Gransnet forums

Christmas

Dreading Christmas

(24 Posts)
SueSocks Sun 09-Dec-18 00:35:31

I really dread Christmas & the run up to it. As a child, Christmases were always tense times with parents arguing.
I have suffered anxiety & depression for years, normally I cope, but cannot cope with social events. I go to 3 music groups & 1 sports group, all are having Christmad get togethers, I feel so anxious that I just cannot go.
I worked in the same place for 30 years & never once went to a staff social event.
My depression gets worse this time of year. Music groups are fine but the sports group is full of people going on about the amazing things they do with their families.
I would love to be sociable & make friends, just cannot do it, whatever group I go to, I always feel on the outskirts of it. No doubt that last sentence will prompt some people to lecture me about making an effort - believe me I have!
Is it just me or do other people feel the same?

grannyactivist Sun 09-Dec-18 00:49:32

Some other people do feel the same SueSocks. I used to be very anxious about meeting people socially when I was younger, but as I got older I developed strategies for dealing with social situations.
Click on the link for some practical things that may help you.
www.anxietycanada.com/sites/default/files/adult_hmsocial.pdf

Grandma2213 Sun 09-Dec-18 00:53:07

Like you I think I associate Christmas with tension and disappointment because of my childhood experiences. I still don't like Christmas despite having children and grandchildren but have learned to 'put on an act' and try to make it good for them.

Luckily I have never had the problems with depression and anxiety that you have, though I have been very miserable at times with medical expressions of anxiety such as migraine. I was very fortunate to have a workmate/friend who is very sociable and loves such occasions so I copied her actions and have learned to talk to people about nothing really, at work, in shops, at the gym, at my choir and so on. I still am always at the edge of things like you and have few real friends but I have a lot of acquaintances who probably wouldn't guess how I really feel.

This may not help you as we are all different but there are only a few who are the life and soul of a party and it is my understanding that they may well be dealing with similar problems in a different way.

Chewbacca Sun 09-Dec-18 00:53:58

Sorry to hear you're not looking forward to Christmas Sue. I'm not brilliant at social events either and I actively avoid anything that has a "committee arranged" event because I feel so awkward and out of place. I did attend a work's Christmas do some years ago, probably because I hadn't been able to come up with an excuse beforehand, but I've never repeated it since. I no longer feel the need to attend any social function that I don't want to go to. Nor do I offer excuses any more. If you don't want to attend, for whatever reason, don't be pressured or made to feel that you're "being miserable". We're all different.

boheminan Sun 09-Dec-18 07:18:10

There seems to be so much pressure at this time of year to be socialable and yo-ho-hoey! tchconfused.

Not everyone wants to be the centre of attention at social 'dos'. It's nothing to do with being miserable and stand-offish but more with how we cope with different situations. Extroverts love the limelight, Introverts will do anything to avoid it.

Don't beat yourself up over this SueSocks. There's a lot of good advice out there for introverts on how to cope with this mad, loud and demanding world. There's a lot of us hiding in ourselves, quite happily finding solace in silence. You aren't alone....

Telly Sun 09-Dec-18 11:25:11

As has been suggested, I would look to get some practical help that will make you enjoy your life more and feel more at ease. One thing to remember though, is that we are all the star of our own show. People are not really looking at you, they are more interested to see if you are looking at them. Equally people love to talk about themselves, so try to be interested in other people. Pretend to be confident, people won't know the difference and you will find your confidence increases. Questions that start with When, Why, Who, Where, How etc. usually keep things flowing. Just some ideas, but remember even th most confident person will have lots of self doubt, they are just good at covering it up.

Grandma70s Sun 09-Dec-18 11:42:06

I am fairly confident, I think, and not at all shy, but nevertheless I avoid social events such as parties where there is no aim other than being sociable. I find them a bore. When I was younger I felt obliged to go to them, but now I mostly just do as I like. I’d rather be on my own than do small talk, although I am not bad at that sort of talk if it’s unavoidable.

Telly’s advice is good, if you want to be sociable.

seacliff Sun 09-Dec-18 12:22:15

Sue, I am sure many people feel as you do, they just hide it.

If it didn't bother you, that would be OK. We are old enough now to please ourselves, and choose what events, if any, we want to attend.

Personally I never go to the official works do now, even thought people try to persuade me. I prefer to go out with people I like.

However you seem to really suffer for some weeks beforehand, and that's not good. I suppose you have to ask yourself, do you actually want to get some help to try and overcome these lifelong feelings, so you can at least be less upset by the festive period?

Or, could you change your mindset a bit, and just accept it's not your favourite time, but it will be over soon. Could you just give yourself a treat or two, and relax and don't bother about what others think.

Many, many people SEEM to be having a wonderful time, but if you really talked honestly to them, you'd find all sorts of issues and problems going on, under the jolly façade.

oldbatty Sun 09-Dec-18 13:44:32

Hey Sue, it is not compulsory to force yourself to enjoy things. If you have depression , you have done brilliantly to go to clubs and social activities.

I have a friend who volunteers at Christmas and you have to put your name down in the summer to make sure you get a place!! ie there are thousands of people who don't enjoy the time of year and would rather be occupied.

You are not alone.

M0nica Sun 09-Dec-18 16:48:55

I worked in the same place for 30 years & never once went to a staff social event.

