Discussion in 'Phoenix Rising Articles' started by Mark, Nov 25, 2013.
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When I sat in a quiet room alone on Christmas day sometime in the 90s, with family from all over the world outside, I was treated as kind of crazy.
Last year I skipped Christmas entirely, and so had the energy left to enjoy New Years Eve.
I can't even write how traumatic the holiday season is to me these last few years. There is no energy to even attempt to like it even though many years ago I reveled in the festivities. I've seen too much and lost too much to ever think my childhood memories were more than "play acting". The only thing that could save me is to create a good memory like very light travel, good conversation, perfect surroundings, being with people but retreating to my gorgeous suite when I need to rest. How in the world is that going to happen?
The holidays are something to get through, not something to enjoy. My least fav. time of year. A shame.
I wish it were January already.
Over the years, I somehow learned to get through this time by
doing what I could to help those less fortunate
than me. I'm not capable of much but I always
put money in the Salvation Army bucket
and buy an inexpensive toy to give to Toys for
I'll be having king crab for Thanksgiving and Xmas so
my holiday meals aren't depressing.
I forgot to say, imho, it's important to find
something that puts a smile
on your face this time of year. King crab makes
me smile. : ) Giving to others
either financially or physically can help.
My Christmas holidays have been pretty good since I got sick. We usually drive a couple hours to my fiance's parents' house, which can be a bit rough, but has been a lot better since getting my OI treated. They also let me have the bigger couch to myself, so I can lie down when needed, and keep my feet up all the time. There's also a blanket I can grab when I get chilly.
My fiance's mom and/or sister do all of the coffee/treats and dinner preparation, so I can just sit there and look cute while trying to keep up with the Dutch conversations if I'm up to it. If I'm not up to it, they won't bother me while I stare into space
Gift giving isn't as crazy in the Netherlands. We might or might not pick up one relatively cheap gift for each immediate family member that we'll see at Christmas dinner. Last year we got my father-in-law a few microbrewery beers he hadn't tried before, a nice bag of imported coffee for the brother-in-law, and a box each of awesome Belgian chocolates for my fiance's sister and mother.
I don't think anyone else brought gifts, so it really is a no-pressure situation, which is awesome! More of a matter of doing what you want to do and enjoying it, instead of being pressured to meet certain expectations.
Dinner can be a little rough for me, because my fiance's parents usually do "gourmet" which is a fairly common Dutch tradition for Christmas. Basically a hotplate with 4-8 tiny pans on it for people to grill their own food at the table. So I get a bit tired out by the reaching and such, but it's very easy for me to avoid the foods I react to. And I can always ask for help if I really need it.
We stay over at their place, since I'm too exhausted for a drive home by then and my fiance enjoys staying up late and drinking beer with his family. They have a nice bed now that isn't hurty, so that goes pretty well. Though I'm usually in bed by 10pm, while everyone else is up past midnight, so I get lonely in the morning.
I want to make a pumpkin pie to take this year - it's not something that seems to exist much in the Netherlands, so they might have fun trying it. Though I'll get the fiance to help make that before we drive over. And if I don't feel up to making it, no big deal
No family, and being sick means no friends.
I've learned to try to sleep through or otherwise blank out the holidays.
I used to get really depressed over the holidays. Now that I am married, my fiance and I can ignore them together! We are both orphans, and have no family support. Most of his siblings have passed away, and mine don't bother with me anymore. We make good food that is healthy, or he does if I am not feeling up for it. We plan to eat thanksgiving dinner out, so we don't have to cook. We watch old movies. Once I accepted that holidays don't have to mean what the mass media tells us it should, it became easier to shape my own version for myself. Sometimes I light pretty red, green and white candles but no tree and no lights.
Last Christmas Day l got to speak to another human being - a wrong phone number from a woman in California. Otherwise its me and the TV over the holidays with a lousy holiday schedule.
If anyone is on their own on Christmas Day or Boxing Day would like a chat, just message me and I will be happy to chat for a bit. Hopefully I won't be relapsing !!!!
I'll probably be around here on Christmas day too. We have two Christmas days here in the Netherlands (typically one for visiting each set of parents), and our family affair is on Christmas #2.
I am fortunate to have really laid-back family and friends that will do more or less things during the holidays depending on how I feel. I also encourage them to get out and do things I can't do so no one feels bad about anything. For Thanksgiving, pre-CFS, I used to get friends and family together to cook a large festive meal to share. This year, we just ordered the full dinner, all prepared, from a local supermarket. For those who can afford it, there are now places, especially in large cities, that have dinners to fit different dietary preferences.
For Christmas, since I am not Christian or for that manner religious at all, I like to celebrate the secular values that I believe the holidays represent. Gift-giving also has never been an emphasized tradition within my family. What I've enjoyed doing in the past is sponsoring a child for Christmas; various charities in the US have virtual or real holiday giving trees where you can pick a child's tag with his/her info off the tree and then buy age-appropriate items for that child. This can be clothes, books, toys, etc. As a child, I benefited from such programs so I like to give back when I can.
There are similar programs aimed at different groups -- soldiers abroad, foster kids that aged out and have no family, lonely elderly folks, political prisoners, etc. -- to cater to any interest. I like to remind myself that we are not the only group that can feel isolated/ lonely or forgotten during the holidays. Some programs don't require any/ much outlay of money at all; writing someone a nice letter or sending them a card can lift someone's spirits and can be better than any gift. These things can also be done virtually. It's not entirely for the benefit of the recipient either; volunteering has been shown in numerous scientific studies to benefit the health/ mood of the giver as well.
If the holiday season vs. ME/CFS were a title fight (boxing etc.), then I think the holiday season would nearly always lose. ME/CFS is just too big and too tough.
It definitely needs to be tag-team wrestling instead ... if we've got someone on our side to lend a hand, it's a lot more manageable.
How about the Incredible Hulk? That should balance the odds.
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