Christmas Mourning

I alluded briefly to the fact that I find Christmas a profoundly difficult time of year the other week.  I have hated the day and all its build-up since, I would guess, my early teens.

I still do, and I rationalise it on the grounds that it is a commercialised load of crap borne purely out of capitalist greed and people’s insatiable desire to get completely wasted with apparent impunity.  But as with seemingly everything in my existence, nothing is quite as simple as pure rationality.

I wouldn’t have seen a deeper side to my dislike of the festive season but for some weird behaviour that’s developed over the last couple of years, that I would say correlates roughly with the development of borderline tendencies in my psyche and behaviour.  I have found myself uncharacteristically emotional over ‘cute’ images or statues of Santas or snowmen, feeling sorry for them (?!) to the point of tears.  The odd sentimental Christmas song will do it too.  Anything, I suppose, that is a non-tacky or potentially ‘sweet’ way of communicating how supposedly special the occasion is meant to be can bring this ridiculous behaviour.

Last night I ended up in tears because I ‘felt sorry’ for Christmas because I had ‘rejected’ it for so many years*.  It was triggered by a cinnamon candle which smelt ‘Christmassy’.  What a complete and utter moron of complete imbecility I am.  Who does this?!

A discussion with A ensued when he enquired as to why I was upset about rejecting Christmas given that I hate Christmas.  I have developed two armchair psychological theories for both the hatred and the development of this over-emotional nonsense.

  1. The most obvious theory is that I associate the entire season with the McFs and, specifically, the fact that I have to see PaedoMcF (as he shall, I think, henceforth be known on this blog).  I spent, as I recall, every Christmas with them until I was about 21, and once I’d reached adolescence, gone through the rape, grown increasingly contemptuous of my family, I began to dread and dislike the season more and more.  It’s not just about Paedo; MMcF is overbearing too, as is the entire group dynamic that permeates the culture in which they live.  One way or another, they are at least partly responsible for my dislike of December.
  2. There is a deeper thread to this; it’s clearly about abandonment by both my father and then my subsequent surrogate father-figures.  Part of the sadness is pathetically (in the original sense) childlike – it’s like a little girl weeping because she knows she’ll yet again be rejected.  Thus, she has to reject all circumstances surrounding that rejection first.  Except that it’s not that simple, because it eventually comes back to haunt her.  Eugh.  Fuck you, V.

Yes.  Christmas is, in part at least, supposed to be about families – about parental love and a parent’s desire to see their child happy, the pleasure and joy the parent takes from seeing the child’s delight in receiving that for which she has so fervently longed all year.  I only ever had 50% of that.  My poor mother, dear love her, tried her best to make up the deficit, and I suppose on the face of things that seemed to be enough…but it wasn’t really, was it?

In the absence of my actual father, I built my grandfather into the supreme male figure in my life.  However, his senility began in my earlier teenage years, and he finally succumbed and died when I was 15.  None of that is his fault, of course (I mean, of course!!!), but it could still be considered abandonment by the deepest, undeveloped corners of my psyche, those dark recesses that have still failed to develop healthy object relations.

If I’m completed honest, I probably had allowed Paedo to be a semi-father figure too, but sadly he chose to violate the sanctity of that relationship.

When I was about eight, my mother met and fell in love with B.  Although B and I didn’t always get along perfectly (how dare he ingratiate himself into my life in the place of my father?), I got used to him being there and was stunned when he died very suddenly and unexpectedly just before my 11th birthday (which is not that terribly long before the accursed Christmas).

So yeah.  Christmas must remind me of childhood abandonment.  No waking up at 5am on Christmas morning and dragging Daddy out of bed to see the joy on his daughter’s face.  Only ever futile hope that maybe one day he might care enough to at least call me to say, “happy Christmas darling,” only ever futile hope that maybe one day he might care enough to even send a cheap card.  And now he is gone permanently, as to all intents and purposes are those that ‘replaced’ him, and that hope is lost and gone forever.

