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Anyone else have trouble this time of year?

 
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Growing up on a farm, where multiple generations would gather for incredible feasts during the holidays maybe set an image in my mind of how thing should be...… huge table and side boards groaning under the phenomenal southern harvest... more domestic meats, game, fish, raw and cooked vegetables, casseroles, cakes, pies.... etc, etc... than you could count... my grandmother was the best cook in the county and everyone brought a dish.  Great aunts and uncles, 2nd, 3rd, etc cousins, great grandparents... neighbors...  lot of people somehow related, distantly... all showed up on my grandparents' farm to join in.  They are all gone now.  The farm is gone too.  I have a handful of older relatives, but my family reunions are all in the graveyards these days.  I had a rough time last Thanksgiving.... had a little too much wine and got a little sad.  This year, I decided to be stoic... drinking habits more disciplined.... just trying to get through it..... but holidays and Sundays are tough... when there isn't work to do and I'm alone.  Cooking for one is a fleeting pleasure.  I decided against a turkey, because one person can't eat it without getting very tired of it.  I though about a duck, but being used to wild duck, the "ducklings" in the grocery store seemed unnaturally huge!  I roasted a hen, made eggplant parm and a few other things.  Nights are long when you aren't drinking more than a glass or two of wine with supper.  There is nothing on TV.... and I do mean NOTHING.... how is it that we used to have more quality shows hen we only had 3 channels and PBS?  I decided to go to the coast to just walk around or fish, but hit a deer and wrecked my truck... dislocated my knee and tore an ACL.... I sent a few holiday wishes... family was vacationing in London.. "wish you were here".... a friend sent me a family holiday photo of the babies.... another said hi.  I'm just reading books on fungi, perennial vegetables, growing tropical plants in cooler climates... trying to stay somewhat busy... studying Latin... playing my instruments... I knew when I became self employed and chose a unconventional path, it wouldn't be as easy or as social....but sometimes it seems that "freedom's just another word for nothing left to loose and nothin ain't worth nothin but its free."  Oh well.  If you are in the same boat, keep your chin up.  My knee has cancelled hunting and trapping season.... but it will be time to plant peas and lettuces soon and the ramps will come up in April... maybe I can make the shad run... a shad roe omelet is one of those truly great things in life and something you can't buy in America anymore. Cold just seems to be colder these days and silence more empty.
 
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Hang in there WJ.

The holidays are hard for a lot of people.  Everywhere you turn (TV in particular)  there are reminders that this is supposed to be the season of family and warm interpersonal moments, only to find yourself sitting in a quiet house where you can hear your own thoughts rattling around in your head.  If you are at all lonely, that seems to be amplified by a factor of 10 at Christmas.  Years ago I worked in Africa, and i remember my first Christmas away from home. all by myself in a house while nobody seemed to give a rip that I was far, far from home.  That was horrible.  

Add to this that many people suffer from seasonal affect disorder.  The short days and long dark evenings, the cloudy cold weather, feeling cooped up (particularly with a bum knee like you've not got) . . . it all becomes a perfectly depressing cocktail.

You are wise to lay off the alcohol.  It's a depressant.  You don't need that to feed the blahs and the blues.  Move toward some sort of community.  Join the choir at the local church, as you'll have a bunch of rehearsals coming up for Christmas eve service.  That'll give you incentive to get out, wear a nice sweater, and exercise that leg a bit.  And, you know, sing Christmas carols.   If you're not a believer, that's OK.  Tell them that you are just a seeker and ask if it's OK to be a part of their community while you check things out.  Any good fellowship should invite you to join them.

Hang in there man.

 
Wj Carroll
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Appreciated - thanks.
 
