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Christmas can be a sad day

BARRINGTON BRENNEN

Published: Oct 24, 2013

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Get ready because one the saddest days of the year will soon be here – Christmas Day. While thousands are anxious to ring the traditional cow bells at Junkanoo, open gifts and eat fruit cake, there are countless others who dread listening to the sentimental seasonal music that fills the air during Christmas time.

More than 10 years ago, I shared on this subject and thought I needed to remind people about the pain that occurs during what should be the happiest time of the year. Let me share some excerpts from that article because it is still relevant today.

One reason why so many can be depressed and lonely during Christmas time is often centered on the idea of what Christmas is all about — a time for family togetherness. Too many marriages have broken up around Christmas time. Some of the most painful explosive arguments, secret revelations, and family fights have occurred during or around Christmas time.

There are many husbands who have lost custody of their children, or learned that their wives were cheating on them during Christmas time. There are many wives who have experienced the worst of marital discords, learned that their husbands had sex with other women who might have AIDS, all during Christmas.

There are many who have lost their most precious loved ones through death during Christmas time. On the other hand, there are many children who have had their biggest fights with brothers and sisters over toys, or experienced the pain of parent favoritism during Christmas time. How then could Christmas be fun?

There are more people out of job than 10 years go. The economy is fragile. This can cause much stress to many people. Also, some of us are not so sensitive to the pain of those who lost loved ones at Christmas time. If you have lost a loved one around the festive season, remember it is okay to be happy again.

If you have lost your loved one through death during Christmas time, it is important to allow yourself to release the pain of the past. Often, many feel guilty when they are having fun during Christmas because they feel it would be disrespectful or dishonoring the memory of loved ones with whom they shared life.

Life goes on, even after the death of a loved one during Christmas. If your loved one was alive, you would be spending it in laughter and joy. I am certain he would have wanted you to continue the fun time with others today. Forty years is a very long time to hold on to the pain of the past. You have hindered your own growth and healing by refusing to let go of the past. Honor the memory of your loved one by enjoying the present.

Tips to overcome Christmas sadness

A leading psychologist, Professor Brice Pitt, writes for Depression Alliance on several things one can do to overcome or prevent the Christmas depression.

• If the problem is having to be with other people you don't like, try to minimize the damage. If you’re invited for longer than you can bear, explain why you have to leave on Boxing Day. If family descends on you for too long, arrange to go away immediately after Christmas.

• You may like the idea of getting away from it all, by taking a cheap holiday over Christmas, or immediately after, when prices are lower.

• Try spending the time in as “unChristmassy” a way as possible, by doing house cleaning or decorating, repairing the roof if the weather is good, working in the garden.

• If you’re alone and lonely, find out in advance whether your church, community or constituency is having a get together for people and if so, join in. And if you decide not to, at least you have made that choice. Telephone friends and family. Plan small treats for yourself.

• Remember that the nurses, police, welfare agencies and similar services don’t take a holiday at Christmas. They know that it is a difficult time for many people, and they are eager to help.

Dear readers, go now and make someone happy during a potentially very sad time of the year – Christmas. Go and put merry into someone’s Christmas. Start planning now. It is not too early.

 

• Barrington H. Brennen is an ordained minister of the gospel, marriage and family therapist and board certified clinical psychotherapist, USA. Send your questions or comments to barringtonbrennen@gmail.com; or write to P.O. Box CB-13019, Nassau, The Bahamas; or call 327-1980.


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