"I sort of feel disconnected from everyone", Belly said softly. "Everyone's just so busy - I don't get time to talk to anyone."
Another friend wrote a blog post about feeling lonely in her own home, surrounded by kids and husband, despite the rapidly approaching festive season. 'It shouldn't be like this', she seemed to be saying.
I'm also feeling a little pensive. Belly was right - we get so busy attending Christmas functions (during which we buzz here and there, talk to this person and that, but rarely touch on anything more than the superficial) that we get stressed and harangued and lose the closeness to loved ones that we all so desire. We find ourselves sitting on the back deck with our beagles (or labradors, or Great Danes, or whatever!)
I always tell my patients that Christmas is never a good time to stop their anti-depressants. It's just too much. Too much family bickering, too many parties to attend and meals to cook, too much brandy eggnog, too many gifts to buy in crowded shopping malls, too many hours spent together in close proximity. We all adore the idea of Christmas .... it just doesn't always live up to expectations.
So if we aforementioned women - all women who have families who love us, challenging professions, plenty of food, safe homes, decent clothing, and good health - if we privileged and fortunate women feel inexplicably bereft with the approach of Christmas, then how do less fortunate women or men feel? How does it feel when your child asks for a remote-controlled jeep and you know the budget will only stretch to a supermarket Matchbox car? How does it feel to know the only Christmas dinner you'll be eating is baked beans on toast? How does it feel to know that your alcoholism/drug habit/mental illness has driven away everyone you ever loved, including your own family?
I don't know how it feels. I can only try to comprehend. I can try to comprehend, and then I can shake myself a little and put a minor mood swing into perspective. Because even if Christmas can become hurried and hassled, the goodness and giving is in there somewhere to be found. I'm going to sit and write some heartfelt Christmas cards tonight. I'm going to squeezehug my husband when he gets home from playing squash. And next week, Belly and I have a date for coffee, dessert and girl talk. Christmas is going to be flawed yet fabulous this year!
To all of you who take the time to read and to comment here - to leave witty, inspiring, empathetic or just plain silly comments on my blog .... thank you. Your support and friendship to me is one of the most truly Christmas-y things there is! And if any of you have been struck with a touch of the Yuletide Blues - fear not; you are not alone. I propose we all drink some spiced cider, hold hands in a circle (swaying a little from the cider), and sing "Auld Lang Syne" kind of off-key but spiritedly.
You are some of the most funny, interesting and kind people I have met. I am grateful to 'know' you.