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I'm sorry to hear you're struggling.  I've been there,  and as you know,  unpleasant doesn't begin to describe it. I can tell you what made me feel the best in a similar situation. I volunteered. Soup kitchens are good.   Another one we  have here is once a week,  some group or other makes a free meal for the homeless or whoever wants to eat.  It's held at the American legion. No matter what group it is,  they can always use help. I always do dishes.  I'm not much of a people person,  so doing dishes suits me.  I'm sort of alone,  but people are around to talk to, and feeding homeless people,  or especially elderly people, really feels like it makes a difference.  It's hard to leave at the end of the night not feeling better about yourself.  Being a Big Brother may be an option.  Helping other people seems to really help a person feel better about themself.

I wish you the best.
 
Wj Carroll
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Don't get me wrong y'all, I'm down but not out.  I know many, many people have things much worse.  I'm really very fortunate and blessed...  I go to church and I have been very active in charities, NGOs and ministries. I have a roof over my head and a little money in my pocket.   I'm working a contract job in a temporary place... have been moving around and displaced, doing this bit for quite a while - no connections to the community and no friends.   It just gets lonely.... nights, weekends, holidays.... But, it doesn't matter.... even if I had a wife, she could be a shrew and I'd be worse off!  ;-p    I really shouldn't have even posted this.  It is what it is.  Anyway, I just remembered this great old show, that is very much along these lines and always pleasurable.     https://youtu.be/y76ucVyTekE  
 
Trace Oswald
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Wj Carroll wrote:Don't get me wrong y'all, I'm down but not out.  I know many, many people have things much worse.  I'm really very fortunate and blessed...  I go to church and I have been very active in charities, NGOs and ministries. I have a roof over my head and a little money in my pocket.   I'm working a contract job in a temporary place... have been moving around and displaced, doing this bit for quite a while - no connections to the community and no friends.   It just gets lonely.... nights, weekends, holidays.... But, it doesn't matter.... even if I had a wife, she could be a shrew and I'd be worse off!  ;-p    I really shouldn't have even posted this.  It is what it is.  Anyway, I just remembered this great old show, that is very much along these lines and always pleasurable.  https://youtu.be/y76ucVyTekE



Knowing someone else is worse off than I am has never cheered me up.

Is a pet out of the question in your current situation? I find dogs are better company than most people 😊
 
Wj Carroll
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My little border collie is my best friend.  He ate half my roasting hen!  He's been with me 12 years, night and day - sleeps on my bed and never leaves my side.
 
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My family is all on the west coast, and I moved to the east coast 20 years ago. I have been alone through most all of the holidays since then.  It did bother me the first handful of years, but now it honestly doesn't bother me at all.

It can really help to plan something different for that day. As Trace suggested, if you want to be around people volunteer someplace. Instead of focusing on yourself, plan to make someone else's holiday a bit happier by volunteering at a soup kitchen, or maybe hooking up with a meals on wheels program or some other thing for lonely elders.

Watching TV is not a good idea since that just rubs in the whole holiday thing, watch movies/tv shows/documentaries on youtube or netflix instead. If you can find a good cable series that you enjoy you can binge watch it.

As far as cooking, I cook for one and have made two turkeys in the last couple of weeks (was on sale). Maybe I am selfish, but I find cooking for one very rewarding since I always happen to make my favorite dishes. Bought whole birds, bagged the wings/legs in the freezer for later, carved off the breast and roasted that in the oven then pressure cooked the lower part of the bird for the dogs (to supplement their kibble). If you divide it up it is very manageable and isn't a big hassle to prepare.

If you like animals and don't have a dog then consider adopting a nice older (mellow) dog that needs a home. Giving a dog that has had a rough time the comfort of a warm house and good meals is very rewarding for both of you and will make Christmas much happier.  Even makes things like cooking for one more enjoyable when you have a canine buddy waiting to lick the beaters, or clean the bowls.
 
