Are the Holidays Really the Most Wonderful Time of the Year?
Hi, I’m Angela, I have a husband with bipolar 2 disorder, my kids have ADHD, and I myself have struggled with depression—YOU’RE NOT ALONE! This week’s mental health tips asks the question: are the holidays really the most wonderful time of the year?
According to a recent survey, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that approximately 24% of people with a diagnosed mental illness find that the holidays make their condition “a lot” worse and 40% “somewhat” worse.”
Prior to my husband being diagnosed with bipolar 2 disorder the holidays were NOT the most wonderful time of the year. To add to the stress our kids were born on Dec. 22nd and Jan. 4th. There was a lot going on, but I figured I’ll just plan ahead and things would be workable.
From Mike’s perspective:
It was completely unmanageable. He felt overwhelmed, angry, and miserable. And it was obvious.
Leading up to the holidays this year we talked about why things are different now. We didn’t figure this out overnight and neither will you, but it starts with a little honest communication about your limits and your needs. And the foundation of it all is expectations—for ourselves and others.
From Mike’s perspective:
He now has freedom to have space during family events without fear that he’ll be judged for not being engaged all the time.
He can leave an event early if need be, or even decline if he’s not up to it—no guilt trips.
From My perspective:
Since I’m the one in the family that is the planner, I minimize events, and make sure there’s white space on the calendar for downtown to just enjoy family.
There will probably always be ups and downs during the holidays. Mike is not responsible for making is the most wonderful time of the year and neither am I. We can offer grace, understanding, and a little space for those bumps in the road.
When we place expectations on others, the burden of discontentment will ultimately lie with us. And let’s remember, especially during a time of year when the focus can be on material things, what it says in 1 Timothy 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
How are you handling the pressure of the holidays? Comment below, I’d love to hear from you.
What are your thoughts? Comment below
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