I never worked anywhere for 30 years but I recognise it. I always felt more isolated atending these events than missing them.

The solution is just accept yourself for what you are, if you do not want to go to social events don't. In the end I just accepted myself for what I am and accepted that it can go with isolation and loneliness, but it is better than pretending.

starbird Sun 09-Dec-18 17:19:22

I am happy to be with small groups of people I know but feel the same about larger gatherings. In spite of pressure to join in I tell them I am not going because there’s too many people and it’s my idea of hell!

Cherrytree59 Sun 09-Dec-18 17:55:46

Suesocks My anxiety starts every September.
I'm sure if a lot of us, well me anyway would get through the festive season so much easier if we lived in the Southern hemisphere.
Longest days instead of shortest, no SAD,
Outside parties instead of inside in each others pockets.
Less chance that the secret Santa includes a cold virus.

I have swapped festive meals to lunch times, only going to one evening meal next week as a friend would miss out if I did not accompany her.

Agree with others who say just accept what your head is saying and your heart wants.

Yesterday I ventured in to a supermarket, a place I try to avoid in December, through all the decorations and christmas tat, I saw bowls of hyacinths and other spring bulbs it lifted my spirits.🌼

oldbatty Sun 09-Dec-18 18:13:11

I suppose like other aspects of life it has to be managed. It is quite insane to expect the entire population to suddenly turn happy on one of the darkest days of the year.

Framilode Sun 09-Dec-18 18:13:17

I always have the feeling of dread as Christmas approaches and it is the same for my birthday. It all goes back to childhood with parental rows and silences. my husband loves Christmas so I have to put on some sort of a show but if it was left to me I would just ignore it.

It is always a feeling of relief on Boxing Day when I think it is over for another year.

I am also the same about large gatherings. I am considered the 'life and soul' at these things but that is because I have had too much to drink in order to face it.

I wish I were different but know it will never change for me.

I feel for you.

oldbatty Sun 09-Dec-18 18:15:44

Oh Fram, I get your drift really.

SunnySusie Sun 09-Dec-18 19:41:20

I can identify with much of what you say SueSocks so you are not the only one to feel like this. The first group we interact with is our family and those early experiences can colour our interactions as adults. My family was disfunctional and I learnt to be anxious in group situations having spent so many hours, days, months and years being anxious in the first group I was ever a member of. I am never at ease with groups even now, unless they have a purpose other than simply 'socialising'. You say you would love to be sociable and have friends, but you dont need necessarily to be in a group to do that. I have friends, I just dont maintain friendships via groups. With one or two people its absolutely fine. So I volunteer in an activity which takes place every week with just a one person. I go out walking every week with a different person. I focus on meeting people through doing things. I studiously avoid coffee mornings, drinks receptions and Christmas 'dos'.

M0nica Sun 09-Dec-18 19:56:24

Quite often the feeling of being on the outside looking in tells us more about ourselves than the people we are with.

I suspect as far as they are concerned we are part of the work group, no different from any other staff member. They might identify us as being a of a loner, but I think that the feeling of isolation and exclusion exists in us and not the people we are with and all we can do is learn to live with it.

Lesley60 Thu 13-Dec-18 13:10:40

Hi Suesocks
I think there are probably more arguments within families than we realise, but you probably won’t hear your work colleagues talking about those.
I’m just wondering if you have considered counselling for your bad childhood memories, I’m not saying it would turn you into a social butterfly but it could help with putting those memories in the past where they belong and help improve your confidence.

oldbatty Thu 13-Dec-18 14:27:56

Relate has an absolutely massive increase in demand for their services post Christmas and there are others who find themselves very very low.

Cabbie21 Thu 13-Dec-18 14:47:52

I think some of the pressure is beforehand, people asking if you are going, if not, why not, etc so you could just say yes, then not turn up ( provided you don’t have to pay up front) or you could claim to have something else on, or you could pick the one where you think you will cope best, where you like the people who are going to be there and try to make it work for you. I have done all three in the past. The most recent one, I went, had a bit of food, found there were few people I knew and lots I didn’t so I just left after a bit and it did not matter in the slightest. Hope this helps.

Gonegirl Thu 13-Dec-18 14:55:28

I've always hated social events. Avoid them like the plaque. Much prefer family get-togethers. Nothing wrong with that. Just the way you are.

Aquamarine Wed 19-Dec-18 19:55:02

It's not just memories that can hinder Christmas .
I would love to spend time with my GC what granny wouldn't, but am not allowed, never have been, my AC says what goes, all media at Christmas says it's about families and spending time together.
I would dearly love to but this has been taken away from me , not my chouce, just sad, a sad time , I know my GC would like to see me too. No compromise, nothing, just so sad all round. Any coping mechanisms would be appreciated. 😉

BlueBelle Wed 19-Dec-18 20:25:03

I have all my life felt I didn’t belong anywhere how strange I had a good childhood bit isolated being an only one but nevertheless love and all I needed I ve learned to act well and everyone thinks I m bright and full of fun but it’s all a big act and inside I just can’t wait to get into the safety of my own home
So Sue you’re not alone xx

Dontaskme Thu 20-Dec-18 07:25:10

Aquamarine have a look at/post on the estrangement thread in Relationships, you will get support I'm sure.
Sadly there are a lot of us in the same situation as you and we understand how you are feeling.

All the best to everyone who find this a difficult time of year.