Wj Carroll
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Oh my… I should really mention my remarkably bizarre knack for getting into trouble whenever I try to help someone!  In full disclosure... in the past I have worked both as a youth minister and with a UN group on human trafficking.  So, I've pretty much run the gamut from just helping out and being a mentor to seeing actually the most horrific and violent aspects of human nature.  Not much should surprise me and I should see trouble coming... but for instance...  the last homeless guy I helped told me he was "The Angel Gabriel", began following me around... like stalking me.... and the last hitchhiker I gave a lift to was actually on his way to kill someone.. he had a gun and was going to make me an accessory to murder...  I spotted a bar, convinced him that he needed a drink to steady his nerves, went to the bathroom and called the cops!!!  I really try to do my part... but this is a long term tend.... all my life, really, really dangerous, nutty people have been attracted to me... I don't know if I look kind or like an easy mark, or if it is just some kind of fate that they cross my path.
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Oh another thing that helps is playing music that you really like (probably stuff from your youth -- no xmas carols!). Also watching a comedy or stand up comedian that you really enjoy (they are all on youtube). Laughter fires off feel good neurotransmitters and can effect your mood for the rest of the day. Maybe even jot down various ideas so when you feel down you will have a list to remind yourself.
 
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Yes, being with the wrong person for the holidays is worse than being alone but that doesn't mean being alone is easy.  

And I empathize on the big family thing.  I have a large family of origin and SO many good memories around it.  It is easy to get maudlin thinking about how it was as a kid or even a couple years ago when my mom was alive and we would have so much fun baking and quilting together.

I actually still love this time of year and Christmas specifically even though I'm agnostic.  Carols, tree, lights, giving gifts, food, etc.  Lots of great traditions. But now most of my family lives far away so spending it with them isn't an option.  My solution is throwing myself into all the things I love about it (see above) in the days leading up to it and then on the day of, I pretend it is like any other day (when I don't have to go to work) and work outside on my various projects or watch Netflix or read a book, sleep in, make yummy (but not "Christmas" food - I make those on the other days) etc.  

Maybe next year will find me with a sweetie or with family but if not, this plan works for me.  If you were in the PNW I would suggest we get together for dinner and invite anyone else from here who wants to come.  Could be fun.  :)  Hope yours is better than you currently expect.
 
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Sonja Draven wrote:Yes, being with the wrong person for the holidays is worse than being alone but that doesn't mean being alone is easy.  

And I empathize on the big family thing.  I have a large family of origin and SO many good memories around it.  It is easy to get maudlin thinking about how it was as a kid or even a couple years ago when my mom was alive and we would have so much fun baking and quilting together.

I actually still love this time of year and Christmas specifically even though I'm agnostic.  Carols, tree, lights, giving gifts, food, etc.  Lots of great traditions. But now most of my family lives far away so spending it with them isn't an option.  My solution is throwing myself into all the things I love about it (see above) in the days leading up to it and then on the day of, I pretend it is like any other day (when I don't have to go to work) and work outside on my various projects or watch Netflix or read a book, sleep in, make yummy (but not "Christmas" food - I make those on the other days) etc.  

Maybe next year will find me with a sweetie or with family but if not, this plan works for me.  If you were in the PNW I would suggest we get together for dinner and invite anyone else from here who wants to come.  Could be fun.  :)  Hope yours is better than you currently expect.



That is where my brother and sister moved and lived, first my sister, many years ago,  then my brother just a handful of years ago.  So I have not seen her very much, a few times.  Where at in PNW do you live?
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Trace Oswald wrote:Soup kitchens are good.   Another one we  have here is once a week,  some group or other makes a free meal for the homeless or whoever wants to eat.  It's held at the American legion. No matter what group it is,  they can always use help.


I`ve done this, at thanksgiving and other times, and it just made me feel good, not even in some sort of "look how bad it could be" sense, but just to help someone.
When I was really, really down in the hole and work was the only thing that was keeping me together and the weekends were just too much to deal with, I found my local habitat for humanity chapter and I learned how to build things. I was happy to do the dog work nobody else wanted, and it kept my mind off things.
Maybe it is more just being part of something when you`re feeling especially isolated.

The cold, dark and holidays together are a lot to handle, particularly when you`re missing people who are gone. It was one of the reasons that I decided to move (an option that's not realistic for most people, I know). I hope you can find something that will make this time of year a little less hard.

