Holiday Mood Swings

FamilyHolidays and birthdays are meant to be wonderful times filled with family, love and laughter. They are the days that many look forward to with great anticipation. As much as I wish I was one of those people, I’m not. For years I have been trying to figure out why this is.

On the days leading up to a holiday or birthday, I spend my time convincing myself that the day will be wonderful. I make up in my mind that I am going to wake up excited and happy, ready to spend a fun-filled time with my family; ready to make their day great.

Then, the day arrives and I immediately wake up in a bad mood. It’s not that I don’t like holidays. I do. I want so badly for the day to be a good day. But, deep in my mind I believe that it won’t be. That belief has resonated in my mind for as far back as I can remember.

Although I know this to be an issue, nothing I do seems to help it. No matter how much I work to change my mood, the holidays usually end in disagreements and at least one person going to bed upset. Yes. That’s me, the holiday wrecker. Maybe I’m a bit too critical of myself, but that’s what I feel like. It’s frustrating and I’ve always despised myself for it.

Yesterday morning was the same. Upon waking, I was instantly angry. No one was awake except me, and nothing had prompted my bad mood. It was just me doing it to myself. So, I grabbed my coffee and began assessing myself. Why was I angry?

I thought back to a conversation my Mom and I had earlier in the year, regarding this very topic. I had mentioned to her how miserable holidays and birthdays become with me around, and that I can’t seem to shake it. She told me of some past incidences that may be the cause.

I don’t recall everything she said, but the gist of it was that my first step-father used to make our birthdays and holidays dreadful. With his heavy drinking and arguments with my mother, those special days were stripped from us. Regardless of how well the day began, he always managed to ruin it by the end. For eight years of my life, that is what holidays consisted of; a great start that led to a terrible end.

Having learned that, perhaps the reason that I believe that those days will be miserable, is because they always were during my childhood. Someone always ruined them for us. So, naturally that’s what I expect to happen now. I never remembered the holidays or birthdays with my step-father and maybe that’s why. Perhaps I blocked them out. However, knowing this, it makes complete sense as to why I place doom upon every holiday or birthday before they even arrive.

So, as I sat there yesterday thinking back on that conversation with my mother, I finally had a reason for my bad mood. Having that reason made it possible for me to overcome it. I could almost feel my overheated blood cooling down, as my anger turned to happiness. At that point, I knew that it was going to be a good day, and it was.

That’s a huge victory in my book! On this Thanksgiving, I am so thankful to my Mom for explaining to me where this problem originated, so that I could finally move on from it. It was finally a ‘Happy’ Thanksgiving and I plan to have a ‘Merry’ Christmas.

How was your Thanksgiving?

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16 Responses to Holiday Mood Swings

  1. Cindi says:

    So glad to read the ending of this post … and the process and reason for the turn of your mood. Your Mom gave you a gift with her explanation, but it took a lot of personal strength to turn your mood around, even with knowing the reasons for it. I’m glad it was a good Thanksgiving for you!

    • mewhoami says:

      That’s true. I could have easily let it still bring me down. But, this thing has plagued me for way too long. It was so nice to finally have victory over it.

  2. April says:

    I have the same problem—I have been thinking about it for years. I also add anxiety to it. I wonder if I did enough, did everybody enjoy themselves, blah, blah. One thing I recognized was that I was expecting something from a fairy tale. Life isn’t like that. I have also recognized—after looking at photos from my childhood – to early adulthood. My mom was always depressed. Always. She would hide in bed, so birthdays and holidays were somber events, not happy ones. I did better yesterday. I asked for help when I needed it, and didn’t expect myself to do everything. I believe we had a good day. At least I wasn’t all tense and short tempered.

    Great job on your progress! I like how you stopped to assess your thinking. I’m learning how valuable a process that is.

    Glad you had a great day!

    • mewhoami says:

      You’re right. There is never going to be a fairy tale holiday, no matter how much effort we put into it. But, they can be definitely be good and making them that way is all about our attitude. It’s great that you have grown to understand where your mood comes from as well. It’s interesting how past experiences can have such a lasting impact on our lives. I’m very glad to hear that the day went better for you also. From what I’ve learned about you, I am positive that everyone loved their Thanksgiving and that you did an excellent job.

      Enjoy your day as well!

    • mewhoami says:

      April,
      Suzjones and I would like to include you (and anyone else who wants to join) in our Christmas Challenge. See her comment above -^-

  3. clayton paul says:

    May I say it is hard to picture you as a “holiday wreaker!” However, I must admit, I have a problem with some holidays myself. For me, it’s not exactly as you describe it here…no fights or upset bedtimes. But the days seem somehow difficult for me. I can’t get into the “mood” much of the time.

    I can’t explain it any better than that. However, I have learned to pick myself up and make sure I don’t become the reason why someone else doesn’t enjoy the gathering! Maybe that’s the best we can do sometimes. It’s something I have on my “self-improvement” list all the time!

    Clayton

    • mewhoami says:

      Well, perhaps I’m too hard on myself. I’m probably not a true holiday wrecker, but sometimes I do feel that way. I wonder what causes people to not be in the mood. Last night someone mentioned that maybe the cause for that, for some people, is that they don’t do certain traditions that they did while growing up. Therefore, we feel as though something is missing. I can see that as being a possibility, even in my on life. My holidays are nothing like they were when I was a child.

      Life is all about self improvement. Thanks Clayton!

  4. pardenme says:

    Yes! Good girl! :)

  5. Glynis Jolly says:

    I have always had similar reactions to the holiday season and still do. Fortunately, they haven’t affected birthdays. Like you, it’s because of the past that I feel this way, in particular my father. I won’t say anymore because this topic may make a good post for my own blog. ;)

  6. suzjones says:

    Well done you!! You should be so proud of yourself. :)
    I find that I become anxious at Christmas time because I want everyone to have a good time and I want everything to be perfect. Then I feel guilty if I sit down and spend time with others rather than being in the kitchen or doing something constructive.
    I think we all need to be kinder to ourselves. Let’s make it a challenge (including you April)… let’s have the most enjoyable Christmas ever!!! And not be anxious, sad or angry. ;)

    • mewhoami says:

      What’s interesting is that everyone else would probably love for you to sit down and enjoy the day with them. But, we’re just too hard on ourselves. I think you’re right. We need to be kinder to ourselves and let ourselves enjoy days like those rather than stressing over them. After all, everyone else in the house gets to enjoy them, right?

      Count me in and we’ll be sure to get April in on it too. Here’s to a Merry Happy Christmas!

      • April says:

        Certainly! I’m in! Last Christmas was a complete disaster. I even spent some time in bed (not on Christmas, but during the season). The words “I don’t even care if my cancer comes back” left my head, and out through my lips. Pretty upsetting for my husband.

        Anyway, no repeats of that this year. Let’s all remember to take a moment each day to center ourselves. Whether it is to meditate, listen to your favorite music, or read a great book. A little bit of time for ourselves each day. I’m sure that will help me.

  7. count me in for the Christmas Challenge!

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