I’m exhausted. And it’s only the start of December and work is getting busier and I haven’t wrapped all the presents and I have to pick up an order from the Amazon click and collect place and I need to book a dentist appointment and the house is a mess and I’ve only spent a couple of waking hours at home this weekend and there’s another party tonight and already there are things to organise for next year and there are 30 Christmas cards to write and post and the Post Office is closed for industrial action and there are just people and things all the time, everywhere, and I can’t even tell when I’m enjoying things and when I’m just pretending because it’s all just one big round of fun and it doesn’t stop.

By the time it’s actually Christmas I’ll go home to my parents for a week and just flop on the sofa because I’m burnt out. Even board games with the family feel like too much sometimes. And it’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year and I’m supposed to enjoy it. I’m almost resentful. Why does everything have to pile up so much at this time of year? What if I don’t want to have fun? Interacting with people saps my energy and apparently at Christmas *everyone* wants to meet up but I’ve had everyone at my desk this week asking what my SAD light is (Google it) and that’s enough people without having to go out after work too.

At the end of each day I come home to my husband, and he gets my worst side because all the energy I had is long gone and with him, unlike everyone else, I don’t feel the need to pretend to be cheerful when I’m not. Everything Christmassy seems to come in big doses except for time, and I have enough trouble dealing with the little doses everything is normally in. Also I’m fairly sure I am at least partly solar powered and there’s so little light now that even with the SAD light I’m wilting a bit. And there are still three weeks and office Secret Santa and the Rainbows’ Christmas party and the church carol service and I haven’t put up the tree and I wanted to make jam and biscuits and when am I going to do that, and it’s very exciting and everything but maybe I could sit in a box somewhere for most December and just come out for an hour or so of Christmas per day, maybe less on a bad day, and then it would be manageable.

But right now I’ve got to get ready for a party and then go to the party and then sleep and go to work and zumba and then work and Rainbows and then work and write all the Christmas cards and then work again and probably some other thing I’ve forgotten because having depression makes me forgetful and then work on Friday and then the in-laws are coming and it’s no fault of any of the people I have to spend time with individually but at some point I will just have to shut down. At university I felt like this a lot and used to come to group gatherings only to stare at the table and wish I was brave enough to admit I needed to leave – once someone told me off for resting my head on my arms at a pub in case they thought I was drunk (I wasn’t) and threw me out – but now I can at least do some inane small talk to appear like a well-adjusted normal adult person.

I wish it was more okay to be not okay – maybe this is only in my head, but don’t get me started on that – I’d rather stay at home than go out and feel like I’m making other people feel awkward by being quiet, or have to explain to fifteen consecutive people what a SAD light is, but coping mechanisms seem to be okay only as a blog subject and not as something I might do in public. Sometimes I would be happy to come out and just not talk to people and only drink water, but having to explain that is so draining that it’s easier to just put on the happy face or not go at all. I can help myself if I’m alone, or I can go out, but I can’t usually do both. At Christmas it’s the done thing to go out, so I do. The SAD light is a first step to openly helping myself whilst also being around other people and functioning sort of normally but it is so difficult, especially with everything else going on, and it’s not a magic fix because nothing is, and I’m just exhausted.

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