Edited to add: the oddball magnet, bless your heart. My mother, me, and my daughter all have it too. We attract the (mostly harmless) nutters, anywhere we go. Had to teach my kid to not make eye contact/always wear sunglasses, because there is definitely something that makes people want to come up to us and spill their life stories as soon as you look at them. Not sure what they think we can do about it.
 
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If being around people is difficult, animal shelters can be an option. Often volunteers are headed out of town and they can use the help. Just dont come back home with all the critters.

Although WJ, if you truly have a bizarre knack for trouble, you may get bitten, peed on, etc😉
 
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Marco Banks wrote:Hang in there WJ.

The holidays are hard for a lot of people.  Everywhere you turn (TV in particular)  there are reminders that this is supposed to be the season of family and warm interpersonal moments, only to find yourself sitting in a quiet house where you can hear your own thoughts rattling around in your head.  If you are at all lonely, that seems to be amplified by a factor of 10 at Christmas.  Years ago I worked in Africa, and i remember my first Christmas away from home. all by myself in a house while nobody seemed to give a rip that I was far, far from home.  That was horrible.  

Add to this that many people suffer from seasonal affect disorder.  The short days and long dark evenings, the cloudy cold weather, feeling cooped up (particularly with a bum knee like you've not got) . . . it all becomes a perfectly depressing cocktail.

You are wise to lay off the alcohol.  It's a depressant.  You don't need that to feed the blahs and the blues.  Move toward some sort of community.  Join the choir at the local church, as you'll have a bunch of rehearsals coming up for Christmas eve service.  That'll give you incentive to get out, wear a nice sweater, and exercise that leg a bit.  And, you know, sing Christmas carols.   If you're not a believer, that's OK.  Tell them that you are just a seeker and ask if it's OK to be a part of their community while you check things out.  Any good fellowship should invite you to join them.

Hang in there man.



A big +1 to that.  I'm deeply troubled this time of year. I've got family, I'm pretty well-adjusted emotionally.  My problem is that after the time change, I get horribly absent-minded.  It took years to figure it out.  The doc finally pegged it:  Hypothyroidism.
I'm on a big dose of Levothyroxine every day, and it goes a long way to keeping me alert.  Without it, I'd sleep all day and live in a half-awake daze when I wasn't asleep.

I saw a documentary about living in Antarctica a while back. I think it was on NETFLIX.  THey've known for a century that folks that over-winter get weird.  They call it Polar T3 Syndrome.  That's kind of what I've got and maybe some folks here do to.  Cold saps your thyroid hormones which your body uses to keep you warm.  A deficit of thyroid hormones makes you all kinds of strange. For me, it's just really absent minded.  Others fall into horrible depressions, or drink to excess, or all kinds of other stuff.   I come back from Deer Camp every year cold and stiff and I spend the next month and a half trying to stay awake and be something other than a slug.  My family puts up with me, but it turns me into the absolute worst humbug when it comes to Christmas and New Years.  I start popping out of it around 15 January.

My advice to anyone who's having Holiday problems:  go get your Thyroid checked-- simple blood test.  If you're low on your T3 and T4 hormones, you may need medications.  Lord knows that little pill in the morning has turned my life back around.





 
Wj Carroll
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Tereza Okava wrote:We attract the (mostly harmless) nutters, anywhere we go. Had to teach my kid to not make eye contact/always wear sunglasses, because there is definitely something that makes people want to come up to us and spill their life stories as soon as you look at them. Not sure what they think we can do about it.



I'll put on my sunglasses "and see what they ain't looking at", LOL!
 
Wj Carroll
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William Allendorf wrote:

Marco Banks wrote:Hang in there WJ.

