For some of us, it’s not the most wonderful time of the year.
You can feel it brewing in the air sometime before Halloween. By Thanksgiving, it’s lying in wait, just around the corner. That’s right: Christmas is coming. Cue the violin music from Psycho.
I don’t want to sound like a Scrooge, but for those of us who suffer from anxiety, the holiday season can be a stressful time. There’s so much pressure to make everything perfect – there are cookies to bake, trees to decorate, parties to plan, glamorous outfits to pick out, office party politics to navigate, Secret Santa gifts to buy, relatives to visit…the list goes on.
For the anxiety-prone, the whole thing can leave us sobbing into our eggnog in our fuzzy Santa pajamas, binging on all eight seasons of Gilmore Girls and eating cookie dough straight out of the bowl.
Here are 13 things that positively suck about Christmas if you have anxiety – and maybe even if you don’t. Pass the Klonopin, please…
1. Shopping malls are hell. The Muzak, the germs, the fluorescent lights…it’s all too much. Seriously – we just want to get in and out of there as fast as humanly possible.
2. We have to see our relatives. Enough said.
3. What if we don’t like what our SO gets us? Will our fake smile be convincing enough? Does anyone really know us at all? What’s wrong with us, anyway?
4. The crafty-lady homemaker pressure is on. Listen, stringing popcorn and cranberries is not as easy as it looks. Take it from us and our bleeding fingertips.
5. Ditto for baking pressure. Add a few burns to those bleeding fingertips, and find us weeping over our failed Pinterest creations.
6. People expect us to show up for a lot of events. Office parties, gatherings with friends… it’s nonstop, Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. Sometimes, we just can’t do it.
7. Our doctors go on vacation. Just when we need them most, our therapists and GPs are suddenly unavailable for emergency visits and medication refills.
8. If we have a party, we’re stressing about the guest list. I can’t be the only one looking over my Facebook friend list for the 37th time, making sure I didn’t accidentally leave anyone out of my invitation list, can I?
9. We remember all the failures of Christmases past. Every embarrassing moment, every slight, every family squabble: it’s like a litany running through our heads, when we’re just trying to kick back with family and enjoy the season.
10. Someone is going to get mad at us. We don’t know why, and we don’t know when – we just know it happens. Every. Damn. Year.
11. We’re going to get mad at someone else. All that stress has to get taken out on someone, right?
12. What are we going to do on New Year’s Eve? We’re worrying about this long before Christmas, whether we’ve managed to cuff ourselves a boyfriend or not. The whole next year could hinge on how it gets kicked off that first night. Oh, the pressure.
13. The post-Christmas letdown. Yeah, we know Christmas sucks. But we’re still sad when it’s over. And anyway, Valentine’s Day is coming up next. Talk about the worst. Wake us when the holidays – all the holidays – are over.
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Comment: What makes you anxious most about the Christmas season?
Elizabeth lives in Brooklyn with two daughters, occasional mice and innumerable to-do lists. She runs a nine-minute mile, bakes a mean chocolate chip cookie, and can always be persuaded to sing at a karaoke bar. Follow her on Twitter.