Repost of a previous blog
Dear Single Baby Boomers,
I’m proposing a new addition to the list of mental disorders some of us suffer. It’s a sibling of S.A.D., Seasonal Affective Disorder, which can occur during any season but is most often associated with the months when the days are shorter and there’s less daylight. I call it H.A.D., Holiday Affective Disorder. It has some of the same symptoms, but doesn’t last as long and can happen even during daylight savings time. I find it also occurs on Valentine’s Day, Easter, and your birthday. It’s especially severe during the longest holiday season which lasts from Halloween to New Years.
Now, it doesn’t just affect Single Baby Boomers, but we seem to be particularly susceptible to H.A.D. The symptoms include:
- Guilt-This can be exasperated by others or you can bring it on yourself. You feel that you should make everyone happy during these special days. However, for reasons beyond our control, be it money, time, travel problems or numerous other reasons, you just can’t accomplish this impossible task. Guilt weighs on you like too much whipped cream on your pumpkin pie. Wait, is that even possible? You can never have too much whipped cream, chocolate or ice cream, so don’t feel guilty about indulging in those.
- Disappointment-Some people don’t have the good sense to feel guilty about not filling your needs. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t tell them what you need and want. You may not even know yourself, but darn it shouldn’t they be able to read your mind.
- Anxiety-You’re not in a relationship during a family time of the year. You fear the judgment of others if you attend a celebration alone. Even if you’re with your family or friends, you really don’t feel that you belong. All or most of them have someone to cook for and clean up after every single day. The people surrounding you think it’s just not natural, even if you have a pet that depends on you. They all think that the only thing you think about is dying alone.
- Loneliness-You know that everyone thinks that during the holidays you’ll be sitting in your home wishing that you had a loved one with whom to argue and drive you crazy in other ways. Poor little you will be all alone reading a good book, walking in a relaxing, scenic place, or lounging in your P.J.s with a cup of eggnog binge-watching your favorite T.V. shows that you were too busy to watch when they aired.
- Irritability-You really hate how commercialism surrounds all holidays, especially Christmas. You shudder when you see Christmas decorations for sale before Halloween and Black Friday starting on Thanksgiving, making it impossible for retail employees to have the day off. I wonder if they’ll have the after Christmas sales start Christmas Day this year? You’re also angry that they use the religious aspects of the holidays to sell every product under the sun.
- Increased Appetite and Weight Gain-Although for some of us this can happen any time of the year, you’re now most susceptible to that stuffing and those Christmas goodies and pig out on every carb in sight. Who can blame you? The grocery stores are full of all manner of sweet treats and your family is telling you that you look thin since you don’t have to cook full meals for anyone.
If you have two or more of these symptoms, you may be suffering from H.A.D. and take it from a psychologist, these aren’t very emotionally healthy feelings to have on a holiday.
You know that I’m just being facetious and maybe a bit sarcastic, but there’s a hint of truth to all of this. During a time when the world thinks we should all be in a joyous mood, there are many of us who just don’t enjoy the holidays and can’t wait for them to be over. I guess we can take some conciliation from the fact that it doesn’t discriminate. It can affect pretty much anyone at any age, even those in a relationship, but it can leave you dreading the season to be jolly.
I believe that the older we get the more time we’ve had to experience sad events during the holidays or may be grieving over previously lost family members and loves, whether they are people or pets. We try to deny it or keep busy by doing the things recommended by experts such as; volunteering, giving gifts to the needy, partying, traveling, or finding some kind of entertaining diversion. Sometimes these things work. Unfortunately, not everyone is that lucky.
Two days this week I came upon children walking along singing Christmas Carols. The first day I just smiled at the girl, but today I told the little boy that I enjoyed hearing him sing. I hope that made him happy too. I know not all kids are fortunate enough to have a wonderful Christmas, but it gives me hope that there’s still a little of my childlike spirit left that allows me to enjoy the music, lights, and celebrations related to the season. We’ve all year to bemoan the problems in our lives and the world, so I’ll make a concerted effect to get over my H.A.D. or at least not complain to those around me.
I hope you enjoy the season no matter how you choose to celebrate it. Next time we’ll discuss how you feel about the holidays. Please leave your comments on this blog or my Facebook Page, Single Boomer Life.
I wish everyone happiness, peace, and goodwill.
Continue the adventure!