The holidays are hard for a lot of people.  Everywhere you turn (TV in particular)  there are reminders that this is supposed to be the season of family and warm interpersonal moments, only to find yourself sitting in a quiet house where you can hear your own thoughts rattling around in your head.  If you are at all lonely, that seems to be amplified by a factor of 10 at Christmas.  Years ago I worked in Africa, and i remember my first Christmas away from home. all by myself in a house while nobody seemed to give a rip that I was far, far from home.  That was horrible.  

Add to this that many people suffer from seasonal affect disorder.  The short days and long dark evenings, the cloudy cold weather, feeling cooped up (particularly with a bum knee like you've not got) . . . it all becomes a perfectly depressing cocktail.

You are wise to lay off the alcohol.  It's a depressant.  You don't need that to feed the blahs and the blues.  Move toward some sort of community.  Join the choir at the local church, as you'll have a bunch of rehearsals coming up for Christmas eve service.  That'll give you incentive to get out, wear a nice sweater, and exercise that leg a bit.  And, you know, sing Christmas carols.   If you're not a believer, that's OK.  Tell them that you are just a seeker and ask if it's OK to be a part of their community while you check things out.  Any good fellowship should invite you to join them.

Hang in there man.



A big +1 to that.  I'm deeply troubled this time of year. I've got family, I'm pretty well-adjusted emotionally.  My problem is that after the time change, I get horribly absent-minded.  It took years to figure it out.  The doc finally pegged it:  Hypothyroidism.
I'm on a big dose of Levothyroxine every day, and it goes a long way to keeping me alert.  Without it, I'd sleep all day and live in a half-awake daze when I wasn't asleep.

I saw a documentary about living in Antarctica a while back. I think it was on NETFLIX.  THey've known for a century that folks that over-winter get weird.  They call it Polar T3 Syndrome.  That's kind of what I've got and maybe some folks here do to.  Cold saps your thyroid hormones which your body uses to keep you warm.  A deficit of thyroid hormones makes you all kinds of strange. For me, it's just really absent minded.  Others fall into horrible depressions, or drink to excess, or all kinds of other stuff.   I come back from Deer Camp every year cold and stiff and I spend the next month and a half trying to stay awake and be something other than a slug.  My family puts up with me, but it turns me into the absolute worst humbug when it comes to Christmas and New Years.  I start popping out of it around 15 January.

My advice to anyone who's having Holiday problems:  go get your Thyroid checked-- simple blood test.  If you're low on your T3 and T4 hormones, you may need medications.  Lord knows that little pill in the morning has turned my life back around.







That is very good advice!  I used to get seasonal depression symptoms... maybe still do just a bit.  I use various herbs like St John's Wort, Syrian rue, 5 HTP (not an herb), and sometimes cook with a little saffron and such to boost serotonin.  
 
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I use 2,000 - 5,000 IU vitamin D3 a day to help the seasonal depression, and a lot of daylight spectrum lights in the house.

It's coming up on that time of year again isn't it? I'm going to volunteer at a Thanksgiving meal thing, I told them I couldn't be on my feet this year, and want to avoid crowds. I'll be packing the boxes that are being delivered. I can do that. I'm not up for waiting tables too, even though experienced waitresses are in short supply this year. Just can't do it this time.
 
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Hi Ms Pearl;

Just wanted to say... You are an AWESOME person! With all the things going on in your life / health you still have the gumption to go out and volunteer!

Hats off to you my friend!  

Hi to mom as a well , she must be awesome as well to have a daughter like you!

Happy upcoming turkey day/holidays  to you both!
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Pearl Sutton wrote:I use 2,000 - 5,000 IU vitamin D3 a day to help the seasonal depression, and a lot of daylight spectrum lights in the house.



I hit myself up with about 5000 IU of the stuff myself. I asked my Primary Care Physician about damage to my parathyroid glands, and she was like, "Oh we tested your blood levels and you are just a little low."

I said, "Do you guys even check the paperwork we fill out? If you did, you would see where I am taking 5000 units and am still low. What it would be like if I did not take any at all? Obviously there is a problem?"

