Every year around the middle of October I start to dread what is to come: The Holidays... Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas - the trifecta of guilt, bad memories, and stress.
All of my memories of this time of year weren't bad. I guess Halloween was ruined first. As a kid, I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia. I could still have sugar (this was before they equated carbs with sugar), but had to only eat it with something to slow down the spike in blood sugar that would later lead to a glucose low.
Reese's became my favorite candy during this time, and it still is. The peanut butter has protein and fat, which helps slow down that surge of sugar from the chocolate that would run through my veins. Halloween to me meant getting all of the cool different types of candy and then trading pretty much everything for the few Reese's Cups my brother got.
Maybe it happened and I forgot about it, but I don't ever remember ever going crazy on candy after Halloween. I had to dole it out slowly. It did cause me to save it, savor it, which was probably a good thing, but I became jealous of my friends and brothers who would eat all they wanted (at least until parents or a stomachache made them stop).
It took much longer to put the pieces together on why I have hated Thanksgiving since I was little. I'm just now figuring it out. It was a combination of things... too many people in too small a space; being compared to cousins that all seemed to be prettier and wealthier and more popular than I was; cigar smoke that made me gag; but mostly it was the food.
For the majority of people, food is the best part of Thanksgiving. While a child until probably in my early 40's, I was never one to love the traditional Thanksgiving foods: casseroles, ham, turkey, green beans, yams/sweet potatoes, etc. I ate them only because I was hungry as there were no other options.
I also ate because of one other major reason I grew to hate Thanksgiving - social anxiety disorder. Looking back, I had it since I was a young child but didn't know anything about it until around10 years ago.
I just recently learned how these two things fit together to make Thanksgivings horrible for me. I recently admitted to myself and on this blog that I'm a food addict/have an eating disorder. Food is often how I cope when I get anxious, especially in social situations. So I was put into a social situation that I couldn't handle, with food that I didn't like, and I was plain old miserable.
Though I now like many Thanksgiving foods, my social anxiety has gotten worse as I've gotten older and so it's balanced out. Plus, the older I get, the more I feel guilty when I use food to help my anxiety, which just adds to the anxiety (fun cycle, huh?)
But Christmas... Christmas was the last one to go. As a child I really did love most of Christmas. My mom was a perfectionist and some things, like wrapping presents or decorating the tree, were never done good enough, but I loved the whole mystery of Santa coming and going to neighborhoods to see the light displays and putting on Christmas plays and choir performances.
It was still okay as an adult, even though it was harder when I didn't have a baby nearly as quickly as I wanted to after getting married. The first year or two after you are married, it's novel and fun to just be with your spouse, but for me at least, I wanted to start Christmas traditions with my child(ren). It took a painful nine years for my daughter to be born and after it happened, I could hardly wait for her first Christmas - and the many to follow.
Then something I had never imagined possibly happening did... my now ex-husband decided he no longer wanted to be married. We pretended to be a family during holidays for the couple of years of separation but it was strained and stressful. The first year after the divorce I didn't want to even decorate. A friend spoke up, saying that I needed to do it for my child, even if I didn't feel up to it. So I went through the motions for her, while stuffing down the deep depression I felt.
I think that's when going through the motions started. It just never seemed "right" after that. As my daughter got older, I really enjoyed watching her in plays and choir performances and we did have some Christmas traditions that we both enjoyed, but mostly I have felt numb.
A few years ago, some major, life-changing events happened, and on some levels, I'm still reeling over them. Because my daughter's favorite time of year is Christmas, I think I was able to make it off her energy during those years to make it through the season.
This year has been different. I've been even more depressed than usual and my daughter has been going through her own, major, life-changing events. She has been anxious and stressed, as have I. So we are now at December 13th... with no decorations, no plans (my daughter and I used to decide around Thanksgiving each year a plan of all we wanted to do and see during December), and no desire to even try. If I put up even a mini-Christmas tree, without any ornaments, it will be amazing.
Sorry to be such a downer. I usually work really hard to share on this blog how I've overcome my struggles... or at least how I am working to overcome them. This year - I just don't know. I'll let you know if/when something changes.