Understanding My Holiday Depression

Are holidays difficult for you? There are many reasons that a person may find holidays to be stressful or depressing. When you add chronic illness into that mix, there can really be some bad feelings associated with holidays.

We just had our Easter celebration on Sunday. After the meal, I felt sad and depressed. I just wished that the day could be over. I also felt this way a little bit during the Christmas holiday. Part of that reason is that the pandemic has caused us to stay home and not be able to see our extended family.

My adult children both live 100’s of miles away from us in opposite directions. They weren’t able to come and see us. One child’s wife was pregnant and they didn’t want visitors who might bring the virus. Another child was celebrating with a huge family gathering and people coming from all over the US to be together. No one would be wearing masks, so we just stayed home.

Because we weren’t vaccinated at that time and I am at high risk for doing poorly with covid, I feel all stuck and alone. My husband is now fully vaccinated and I am done with one shot. I still am not ready to venture too much out in town or to travel.

I started to realize on Easter afternoon why it was that the holidays were so depressing to me. I began to reminisce about Easters when the children were living at home. Easter was such a big day! Before Easter, there was lots of shopping. The children all had new outfits and shoes. It was the start of spring/summer dressing and in the South we changed from black shoes to white shoes.

I always planned Easter baskets for the children. There was hidden candy and little toys for each child and I tried to make the baskets look very festive with bows, colored grass, and their favorite treats. We had egg dying parties with the kids, too. We always used an egg-dye kit and the children had so much fun decorating their eggs exactly the way that they were inspired.

A large meal was planned for after Easter church services. I would cook from scratch and have a delicious meal. I always tried to make two desserts. The table would be decorated in Spring colors and maybe a bouquet of flowers. After eating the children would have egg hunts. We would hide the eggs at least two times and the children loved finding them. Sometimes they would throw their decorated eggs as far as they could, seeing whose egg traveled the farthest.

We would all be exhausted and full of sugar. But at the end of the day, we would smile and know that we had a great Easter Sunday.

Easter Basket

I realized that not only is my desire for that to happen again strong, but being empty nesters, I have nothing to do. I am a grandmother and would love to host an Easter dinner at my home, but I can’t do that. This pandemic has taken away that possibility for me. Another thing that breaks my heart is that I can’t make the holiday special for my husband, son, and me. All I did for the dinner was cook frozen food and have frozen dessert from the grocery store.

That just leaves me feeling worthless. I know that I’m not worthless, but the empty feeling is hard to handle. When you’re a mother, you’re always a mother. My desire to make a special day for my loved ones doesn’t leave just because I’m not strong enough to cook a delicious meal from scratch.

I think now that I realize why I’m so depressed after this type of holiday let-down, I can try to do better next time. I will be fully vaccinated in a few weeks, so thank the Lord I plan to travel and see my loved ones. I hope that I will be healthy enough to spend time with my grandchildren and be a good grandmother to them.

As we all have our ups and downs with the pandemic and with our chronic illnesses, I hope that we can look deep inside and see what our needs are. I hope that we can find something different to fill up our empty places. If I can’t do everything that makes me feel content, I plan to try and start some new traditions. I hope that you can also find ways to meet your needs. Reaching out others and sharing your feelings is the first step. It really helped me to share what I recognized in myself with my husband. I hope to be back in church soon where I can be involved in helping others and having others help me.

@2021, copyright Lisa Ehrman

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