I can’t remember not being depressed on one or more holidays in the past 20 years or more. It seemed every time I tried to shake those awful feelings of despair, loneliness and sorrow it would just overtake me. One Christmas my brother called me Scrooge McDuck, that was back in 2009. It was one of the first times since my brother had grown up that we were spending Christmas together and we both were acting like Scrooge McDuck! Thanksgiving was another holiday that always caught me in the grip of depression. No matter whether I providing a meal for my family or spending it with another family that graciously invited me to spend the holiday with them, I was miserable. Yes I smiled and tried to hide my pain but the reality of it all was ~ depression was my best friend.
Depression has been a constant in my life from a very young age. My mother also suffered from depression and for all I know it could have been passed down to me from her. However, I am sure that the source of my depression was from the deep, hidden wounds that began to build a cement wall around my heart from a young age. It was my way of protecting myself from others or so I thought. It drove me to a place of deep isolation where I was hidden in plain site and yet I was deeply lonely and desperate to reach out to those around me who appeared to be safe yet I couldn’t trust, no one could be trusted in my mind.
On Thursday November 27th, Thanksgiving 2014, somewhere around 4pm it hit me that I was not feeling depressed at all! I was actually quite happy and content. I cooked myself a nice meal of spaghetti, collard greens, corn bread, candied yams and pecan pie. My son was home with me part of the day but we really weren’t interacting much and I was very content with that as well. I started to think about all of the holidays that I’ve spent being sad and depressed. I began to pray about why all these years I ended up in that miry pit of depression. My mindset used to be “today is just another day when everyone else has something to do besides me”. Unfortunately that is what I passed down to my children because we didn’t make our own traditions for the holidays. I didn’t know how to make new traditions with my family because I was so locked inside my own misery. I remember trying to make things different but it would never turn out as planned and at the end of the day I would beat myself up because I had failed again.
I spend some time really pondering this whole dilemma and I think I may have discovered the problem – memories have power! I have some really bad memories from different holidays that I revert to when the holidays approach. I don’t think I was doing it consciously because I could never figure out why I kept falling back into the same pit time after time, year after year. Quite frankly the time from mid-October until the first week of January was usually the time I spent in full blown depression. My doctor called it seasonal depression and put me on medication. Maybe he was right but I think the reality of the depression was more about me re-living the bad memories from my past. One would think that after being away from abuse and living in a safe environment that it would move me to want to create new fun memories with my family. Not me, nope, I succumbed to the feelings and the memories instead.
This year will be different. This year I refuse to allow myself to go back to that pit of seasonal depression that has ruined almost every Thanksgiving and Christmas that I can remember. No way, this year I am going to rejoice in the freedom that I have because my Lord Jesus Christ has picked me up from the miry clay and set my feet on SOLID ground. No more living on shifting sand! No more crying over things I cannot have or control! No more phony smiles hiding my tears! NO MORE! NO MORE!
I praise God Almighty today for the freedom I have found in Christ Jesus! I know that I have had a horrific past that I lived through and there were many ruined Holidays but I don’t have to re-live those memories every single year! I will press forward and renew my mind through the reading of the Word of God, the Bible, every day! I will pray and sing praises to Jesus for all He has done for me and YOU! I will find ways to be there for people who are still struggling with the pit of depression and I pray God will use me to speak joy and peace and love into their lives. I will walk boldly with my head held high knowing I have peace within because of the Holy Spirit that resides in me. No more depressed Holidays for me. Thanksgiving 2014 was just the beginning!
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.
How may I pray for you today? Please go to my prayer page and send me a request. God bless you and thank you for reading my blog!
“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”