It's okay to feel depressed on Christmas Day

It's okay to feel depressed on Christmas Day

It’s okay to feel depressed on Christmas Day.   I will even go so far to say that if, today, you do feel super down, you are in very good company.

**Spoiler alert: F-Bombs ahead**


Ever look out the window as your plane is landing? I usually have two fairly consistent thoughts as the plane's shadow crosses rooftop after rooftop of single family homes on its approach to the runway:

  1. Oh hell no I would never live this close to an airport and have planes flying this close to my roof all day long.
  2. Man oh man oh man…. there are a whole lot of people in this crazy world.

And in those teeming scrambles of people out that plane window, all experiencing a relatively finite range of emotions available to humans, all things considered, and with life being the little bitch it can be, a whole lot of people are in pain on any given Christmas Day.

Like right now.

  • Someone is in the vice grip of heartbreak.
  • Someone has been diagnosed with well they can’t even say it, yet.
  • Someone has been left behind, and are bleeding tears into a new darkness…
  • Someone has no one.
  • Someone, without those comfortable big boxes of commerce in which to jungle and rock, is being forced into an unfamiliar stillness. And it is throbbing with loneliness.
  • Someone is fighting a war, and hates it.
  • Someone is experiencing the first Christmas season without a loved one who has passed.
  • Someone is experiencing the second, third, fourth, or twentieth Christmas season without a loved one who has passed….
  • Someone isn’t enough.
  • Someone fears.
  • Someone just wishes they knew.

Meanwhile, Paul McCartney keeps singing that putriditous “Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time” on the Christmas music nightmare that is Soft Rock FM Radio. (WTF, Paul?)

And just…DAMMIT, Buble. #STFU

It’s too much.


Holidays are life’s great magnifiers.  Christmas in particular, is a giant spotlight that illuminates our circumstances in a single point of light, down stage center, the rest of our life hidden in shadow.

Such intense beams of light emit heat. Everyone gets a little toasty from those rays.

The weakest of us tend to fall down from the heat. They become ill, sometimes fatally so.  “It always seems to happen around the holidays,” we say.

Drunks and addicts flood into meetings at a disproportionate rate.  Fourth of July? Bring it.  Christmas? “I surrender…”

'Tis the season for questions that piggyback a bizarre sense of entitlement to their answers: “So what are you doing for Christmas?”

A polite intrusion: “Doing anything special tomorrow?”

A casual invasion: “Got your Christmas shopping done?”

If they don’t get you on the way in, they will get you on the way out. “What did you do for Christmas?”

Well? They’re waiting….

I’ll tell you. I’m going to be sad. I am sad. I can’t stop being sad.  I don’t remember what it feels like to be happy. And please don’t tell me it will pass. I know, but I don’t really care because knowing that doesn’t make it pass any faster.  I’m not taking a shit, here. It’s not a fucking kidney stone. I’m against everything right now.  But thinking I could ruin someone’s holiday buzz with exactly how down I am makes me feel even shittier.  But you asked. And that’s my truth. So there. Wait? Where are you going? Come back here. You started this, so I’m gonna finish it.   I so desperately want not to feel this way. But I do. And fuck Christmas. And while we’re at it, fuck Thanksgiving and New Year’s, too. There. So……..  How about you? Doing anything special?”

You say, “Oh, I’m just going to spend a quiet day at home. Maybe watch some Sons of Anarchy. How about you? Doing anything special?”

(Oh my. Lookie there. We just did the same thing to them.)


Wow. Okay. Great. We got it, JA. You soooo get it that some people, no wait, excuse me, a lot of people are sad today.  Maybe even you?  I can’t even tell. Anyone ever tell you that you are kind of cryptic? Well, you are. Whatever.  How about telling me something I don’t know. More to the point: What is your point? Do you even have one?

Barely.  More like an offering.

First of all, take comfort knowing that you are not alone, today. I’m willing to bet that you are actually in the silent majority. Sometimes, in my experience, the minute I learn I’m not really alone, that I haven't, in fact, been hand-picked by some cosmic force to be the sole carrier of a specific experience, my pain crumbles a little bit around the edge. Like a pie crust. On a shit pie.

Second: Speculums, right? All up in the bizness.. And the doctor says, “Just relax…”, perhaps with a hand on your knee as some painfully ineffective show of support. And you think, “I’m as relaxed as I can even be in this situation, a-hole. How ‘bout you relax”

But the a-hole is right. Because somehow, the muscles finally give, and only when you feel your butt touch the paper on the table do you realize how tense you actually were.

“Good,” the doctor says.

Then, “A little more now.”


It’s just too,too much.


My point is this: sometimes, the tension about the tension makes things worse than they already are.  When we fight against ourselves, we almost always lose. Because we are stubborn bad-asses. And when we are hurting or fearful, we are even bigger, more stubborn bad-asses. And we always win. So don’t fight us.

Join us, instead. Sit silently on the couch and invite the rest of us into your pain, and we will breathe through it together.  Hell, we are already doing it on our own. Might as well do it together.

Or: cram the orange, cheapo earbuds deep into your ear canal, and we will rage dance with you in spirit.

On some level, we hear you. This is a promise.


Every freefall eventually finds a floor to smash into.  On holidays, the freefalls feel longer, and more dangerous. So today, how about putting your arms out and flying the fuck through your pain. Face first, man. See ya at the bottom… I’ll bring  band-aids and cake. Or shit pie. One or the other. We’ll see.

I invite you to be okay with being not okay on this rather random, pagan-ey/ christian mash-up with a date-specific mandate in cute puppy/Georgia O’Keefe/Far Side calendars everywhere; a day that means as many things as there are people who “celebrate” it. Take the day back from the entirely false idea that today has to be anything other than a Wednesday.

A Wednesday that, by the way, will be over by tomorrow.

And when people ask you what you did, you can just say, “Nothing. You?” Because, at the end of the day, most people really only want to talk about themselves.

Let ‘em.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read. it means the world. Carry on...

Old Single Mom

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