For many of us, the holiday season offers a second, or possibly third or fourth opportunity (depending how often a family gathers and how many family configurations exist) to try again and focus on what's really important at this time of year: cultivating a sense of gratitude whenever possible, practicing the art of self-preservation/care, and doing what we can to not make anything worse. For me, that sums up a good enough family gathering.
It's time to return to the holiday classics...including my personal guide to having a GOOD ENOUGH holiday season!
If I go by the arrival Christmas merchandise on shelves and the first time I hear “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" over a store’s sound system, the “most wonderful time of the year” begins in mid-September, and kicks off in earnest the day after Halloween.
Even so, I obstinately persist in defining “the holidays” as beginning around Thanksgiving and ending soon after New Year’s Day. As an adult, I’ve generally found that these six weeks stir up challenging emotions, as well moments of joy and togetherness. Sometimes simultaneously.
But when I’ve struggled with depression during the “hap-happiest season of all,” I become trapped in what a friend of mine describes as a “web of bad.” Really bad. Each crushing thought becomes twisted with another, and another. The silken threads of self-judgement intertwine and grow stronger. The web becomes bigger, stickier, and harder to escape. And everyone around me seems like they are on a different planet. A very merry planet.
Over the years, I’ve become aware that I’m not alone in my trepidation, or outright dread, of the holiday season. So I’ll be rolling out a series of blog posts as part of “Dawn’s Personal Guide to Having a Good Enough Holiday Season!”
Dawn Dreyer + special guests
Project Updates, Musings, Manifestos, Queries + Conversations
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
— Leonard Cohen
Thank you, Carolina Partners, for supporting CRACKED [the blog] and Bipolar Girl Rules the World.
For over two decades, Dawn Dreyer has worked as a writer, mixed-media documentary maker, and teacher. Since 2005, Dawn has been an outspoken advocate for herself and others with the lived experience of mental illness. Her current project is the animated documentary Bipolar Girl Rules the World.