Sometimes, a little holiday cheer is all you need to function

Depression Might Make Me Lose The 50% Of Willpower I Need To Put In, But A Christmas Tree Brought It Back

Sometimes, a little holiday cheer is all you need to function.

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I have bipolar 1 disorder which basically means my depressive states are a lot worse than my manic states and a lot longer. This is not a clinical definition by any means, it's just me describing my version of my disorder to you all, but the point is I am more often depressed than I am not. I could go on forever about how bad depression feels, but here's a plus point: I'm currently sitting at my computer writing this article as opposed to popping a Klonopin and deciding to do absolutely nothing. There's a reason for that.

My psychiatrist and psychologist say that 50% of recovery is the medication and 50% is willpower. Whether that be exercise or just doing something like going to museums or the zoo or painting or singing or just anything. Something to keep your brain active. Today was a particularly rough day. I woke up and took my medication and the Klonopin 0.25mg just wasn't working. I was pessimistic, didn't want to do anything, and kept kicking the box that contained the brand-new Christmas tree that we had to assemble. After about thirty minutes of pleading my mother reluctantly got me to take a Klonopin 1mg pill.

The thing about taking higher dosages of Klonopin is that it tranquilizes you and the only thing I could do was go to sleep, and I pretty much slept the entire day. This is a problem because the 50% of willpower that I was supposed to put in was nonexistent and then I felt bad about not doing anything. Then I caught sight of the Christmas tree box. As a little backstory: Christmas time is my favorite and my favorite part of Christmas is the Christmas tree.

I was extra excited to put up the tree because we got rid of our old seven-foot tree and ordered a nine- foot tree. That's more tree to love. When you're depressed it's hard to do anything, but that tree just called out to me and on a whim, I tore open the box and began assembling the tree. This was my first year buying an unlit tree, so I was a bit hesitant about the whole endeavor, but after a quick trip to the store I ended up with 600 lights and about 100 new ornaments. This was the willpower I was missing all day.

We put on Sinatra's "Ultimate Christmas" playlist on Spotify and began to assemble and decorate this tree, and let me tell you, it felt great. The tree came right on time, and I don't mean Amazon Prime did their duty, I mean to say that some higher power knew I had been in a depressive episode all week and delivered that tree right before I saw the doctor.

I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow, and I intend to show him that although the medication is not doing it's full 50% because it needs to be titrated carefully and slowly, I found the 50% of willpower I need to keep me feeling happy for the time being.

It may not last, but these moments of happiness are what I live for in the midst of depression.

Update: I wrote this article before my medication, Lamictal (a mood stabilizer), was titrated to 50 mg from 25 mg, but after it got titrated my depression has gotten a lot better, however, in the time that it was being titrated, in that transition period, the Christmas tree was truly only one the things that helped me feel better and more energized. That's to say, despite the fact that the 50% willpower I'm putting in is finally back on track, it was the Christmas tree that helped me get there. Happy holidays everyone!

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An Open Letter To Someone That Doesn't Want To Live Anymore

Please read further if you need to.
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Hello,

I’ll begin by saying that I don’t have the right things to say to you. I know that you are in pain. I know that you think your life is no longer worth living. No amount of advice I have can fully remove what you are experiencing. So instead, I am here to tell you a story.

The first time a certain young girl had an experience with suicide was when she was in 8th grade. She went to school as usual, getting dropped off at the front entrance with some of her friends. She walked in and the topic of conversation was a boy in the high school. The night before, he had killed himself. She had never met him. She knew some of his family members, but not once did she have the opportunity to experience conversation with him. And yet, though she did not even know who he was at the time, she was floored. She hid herself in the bathroom to cry, shaking uncontrollably within the stall. It was incredibly painful for her to know that someone had been so sad that he felt that he didn’t want to live his life anymore. She knew that he never would have expected her to care. She was a girl almost three years younger than him, someone he had never met. But as she cried within the halls of their connected schools, she wished that he had somehow known that his life had mattered to her.

As you have probably concluded, I was that 8th grader. But this story isn’t about me. This story is about you.

I’ll go further. Every person that has taken their own life that I have known has affected me. And every person that has taken their own life did not know me well. I was not particularly close with any of them at the time of the occurrence. This is important, so please consider this: A girl that had never met the people who committed suicide mourned their death. She fell and questioned everything she knew because of their choice. She became depressed because of the death of someone whom she was not friends with at the time. She eventually started to feel the same way they had. And I know that someone, somewhere, whom you have never actually met, will mourn the loss of you. Please don’t take that idea for granted.

You matter. You might not want to be alive right now—but you are. Maybe you don’t think about how it will affect your mom, who will cry in her bed each night wondering how she could have overlooked your sorrow. Maybe you don’t think it will matter to your best friend from high school, who will shiver outside the church where your funeral was and refuse to step foot in another sanctuary. Maybe you don’t realize that your cousin will look at the pictures of the two of you and hyperventilate, not leaving his room for days. But those kinds of things will happen. Please, realize that you need to continue living your life for them. Realize that you need to continue living your life for the 8th grader who will cry in memory of you because she can’t stand the idea of knowing you ever felt this hopeless. If for no one else, realize that you need to keep living your life for yourself—because there is more left for you to discover.

I wish I had the words to remove all the pain you feel right now. Though I may have never met you, be comforted in knowing that I love you. I want you to be living. I believe that the reason why you are still breathing is because you still have a purpose on this Earth. I know you are hurting but please keep going. You are loved by those whom you have never even met.

Cover Image Credit: Canadian BFRB

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I'm Keeping My Christmas Tree Up All Winter And There's Nothing You Can Do About It

It's the WINTER Season... ;-)

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I think that my tree would not be considered Christmas-y if the ornaments are taken off and the lights are kept on. I think to just looks wintry. I am also keeping up decorations that say "let it snow", and I am keeping up any snowman without holly berries or presents in their hands.

The tree looks wintry in my opinion. It looks pretty with the lights and brings the room together. It gives off a warm ambiance, unlike that of fluorescent lighting.

I've taken all ornaments off except for gold snowflakes and I've left the silver tinsel garland on as well as the lights. It looks wintry to me still. I will probably be taking the whole tree down by the end of this month to prepare for Valentine's Day decorating. (Yes, I pretty much decorate my apartment for every holiday—sue me).

There's nothing like coming downstairs and seeing those lights sparkling.

Or coming inside from a dreary, rainy day outside and seeing them light up the room in a calm, warm, and comforting glow.

Or having a bad day, looking up, and seeing them shine.

It sort of makes me upset when I come downstairs and see that someone has unplugged them, to be honest.

I guess they don't see it as I do.

Pretty, twinkling lights forever!

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