It was not just for that reason, but a few others as well, that I felt compelled to fire her. I give Dr's 3 chances and then I fire them. I figure I would not still keep going to my mechanic if he could not fix my car after three tries, why keep going to inept doctor's? So I am without a primary care physician again.
 
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My son died a week before Christmas several years ago. It was as simple as driving to work in the morning. Nothing expected. It changed the whole holiday season for us. When you look at that season as lasting 2 months you can conclude that 1/6 of all life lost on average will happen over those 2 months, then add in extra casualties from depression or new years eve driving, i suspect it to average out more than any other 2 month period. The holiday season becomes a yearly reminder of those losses.

I don't think people in general understand the amount of hurt that goes on this time of year. I didn't.
 
Pearl Sutton
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I sorrow for your loss, Wayne.

The car wreck that splattered me across the highway was Jan 3, 1982. Sunday evening. Thursday was New Year's Eve, and the guy who blew the stop sign had been drinking since Thursday. We survived it, but I have permanent damage (as does the guy who was in the front passenger seat.) My parents really easily could have been some of the people grieving during the holidays. I'm incredibly hostile about drunk driving.
 
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Wj Carroll wrote:...and the last hitchhiker I gave a lift to was actually on his way to kill someone.. he had a gun and was going to make me an accessory to murder...  I spotted a bar, convinced him that he needed a drink to steady his nerves, went to the bathroom and called the cops!!!



Where's the "mouth drops wide open" emoji when you need it!!!  What happened in the end?  Did you stick around to see what they officers would do or fly out of there like a bat out of you know where???  
 
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wayne fajkus wrote:My son died a week before Christmas several years ago. It was as simple as driving to work in the morning. Nothing expected. It changed the whole holiday season for us. When you look at that season as lasting 2 months you can conclude that 1/6 of all life lost on average will happen over those 2 months, then add in extra casualties from depression or new years eve driving, i suspect it to average out more than any other 2 month period. The holiday season becomes a yearly reminder of those losses.

I don't think people in general understand the amount of hurt that goes on this time of year. I didn't.



I feel for you Wayne.  As some people here know, I lost my baby brother a few months ago. It's been terrible for all of us, but my mom especially is struggling horribly. She has said so many times since that day "a parent should never outlive their children".  We are still in the first year, so it's the first thanksgiving without him, his first birthday since he has been gone was not long ago, this will be the first Christmas without him, and on and on.  I don't have any comforting words, no advice that makes it hurt less, but my thoughts are with you.
 
Travis Johnson
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This is a terrible time of year to be on the roads. You have the issue of it being so dark all the time. Wildlife being driven into new migrating patterns by humans hunting them, rut, and a diminishing food supply. Then there is the weather with people who have not switched their cars over to winter travel yet like having good tires on their cars. People are not experienced in winter travel anyway. And towns are not really geared up to fight ice and snow on the roadways fully. Then you add to all that loneliness this time of year for some single people and you get an increase in drinking and drug consumption. Then of course there are more festivities at work, family gatherings, and other parties so there is more intoxicated drivers. And finally there is just a lot of stress...it all adds up to unsafe roads.

My 19 year old sister died from a car accident this time of year. I had just got done a 9 month stint at Ground Zero, and I swear to you as my dear friends, I got undiagnosed PTSD from that experience.

When you see all that death it kind of gets to you, and it is easy to get all despondent because it seems some of us have really got a crap-shoot in life, while others have had it so easy. But what I have noticed is, the people that have had it really tough in life, are also the most compassionate and understanding to others. I know I am.

When you compare that with some of the elite, like Paris Hilton it becomes readily apparent. I do not say this in jealousy of her, but because she (and others like her) have never faced hardship, they do not have a coping mechanism when things are beyond what they can control.

As hard as my life has been, seeing so much death at ground zero, losing my sister at age 19, losing a son, getting multiple forms of cancer, etc; it is also what has shaped me into the compassionate person that I am. As we approach Thanksgiving, as messed up as this may sound, all the hardships have really allowed me to be compassionate to others. I am thankful for it all because it has shaped me into the person that I am.
 
