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Pauline Lerner

Holiday blues

December 21, 2005 at 10:11 PM

The holiday season has its down sides. Depression, traffic accidents, alcoholism-related problems, financial hardships, conflicts at home, and domestic and other kinds of violence are highest at this time of year. For many of us, the glitz reminds us painfully of the ways in which our lives don’t measure up to our own or other people’s standards. I’ve got holiday related depression. I’m far from the place I want to be in my life. I keep saying jokingly, “All I need to make me happy is love and money,” but it’s no joke. I’ve been unemployed for most of the last four years, and I’m running out of money. I’m divorced and, although I have had some loving relationships, I’m still alone. I feel that I am responsible for not living up to my own standards. There are some things that are not my fault, like having no family, but they also contribute to my feelings of emptiness. I know that everyone has their problems and that the happiness I see in other people may be superficial. I was talking to a friend I like very much about her Christmas get-together with her family. She has two grown sons, one with a family. They both live far away, and they won’t be coming home for Christmas. She told me what they had told her and her husband, that the demands of work are high and they can’t afford to take a few days off. Maybe she believes them, but I don’t. I know that there are many, many people in our country and elsewhere who are much more needy than I, and I feel that I shouldn’t complain. Still, I feel very bad.
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