Anyone that knows me or is even familiar with my story knows that the holidays are difficult for me.
Historically its right around this time of year my depression grabs hold and takes over. I have spent 2 or 3 Thanksgivings in a Psychiatric hospital. Yes, I can't even remember the exact amount of times I have had Thanksgiving dinner in the hospital.
This time of the year my depression is triggered by being alone. Even before my mother died I had been hospitalized I always joked that it was her bad cooking on Thanksgiving that caused me to avoid being home for dinner. I know many of you may be shaking your head wondering how in the hell can Kurt feel lonely? I have dozens of people that I could count on to "rescue" me from spending a day alone at home. But as I always say, I long to have that special someone with to share the holidays. We could eat hamburgers and onion rings, and I would be just as happy.
I have a few invites for Thanksgiving dinner this year; I've also thought about volunteering to feed those less fortunate at my LGBT Community Center. I haven't made a decision on what I will be doing that day, at this point I just think of it like any other day, no big deal to me... I haven't cared about Thanksgiving for almost ten years. It just isn't an important holiday to me, I always asked mom why with her Native American background we celebrated Thanksgiving. The only problem is I LOVE to eat! This year I imagine I'll be having 2 Thanksgiving dinners, one tomorrow; the week before Thanksgiving for my roommate's HIV support group, and one on Thanksgiving Day wherever I land. One of the difficult things about having multiple invites is you have to turn down some of those invites. I hate to do that to friends, so sometimes I just feel that staying home is the best way out of that situation.
Christmas.. That's a different story for me. Over the last several years, I have gotten used to the fact that Christmas is not what it used to be for my family. I wrote about it in this blog titled "Christmas Memories". Still in my current financial situation gifts are not something I can even attempt to buy, not even for the people that are closest to me and do the most for me. Luckily I have found some unused Christmas cards of my mothers and cards I never used that I can send to friends. I think Ill write some personal letters or blog posts about some friends telling them what they mean to me as a gift. My feelings and love are all I can share.
Recently I was asked to give a presentation to a group about "Holiday Blues" It's a difficult time of the year for many people. If you have an extra few dollars this year, there are things you can do to help. Send a friend a handwritten holiday card, or if you have an extra place at the dinner table, if there is anyway you can include a friend that may be feeling lonely, sometimes just being invited can change the way someone feels about the holidays. But also keep in mind that there are times that people do just want to be alone on these days. It never hurts to pick up the phone to check in with someone.
I have lost three friends this past year, and I think about their family members who will have an empty space at their table this holiday season. I am truly fortunate to have such caring friends. So wherever I decide to land this year, I will be thinking about David, Doug and Robert and each of their loved ones.