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I have always hated the holidays, as a child, it meant abuse. Now, with my grandson dying a few days ago, there will be no celebrations, nothing to be thankful for. We will be having his memorial service instead.
 
Pearl Sutton
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Stacy Witscher wrote:I have always hated the holidays, as a child, it meant abuse. Now, with my grandson dying a few days ago, there will be no celebrations, nothing to be thankful for. We will be having his memorial service instead.


Oh Stacy... I sorrow with you....  :(
HUGS HUGS HUGS
 
Pearl Sutton
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thomas rubino wrote:Hi Ms Pearl;
With all the things going on in your life / health you still have the gumption to go out and volunteer!


Something kind of cool came out of me and my issues here. Mom is the one doing the arrangements for this, she takes yoga class with the ladies who run this dinner thing. The demographics in this town is a very high % of older, widowed women. Someone heard mom telling the head lady I needed to not be doing the steps at all, and she told her "Hey, I could help too, I didn't volunteer because the steps are hard on me too!" So the system there has changed, it's now who is upstairs, who is downstairs, and we'll have runners between the floors who CAN do the stairs easier, and she got a whole new batch of people volunteering since it's not as hard for them to do! Accommodating me has opened up a whole new batch of people who will help :D

That is probably worth more than any work I'm doing, as it will probably be done that way from now on.
 
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I get very gloomy this time of year.  Once in a while, when things "seem" particularly down, I'll listen to some sentimental music or videos/movies to sort of head into the storm so to speak.  Sometimes I just sit with the experience and observe it.  In fact I thought the depression was going to pass me by one year and I was actually dissappointed.  For me it simply adds to the richness of this human experience.
 
Wj Carroll
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I didn't know this post was still active - glad to know it is helping some folks!  I guess an update would be appropriate, since a year has passed.  I'm doing much better, even though life has thrown me quite a few curveballs this year....  several disappointments, illness and injury, setbacks, etc… but, I'm dealing with things a little better.  I basically hit a breaking point just before Easter.  Physically, I let my self get so worn down that I was getting close to crisis and emotionally I was nearing the end... sadness and frustration turned to rage.  So, a bad night ended up in a multi-hour drive to the beach to see the sunrise and a moment of decision.  It was time to put the past behind me and move on... grow up.  I started praying the Rosary daily while walking my dog.  Things got more bearable.  I started some online classes on Permie stuff, and a great online PDC... and a daily routine of doing classes, reading the Bible and reading big horticulture, herb, etc books rather than watching tv.  I met a really nice girl who delights in making me happy.  A lot of this probably sounds very simple and situation... but quite a bit is due to a change of attitude.  I still don't have my farm.. most of my projects, including crops, this year have failed... and I'm still struggling with a lot of things, including finances and health.  But, when I stopped trying to make things happen and just figure out how to be content and grateful with each day, things got a lot better.  Life has ups and downs.  I guess the trick is learning how to not let the downs get too low, choosing to respond differently.  Had I not changed my outlook, I never would have taken the chance and gotten to know the girl I'm dating - she is 20 years younger than me!   Oh, and I got a new (100 year old) banjo, for a crazy bargain price, and learned to make pierogis… how could I not be happy?  As for the person who commented about their son being killed near Christmas, and the one whose grandson died, my heart breaks for you; I am truly sorry and I hope you don't mind if I pray for you and them (I know that may seem strange if you aren't Catholic, but that is our tradition).  And, as for the homicidal nut-case I picked up hitchhiking that time... turns out he was just out of jail on violent charges, and went quickly back in.  … but, I didn't even mention the one who thought he was the "angel of death" and turned out to be on leave from a mental institution.   Yeah, I've had some adventures!  But, I still try to help folks.
 
Trace Oswald
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Stacy Witscher wrote:I have always hated the holidays, as a child, it meant abuse. Now, with my grandson dying a few days ago, there will be no celebrations, nothing to be thankful for. We will be having his memorial service instead.



