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Getting Through the Holidays

By Dorothy Snodgrass
Wednesday December 30, 2009 - 09:13:00 AM

As one inclined to be a bit neurotic even under the best of circumstances, I must confess that the Christmas holiday season sends me dangerously close to the brink—not exactly bi-polar, but fairly close.  

This melancholic state descends on me every year beginning with Thanksgiving. I guess it’s all that hullabaloo about “Black Friday,” Christmas carols repeated over and over in markets and shopping malls, with “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer” taking the lead, and, of course, evening news coverage of shoppers hauling carts loaded with merchandise. It’s the crass commercialism that I find so offensive. The real meaning of Christmas is somehow totally lost in our age of consumerism. 

This is the season when nostalgia sweeps over me, taking me back to my childhood and the wonder of that very special holiday. I recall the thrill of being in a nativity play when I was in the 5th grade, cast as a very unlikely Virgin Mary. Oh, and the joy of walking to Midnight Mass on newly fallen snow (this was in the Midwest). I no longer attend Midnight Mass, for two reasons—one, I probably couldn’t stay awake and, two, I might very well be mugged walking to Newman Hall on College Avenue. 

The fact that I live alone and have no family undoubtedly adds to my low spirits. Forgetting that I’m not the only one in this predicament, I absolutely wallow in self-pity, completing overlooking that I have a host of wonderful friends. In fact, it’s these concerned friends who have gently suggested that I think of asking my doctor for an anti-depressant. At first blush (I like that phrase), this sounded like a darned good idea.  

But, after considerable research in legal journals on such medication, I had strong reservations. Noting the possible side effects, the blood turned cold in my veins! The two anti-depressants I looked into listed such side effects as nausea, confusion, hallucinations, abnormal dreams, constipation, and, get this—suicidal thoughts! 

Deciding that constipation and suicidal thoughts are not for me, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m better off being depressed. The dreaded holidays occur just once a year so I, like millions and millions of other people, will survive the “season to be jolly.”