Grief and the Holidays

I’m out of the depression. I have no idea why, but I’m happy to see it go. I started feeling better a few days ago, and it seems to be holding so I’m taking advantage of it, knowing the post-holiday letdown will probably drop-kick me. It’s still not that I’m looking forward to Christmas and New Year’s, but for now, it’s enough to be sane and not unhappy.

I have begun to suspect that I’m better because I’m allowing myself to indulge in my grief again. I’ve reached the point where I’ve realized that Will really isn’t coming back, and it hurts, dammit! But my mood always improves after I’ve cried things out, and it gives me strength to face life again.

Last night after everyone went to bed, I deliberately played some music from his funeral, plus some other sad songs, and I sobbed like a toddler having a meltdown. Strange as it might sound, it felt GREAT, even as I wiped my eyes and blew my nose repeatedly. I know it seems like a form of self-torture, but the tears it produced were cleansing, and when it was over I was calmer than I’ve been in quite a while.

The one thing I can’t do is bawl in front of people. As I’ve said before, I have a great family and support system, any of whom would let me cry on their shoulders anytime, but I just have to wait until everyone is out of the house or in bed for the night. It’s a dignity thing. And I don’t want to bum anyone out, especially at holiday time. Everyone has their own burden to carry; they’ve all lost a beloved family member too, and I know they miss him almost as much as I do. I wonder sometimes how they’re really doing on the inside; I remember my own parents’ deaths and how hard it was for me in the early months afterwards. Occasionally I even ask the kids how they’re holding up, and the answer is always an unenthusiastic “OK”. So I’m sure I’m not the only one who has their private moments of grief, even though their lives are very full with work, school, raising children and so forth.

In the meantime, I’m using my HappyLight regularly and I continue to think it’s keeping the worst of the winter blues away. Our weather has been horrible for the past couple of weeks; first we had snow and ice that hung around for far too long, then high winds and rain that literally came in sideways, and now low clouds, fog and temps only in the 30s. The trees are all bare now, which does nothing to improve the scenery. But you know, today is the winter solstice, which means that the days are going to start getting longer again, and that’s good news for all of us who love the light. Life does go on, after all, and before we know it, it’ll be spring…when all things are made new. Including me.







Published by bpnurse

I'm a retired registered nurse and writer who also happens to be street-rat crazy, if the DSM-IV.....oops, 5---is to be believed. I was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder at the age of 55, and am still sorting through the ashes of the flaming garbage pile that my life had become. Here, I'll share the lumps and bumps of a late-life journey toward sanity.... along with some rants, gripes, sour grapes and good old-fashioned whining from time to time. It's not easy being bipolar in a unipolar world; let's figure it out together.

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