So sorry to hear this Stacy.  My thoughts are with you.

Just wanted to add, I read "A Grief Observed" by C S Lewis, and it helped a little.  C S Lewis writes about losing his wife.  I found it very moving, and while nothing helps a lot, I thought it helped a little.
 
Stacy Witscher
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Thank you Trace, and everyone else who's been there for me in this difficult time.

We had a simple thanksgiving dinner last night, and my daughter was able to toast her son. Thanking him for being a part of our lives, if only briefly, and acknowledging how he made us all better people. She is determined to honor his life with giving back to others, and creating a better world, as am I.
 
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I was born on one of the holidays. My mom died just before my 4th birthday, the person hired to take care of me was an abusive alcoholic and I got PTSD before 5. After mom died holidays were a social custom. Dad died on my 29th birthday. My best friend 3 weeks after that.

Holidays were never the wide family much loved, warmth etc. celebration. A few of us tried, but it was always form, not substance.

We can go to dh’s family celebration, any time we want to drive 1/2 way across the country. But that’s difficult these days as politically were on opposite sides.

Yes, it gets a bit lonely every now and then. But a few years back I realized I was “missing” something I’d actually never had. Charles Dickens and Madison Ave. had sold me a bill of goods!

I’m glad you’re doing better, sounds like it’s a LOT better. Good for you! It’s hard to pull yourself out of a funk and turn it around. I know. Bravo!
 
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I would just like hot water and a shower this year.  I have given up hoping for a kitchen, to see my family or that my poor old dog will start behaving herself.  Being clean and being able to wash up indoors are my two main ambitions now.
 
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Mandy Launchbury-Rainey wrote:I would just like hot water and a shower this year.  I have given up hoping for a kitchen, to see my family or that my poor old dog will start behaving herself.  Being clean and being able to wash up indoors are my two main ambitions now.



Hi Mandy, I have to admit that yesterday I was so depressed that all I could do was be thankful for my hot shower. I am an orphan, thankfully very happily married, but we are both only children and have no children. My husband had an ideal childhood, but his mother died 15 years ago, and he has a very distant and strained relationship with his dad. We have no family to spend holidays with, his father spends his with his girlfriend and we are not invited. I never had problems with holidays from my 20s into my 40s, I was tough and driven and just too punk rock for that ;) But now that I am nearly 50, and my father was found on the streets of LA after being missing for more than 20 years, then died in 2018, and something in me has changed. This is it? In just about every way I should be happier than I have ever been after such a traumatic life of abandonment, abuse, homelessness, seeing things no one should have to see and experience. But I've always been ok, became "successful", and for what?

So, a hot shower, a clean and warm bed to sleep in, my dog to cuddle, a tiny backyard to dig in the dirt. I try to be extremely thankful for that and make it through another day. Maybe it's menopause, maybe just being closer to death than birth, or just being lonely (while being surrounded by people all day every day...), I'm not sure. But I hope you get your hot shower.
 
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I find the holidays troubling but for a different and perhaps opposite reason.  I am by nature a solitary person, always have been.  I am not an introvert.   I am not shy.   I am quite capable of being social and can enjoy being with others.  I simply prefer to be alone.  

For me the holidays are a time of invasion:  of invitation to activities I don't want to become involved with, of well-meant inclusion that I would rather not be extended to me.  

Over the years I've gotten better at saying no, but I can never seem to get it across that I'm not unhappy and depressed, that in fact I'm joyously immersed in my own activities and space. Unfortunately, when it comes to family and closest friends -- people who say they understand and yet, with love and best intentions, still want me to be with them for holiday celebrations -- it's even worse.  I feel guilty at resisting and I resent that, too.  

I've gone along with what everybody else wants to do for most of my life.  Surely it's my turn to live my life the way I want now?

So to me the holidays are an extended period of stress, of not wanting to be rude but resenting the pressure on me to join.  Gah!  
 
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