Category Archives: Event

It’s the Most Magical Time of the Year…and Depression


Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Ben White

Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Ben White

The Holiday Season. Winter. Christmastime, Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, Boxing Day, Kwanzaa, New Year’s. All of it. It’s here again (or will be within weeks).

People are stringing lights across the eaves of their houses, smothering their front yard bushes and trees under ropes of brilliant bulbs of color, tiny fairy lights and large luminosities of red and green, Nativity scenes and Menorahs. Stockings are hung from the mantle or the chimney (or from stocking holders placed on shelves if you live in South Florida, because we don’t have mantles and chimneys), toy trains and holiday villages brighten up hallways and front rooms while trees sparkle and bow beneath their weight of lights, tinsel and decorations. Ugly Christmas and Holiday sweaters make their limited engagement appearances. Millions flock to Walt Disney World for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Holidays Around the World, and festive dining experiences.

It’s the most magical time of the year.

It’s my favorite time of the year. From the day after Thanksgiving (when I begin playing Christmas music) until Christmas night, those glorious, wonderful 31 days are when I’m happiest, each year. Attempting once again (and probably once again, failing) to compose and send out cards to those who are special to me, letting them know I’m thinking of them – all year long, but especially now – by the 2nd week of December. Searching for the best bargains on items from family members’ Christmas lists so I won’t go broke…again…

Christmas parties and luncheons, the annual church Christmas concert and children’s drama that always surprises and delights. The joy of finding that special gift for a member of my family, or a friend; imagining the pleasure on their faces when they open those gifts I’ve painstakingly wrapped in beautiful paper and ribbon. Decorating the tree while watching Christmas movies. And the Christmas movies! There are new ones each year to enjoy and ones from years gone by that have become favorites.

All of this I look forward to each year. Something magical about peace on earth, good will toward men.

But there’s a dark side.

These 31 days are also some of the most depressing days of the year for me and so many other people living with depression. There’s a bitter-sweetness to the celebrating and expressions of love and joy. Perhaps it’s because we struggle to feel the same wonder and carefree happiness that so maafter-the-new-year-graphicny others seem to feel; perhaps it’s because we feel a lack within ourselves – a lack of family or friends or significant other(s), someone with whom to share the joy; or perhaps it’s because there lurks beneath it all the understanding that this won’t last; after the New Year, most of us will go back to our everyday lives that magic never touches, good will and peace will be left at the curb with our dead and dying trees, and churlishness will accompany the deconstruction of all those pretty lights, trains and holiday villages. Back in the boxes, sheds and attics go our decorations and ugly holiday sweaters – at least the ones that survived kittens and puppies and toddlers – to save for next season. And so, apparently, do our belief in magic, joy and goodwill toward our neighbors. (Now THAT’S a depression thought.)

That’s part of it, sure. But for me, another part of the depression is old-fashioned self-pity. I’m single (not alone, because I have family and good friends nearby, but single…there’s a difference, you know). For someone like me, a romantic who dives into Christmas/holiday stories and movies (almost all of which end in some form of Happily Ever After, aka HEA), and watches – teary-eyed – all of the Christmas commercials about family and love, being single at Christmastime is downright depressing at times. Especially this year. Why is this year different? Well, 3 young couples with whom I am friends got married this year. I’ve been privileged to watch ALL 3 romances begin and grow over the past few years, and to see them each begin their own HEA in holy matrimony, and watch them begin their lives together…well, it’s bittersweet. Also, perimenopause is rearing its uncomfortable, heightened estrogen, emotional trainwreck, night sweat-slicked head. And, no sex. Also, no snow. 😦

Changing things up.

So while this most magical time of year is my favorite…and I suffer depression more acutely at Christmastime than any other, I’ve changed things up a bit this year, to see if perhaps I can survive the rest of this year less depressed:

  • I’ve not picked up one Christmas romance novel; instead, I’m reading the final book in an epic fantasy series (The Faithful and the Fallen series by UK author John Gwynne). I might be depressed at the end of the book, but I’m pretty sure it’ll be because the series is finished and not because I’m still single.
  • I’m gathering all of my tax documents – medical bill payments, copays, charitable donations, etc. – updating my writing and editing income and expenses spreadsheet so I’ll be ready – early – for tax time.
  • Keeping an eagle eye on my finances so I’ll be able to afford a nice birthday shin-dig for my son when he turns 16 (!!!!!!!!!!) in January.
  • Making a plan (which includes pep-talks at myself) for exercise, healthy eating and a little weight loss after the holidays (I’m soooo not into depriving myself of all the holiday goodies), so I will have enough energy to enjoy myself on my planned birthday trip to Disney World mid-February, and look good while I’m there! 🙂
  • Taking a little time each day to thank God for His blessings, and reflect upon all of the successes in my life (such as letting my son live another year – that’s a big one!).