Anyway, I relayed this information to A last night, and then just sat and cried for a while.  My overwhelming feeling was of grief.  Grief.  This, and all these apparent projections, kind of affirm my belief from the other week that I am in mourning for the little girl that was in many ways denied her childhood.

A thinks the fact that I am feeling this and indeed even recognising it is progress, and I suppose in an objective sort of way it is, but the pain is raw and lately I feel horribly vulnerable and weepy all the time.  I am not looking forward to the next few weeks.

For the record, I still hold to the logical arguments against Christmas – the drunken revelry, the crowds and the commercialisation of a festival that, by rights, is applicable only to Christians (regardless of the fact that 25 December was originally a Pagan festival) does annoy me.  But I don’t think that is, in itself, enough to explain a feeling much stronger than ‘bah, humbug’.

* Although the smell of the candle was the main trigger, I was in something of a fragile mental state yesterday anyway; I’d had a minor car accident (my own stupid fault), I’d had a minor operation with LGP (a lump removal) and, most of all, I’d learnt something horrific from A.  On the night of the Sunday 22 November, a point at which I’d thought the psychoses had died down a little and that my moods had regulated somewhat thanks to the Olanzapine, apparently ‘They’ answered the phone when I tried to call the local Chinese take-away.  When A protested that ‘They’ weren’t there, apparently I went off my head at him, screaming and behaving like a wild woman.  I have absolutely no recollection of this whatsoever, though it must have been the night I made the ‘Bitch’ cut, because I discovered that on the Monday.  I was horrified because (a) it’s just plain nasty to A, (b) ‘They’ had always previously been in my head, not outside it – this is a bad ‘progression’ and (c) the amnesiac properties of this incident are frankly terrifying; who knows what could have happened that I wouldn’t later recall?

Admittedly, we had been drinking that night, but I remember very disctinctly phoning the Chinese the first time, then I recall nothing until later, when I was trying to get A to come to bed rather than sleep on the sofa.  Again, my recollection of this is distinct, so I don’t think the amnesia is alcohol-induced; it sounds like a dissociative episode to me.

On the plus side, when I saw Lovely GP yesterday I said that although I thought the Olanzapine had been,overall, a good thing, that the return to 75mg of Venlafaxine had hit me hard.  LGP told me to go ahead and start taking 150mg again.  He said that if VCB objects I am “to send her to [him] and [he] will take care of her.”  Love LGP.

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12 Responses to “Christmas Mourning”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Serial Insomniac, Serial Insomniac. Serial Insomniac said: New Blog Post: Christmas Mourning http://bit.ly/6QPYOu […]

  2. Found you from Kayla’s Twitter. (She is an Irish singer: Northern?).

    Hope “They” stay IN your head.

    Christmas has so many smells to it, mostly unique.

    It’s so hard not to have a Dad for Christmas: whether he be biological, adoptive, paedophiliac or psychiatric.

    The little girl inside you needs a hug or whatever would hold her. Hopefully she can cry, rage, whatever she wants or needs to do.

    That week of November is a triggering time.

    • Hi Adelaide

      Thanks so much for commenting – what a lot of whinging I dud yesterday; must have been on a bit of a downer, sorry! But good to have you here and thanks for commenting. I hope the ‘Angry Child’ will have the opportunity to get out too. She did recently, and will again I expect will again. The compassion thing may take time, but we’ll see.

      I’ll have to check out your blog.

      Thanks again for stopping by – welcome back any time 🙂

      Take care

      SI x

      • Caveat lector: (which you will probably know means, ‘Be careful reading’, in the style of ‘caveat emptor’)

        The blog was mostly made before my psychotic episode, and during the last 10 days of the blog (the 16th May 2006 to the 26th May), I was actively (and acutely) psychotic for the first time.

