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Being alone at the holidays brings a tsunami of massive sadness

Source: fizkes at

To all of you who are alone or feel alone on the holidays this year, please know that you are not the only one.  Perhaps your family lives far away or members have passed away.  Perhaps you don’t get along very well with some of them, they are dismissive of your illness and when you do get together it feels even worse.  So it’s better to keep a distance.  You know you have close friends, but at this time of year they all seem to be tied up with their own family gatherings.  You’re not a part of that.  You don’t feel really comfortable as a tag-along, inserting yourself into someone else’s family even when invited.  So you’re alone.  This year.  Maybe not next year.

It feels awful right now.  A tsunami of massive sadness.  There’s a hole in your heart where there should be love and joy.  You see other people or images on TV or social media engaged in the season and wonder “why not me too?”  You grieve the loss of a life you would have had if things had gone differently.  This I know.  You might feel like a social outcast if you’re the only one in your social circle who has this experience.   And there’s no escaping it.  Everywhere you go, from October to January, there are constant reminders of the holiday season.  Blaring music.  Cheap decorations and lights.  Signs for holiday sales everywhere.  Holiday chatter invades the conversations around you.

You could give up.  But aren’t you just a little bit curious about how your life will go, what might be down the road for you?  What opportunities there still might be?  Even if the past five, ten or twenty years have been miserable?

I don’t have any magic answers or magic pills today.  Only the idea that you have to get through today.  That’s not easy to do.

Here’s all I know.  Try to distract yourself.  Keep your body and brain busy.  Do something – go for a walk, or clean out that old junk drawer!  Better yet – reach out and help someone else.

And breathe.

One breath at a time.

For 30 seconds.

Then five minutes.

Before you know it an hour might have passed.

That’s how you are going to get through today.


Stay well!

A version of this article was posted on Psychology Today.

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