We survived Christmas! At least I did, and anyone reading this did too. (Duh.)
You may still have a Christmas party hangover. You may still have post-holiday tidying or un-decorating to do. You probably still have leftovers, unless you’re like me and went to the Chinese buffet for Christmas or Hannukah dinner.
You may have lived through another holiday of loneliness, despair, and emptiness. You may feel abandoned and alone. Nothing has really changed, you may think.
Yes, you still have bipolar disorder. Yes, you may still suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder or Borderline Personality Disorder or PTSD. You may be manic or depressed or in a mixed state.
But you survived one of the most problematic holidays in the calendar. And that’s an accomplishment. Take a moment to savor the quiet and calm around you. If you’re manic, go ahead and use those gift cards that people gave you at the post-holiday sales. Or do what I do and snuggle up in bed with a book, a cat, and a cup of hot cocoa. Don’t force yourself to meet someone else’s expectations or even your own, if they’re unreasonable.
The week between Christmas and New Year may be for many people a time to assess the past year and think about changes to make in the new one. I’m not going to do that, and I don’t really recommend it for anyone else. 2016 was tough on a lot of us – even my friends who don’t have bipolar disorder. The deaths of so many celebrities, the election, the ugliness we saw on our televisions and social media have in some way damaged us all. And the only changes I can think of that I would like to make are changes to the world, ones that I have little to no control over.
I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, and I’m not going to start this year. There are things I am working on that I will keep working on – my writing, for example – but I will not set myself an artificial goal such as a certain number of words to write per day or week. I will try to keep to my schedule of blog posts, but that’s something I’ve been doing for a while now, so you can’t really call it a resolution.
That’s basically my strategy: Keep on doing the things I’m doing. Getting out of bed as often as I can and the house once in a while. Taking my meds regularly. Seeing my therapist and my psychiatrist. Working and meeting deadlines. Appreciating my husband. Reaching out to my depressed friends. None of those are resolutions; they’re just how I always try to get by.
If you do make resolutions, I recommend small, everyday ones, not large projects like running a mile a day or learning a new language. Resolve to keep trying and keep living and taking advantage of whatever comfort or joy does cross your path. Resolve to pray, or do affirmations or practice mindfulness, if those are your thing.
Let’s all get ready to survive another one. Hang on. It could be a bumpy ride.