up for failure.  Thankfully, now I’m a little older (something else to over-think and bum out about, I’m sure) I just give myself credit for any of the resolutions that I have achieved and for 2013 I’m going to try and be a bit more realistic.  
NYE is the night where we’re all supposed to spend a fortune on a night out that would normally cost considerably less, and the onus throughout the night is on how much fun we should be having.  There’s so much pressure! It’s a special night that only comes around once a year and everyone is in good spirits so there is absolutely no logical reason as to why I shouldn’t be having the absolute time of my life.  Yet I usually find NYE quite underwhelming (painting myself as quite the misery guts I know) as I resent paying £30 to access a venue that would normally charge less than a tenner, just to find myself squashed into a room full of people who are clearly having a much better time than me, or if not then they’re at least hiding it very well.  Maybe that’s my problem, I need to fake it to make it…?  
Anyway, this has turned into quite a ramble but the point is just to say that if you’re like me, and you face the holiday season with a sense of mild dread yet you’re not really sure why, my advice would be to just try and ride it out, don’t over-think it and know that there are plenty of others feeling the exact same way; some of whom are probably just doing a good job at keeping their feelings hidden.  
Kindest regards,
Misery Geek xx
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6 Comments

  • Anonymous
    December 18, 2012

    That was a very kind and thoughtful post. I have a long-term illness that I usually handle fairly gracefully but I’m failing (badly!) at the moment. The pressure of Christmas and the sadness I feel when I find I’m to unwell to go to an event is a horrible combination. I already know that I struggle with NYE and ask that brings so I’m in for a bumpy two or three weeks. It’s genuinely comforting to know I’m not the only one that’s finding out a challenge. That said, I do hope that you have a happy Christmas!

    • Sascha BG
      Anonymous
      December 18, 2012

      Thanks so much for your lovely comment and so sorry to hear you’re not having a great time at the moment! I’m so glad you found comfort in my post; I think a lot of people can feel so isolated around this time of year and end up believing there’s something wrong with them for not getting carried away in the spirit of things, as is typically expected.

      I really hope you manage to find some enjoyable times in the next few weeks xx

  • Myriad Verdigris
    December 20, 2012

    Christmas is pretty grim for a lot of people. Nothing worse than enforced cheerfulness with an emphasis on Family and Company to make people feel even more depressed and isolated. I think it would be weird if some people didn’t react to it by feeling down. These days I spend my NYE with a couple of friends who also don’t enjoy loud expensive “fun”, and I have given myself permission to spend Christmas Day in my pyjamas if I feel like it, and the whole thing is much less stressful.

    (That was me with the depression and epic acne a few posts back btw – I think having had some awful Christmases has made me think to hell with the expected forms of jollity, I’m going to do whatever is least likely to make my head explode.)

    • Sascha BG
      Myriad Verdigris
      January 4, 2013

      Sorry lovely, I managed to somehow miss your comment!

      I completely agree with pretty much everything you said; I swear it’s an age thing though as I was so aware this year of just how few people actually went out on NYE. There was much fewer Facebook pictures of people having their wild night outs and instead it seemed most people stayed in and got an early night! I think it’s still a bit taboo to admit that you don’t want to get carried away in the spirit of things, but that seems to be easing a bit as the years go on.

      Anyway! I hope you had a great Christmas and New Year whatever you did xx

  • Anonymous
    January 3, 2013

    I searched for ‘Christmas Affective Disorder’ in the hope that I’d find something close to how I feel at the moment. Instead I found your blog!

    I LOVE Christmas – ALL of it! The run up, the music, the lights, the songs, the food, my family and friends. It’s been a tradition now to spend NYE at a friend’s house so there isn’t the unnecessary expenditure, and you’re spending it with people you like. [Perhaps you could try that next year?]

    However, what I always get is the comedown after Christmas and new year. So in January I feel awful and depressed. Perhaps it’s because I do love Xmas so much, that it’s overhyped and then I suffer the anti climax. You are definitely right about resolutions. As I’ve grown older, I’ve set myself realistic ‘goals’ now rather than think of them as things ‘I need to resolve’.

    Anyhow – I think the name for what I feel is probably ‘Post Christmas Affective Disorder’! Thanks for interesting read. Hope you did something nice for xmas and NYE?

    • Sascha BG
      Anonymous
      January 4, 2013

      Thanks so much for your comment and glad to hear you enjoyed Christmas! I completely understand the anti-climax as we spend months building up to it, then suddenly it’s all gone. I remember a few years back I was really excited about the arrival of the holiday season and it flew by so quickly that I ended up feeling quite thrown by the speed!

      I hope you’re feeling better by now and Happy New Year! xx

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