The Nightmare Before Christmas


Welcome to the Holiday Season,the "happiest time of the year". This season is full of expectation and hope, and one other thing: dread. In fact, the suicide rate is highest at this time of year. We are supposed to be happy and filled with yuletide joy, but somehow there looms a sense of what is wrong and who is missing, not what is right.

There are holiday chores that must be done: buying presents, making plans, etc. The stress and anxiety during the months of November and December will cause even those who are usually content to experience loneliness and a lack of fulfillment. There is the problem of getting social: Do I have a place to go? People to be with? Will it be okay? In addition, the holidays are now a constant reminder of those that I've lost and it begins a grieving cycle at a most unexpected time. We reminisce about better times, better Christmases and long for those times. Nothing is more painful than high expectations and attachments to how the holidays should be. All in all, it is a time to get through. We hope to make it through intact, but we take hits along the way.

Don't be hard on yourself. You are not alone. The joy of the holidays is an illusion and attempting to capture it will cause pain and disappointment. The good news is there is a remedy. Rather than dwell on the negatives of your situation decide to catch the real spirit of this season: the spirit of giving. There is no greater joy and satisfaction than giving others' the experience you would like to have for yourself. Make someone happy. Take care of someone else's' experience. Give personally to those you love and if the spirit moves you, volunteer. Give to those less fortunate. Be relevant in the joy of others. The key is getting out of yourself and giving from your heart. It is the secret answer that we've all forgotten in this time of crass commercialism and it is incredibly healing and restorative. Abandon your joy and instead commit to the joy of others. Selfishly speaking, it is the best way for you to take care of you through the "happiest time of the year."

Thomas Jones