        You may also notice from the blog that I had a very sheltered/privileged girlhood and early womanhood, emotionally as well as materially. My Papa’s best friend had significant mood/psychoses, and in 2005 we discovered one of my beloved cousins had bipolar.

        It took a long time to be hurt, and it will take a long time to heal. For you, for me, for anybody and everybody.

        And I did read your history of therapies (12 pages of it all), and especially about the hypnotherapist. It took me a while to find.

        Papa and I had a talk about Jesus and what if he had turned out to be a girl. (The Christmas story would have been different). I don’t think Mary and Joseph would have gone on about “as long as he is healthy”. (Of course that is a very valid concern for a lot of parents, earthly and heavenly).

        Did you have any Nativity plays growing up? My first conscious memory of Christmas being Christmas was probably a slip-and-slide watery thing at a friend’s house, and then dressing up as an angel and Benjamin.

        It’s good that you use the proper names for the drugs, and not so much the trade names. And it was good that you read about First Signs and what they do and who they are.

        Also, today have read somewhere else about the commonalities between trauma and grief.

        If you are old enough to show pleasure and laugh, then you are old enough to express trauma and experience it.

        • Thanks Adelaide, you are very kind. I hope you are well on the road to healing – it will indeed take time for all of us.

          I haven’t read your blog yet but I certainly will. Thanks for the caveat re: your psychosis at the time – in an intellectual sort of way, it will be interesting to read that, though of course I am very sorry that you had to go through such a difficult experience.

          I did perform in a Nativity play when I was very young. To be honest I’m not sure which character I played – I think it may have been one of the Wise Men (oh, the irony!).

          Thanks again, and take care of yourself 🙂

  3. Good post. Thoughts: 1.Have you thought about sharing the sadness and the “they” incident with C (your therapist)? I think you’re right about the car accident and operation already tilting the scales against you, and then the candle being the straw that broke the camel’s back. 2. Some medications like Haldol and to a lesser extent Risperdol and maybe Lamictal make me weepy. Any little thing sets me off if I’m on enough of it, like now (because of the recent cortisone/voices incident). Perhaps the fault isn’t the weeper’s. Perhaps it’s the meds, or at least partly the meds. But DON’T mess with them. Just try to insulate yourself against the weepiness as best you can. You’re making progress, I agree. You should be proud of yourself! 🙂

    • Thanks CM 🙂 It could be the tablets I suppose (Olanzapine is my anti-psychotic, which I only started taking fairly recently). Perhaps it’s more a lack of meds though – I had my dose of the anti-depressant cut, and that didn’t go down well. My GP put it back up again, thankfully.

      I haven’t discussed this particular sadness with C, but I’m going to have to have the Christmas discussion out with him in the next week or two, so hopefully I’ll be able to express some of it then. Watch this space 🙂

      x

  4. Both Thanksgiving (as you read in one of my earlier posts) and Christmas evoke a sadness within directly due the abandonment factor. Oh, they are still around and celebrate it amongst themselves, but I am never invited to any of the holiday gatherings—the only time my extended family comes together. Every site, smell and holiday song always interject pieces of sadness. It’s not to say that I would even attend as my brother would be there, but the act of shutting me out really hurts

    • Yep, I hear you hun. I wish the lot of us could run off to some desert island and just all be our mental selves over this whole sorry season :-/

      • Great idea! I’m bringing the popcorn!

        If I have to hear one more Christmas carol piped in through the crappy loudspeaker at the grocery store, I’m going to shoot something. I’ve done it before…:)

        Fruit cakes make good shooting targets, btw. They’re also good for throwing at the next person who gets in your face and starts telling you you should be happy, without really stopping to find out why you’re not…sometimes I think bears have the right idea, hibernating through winter so they don’t have to deal with it all.

  5. Christmas sucks. I always find it difficult. Last year I was actively suicidal and had the crisis team out at 4am, this year I’m going to be spending it with the parents. I honestly don’t know which is worse.

    I don’t really have anything to say except hugsxxx

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