So while this most magical time of year often means a deeper struggle with depression for me, I’m determined to enjoy the holidays with family and friends, revel in my independence and strength as a woman, and not dwell on the tiny, rather insignificant fact that I am single.

How about you? Is this your favorite time of year, and/or do you find yourself more depressed during the holiday season than any other time of year? If so, why?

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Filed under Depression, Disney, Emotion, Event, Family, Friendship, Holidays, Humor, Life, Mental Health, Musings, Real Life, Relationships, Romance, Thankful

Is it Depressing to be Single on Valentine’s Day?


Photo source: Unsplash.com/Daria Sukhorukova

Photo source: Unsplash.com/Daria Sukhorukova

Being single on Valentine’s Day probably doesn’t seem like that big of a deal…or it shouldn’t be. But when you are a romantic at heart and your birthday is on the day popularly known as “Sweetheart’s Day,” it’s rather depressing when you’re single.

As soon as Christmas is over, up go the Valentine’s Day decorations and related merchandise in the stores. So I get to look at it for 2 months. I like the wide selection of chocolates, and even like reading the cards…until I find one I’d love to give to someone…if I wasn’t single…

But you know what’s even MORE depressing? Having a significant other and being unhappy with said significant other. I’ve been in this situation more than once. This year, unless a miracle happens within the week, I will once again be alone.

I decided to look up the lyrics of “Alone Again, Naturally” (by Gilbert O’Sullivan, 1970s, if you’re interested) and consider it for my current theme song. I’ve enjoyed its melancholy sound for years on the radio, but never took the time to learn all the words…except for “alone again, naturally.” However, while parts of it are pretty spot on (depression) sometimes, ISingle-hood2 nixed the idea.

So I’ve determined that this year I won’t be depressed by my single-hood. Because the day is all about ME – and I’m still ME even when it’s JUST me and I’m not part of a duo. I am the only person I’ll have to live with for the rest of my life, so I better enjoy it, eh? 😉

I’ve heard friends say lately that they’re “anti V-Day” (not to be confused with either the WWII or The Vagina Monologues references). This makes me sad, because I like to believe that everyone is as romantic as me: Darcy and Elizabeth; Eve and Roarke; Katniss and Peeta; Frodo and Sam (eh, maybe not that one); Jane and Rochester. You get my drift. And as someone who was BORN ON “V-Day,” it would be kind of difficult for me to adopt that stance, unless I chose to stop acknowledging/celebrating my birthday. Since I’m not of the Jehovah’s Witness persuasion (no offense to any who are), that’s not going to happen.

God had a reason for allowing me to be born 2 weeks after my due date (so you don’t have to strain yourself, I’ll help you – I was due on January 31st). Probably so people would remember me. 😉 I love myself too much and am too proud of my progress to stop celebrating myself on the day of my birth. So even though my number of “single on V-Day” years outweigh my “in a relationship on V-Day” years (and probably will continue to do so for the foreseeable future), I’ll continue to be hardcore “pro V-Day” till the day I expire. And this year, I think I’m going to be quite vocal about it, because, hey, it’s my BIRTHDAY. It’s all about ME. 🙂

And if you want to be a dear and help me celebrate myself on my birthday, I accept gifties (yes, that is a word). 🙂

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Filed under Depression, Event, Life, Musings, Writing

Fall Favorites Giveaway Hop


Fall Favorites Giveaway Hop 500x292

Thank you for joining us on the Fall Favorites Giveaway Hop!

Don’t forget to hop on over to the Booktrope/Runaway Goodness Prefunk Sale and grab your FREE eBook copy of my Jewish medieval fantasy, Serpent on a Cross, and more than 200 other great titles in various genres, now through November 14th!

For my stop on this Hop, I’m giving away a $15 Amazon eGift Card to one randomly selected lucky winner, and a print copy of Serpent on a Cross to another! To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter giveaway link below and away you go! 🙂 Then come back and visit all the other pages in the Hop. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

1. ~Book Liaison 16. Benjamin Levi Seims
2. Danielle Ione 17. ~Sandi Brackeen
3. ~Author Ryanne Anthony 18. ~Stephanie Phillips
4. ~K. Williams 19. ~Misha Elliott
5. ~Allison Whitmore 20. Wendy C Garfinkle
6. ~Stephanie Kepke 21. ~PageCurl Publishing and Promotion (INT)
7. A.M. Willard 22. ~Jennifer Sivec
8. Meara Platt 23. ~Susan Arden
9. S.K. Wills 24. Author Holly Hood
10. ~Amanda Mariel 25. #Minxes Love Books
11. Lisa Douthit 26. Author Kristyn Eudes
12. Lady Amber’s Reviews 27. ~Patti Fiala
13. ~Lynne Barron 28. ~C.S. Kendall
14. ~Tina Donahue 29. ~MAD Hoydenish
15. E.C. Moore

 

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Filed under Blog Hop, Booktrope, Event, Literature, Serpent on a Cross, Writing