Statistics show that depression is always on a real-time high during holiday seasons.
This was partly because of false expectations that one must be happy especially at this time of the year, spending time with family and friends, or going on a big holiday vacation. No wonder why many people get so sad because they feel the pressure that comes with it.
No, I wasn’t clinically depressed, but I was just terribly sad.
When I look back at my past Decembers, for some strange reason, there’s a pattern of something sad happening during this season. It started when on December 12, 1997, my father died. And I have been carefully aware of how a series of unfortunate events occurred years after that, causing my holiday soliloquy.
As I am now coming to a close of this 3-month Facebook deactivation, I reflected on the lies that I have bought into that caused me to spiral down the emotional drain.
I have suffered enough and I have battled against these. And as the new year approaches, I declare my freedom from it all.
Following were the false beliefs that defined me for a time, that I have now turned away from:
- I am left behind.
It was difficult for me to admit but I tend to compare myself with other people’s lives. I was in denial at first, but I realized that if I do not come to terms with this self-awareness, I cannot move on.
I deactivated my Facebook and Instagram because I keep seeing the “images of happy lives” of my friends. And I was sad that I didn’t get to experience those. But now I know the truth that everybody plays a role on social media. It’s a curated life of only the things we want others to see. It’s never the all-encompassing truth of anyone’s life. Most people don’t show their hard times. They’re living a pretend life on social media.
Rob Dial says, “You will never be enough if you constantly compare yourself with other people. Comparison is the ultimate thief of happiness.”
I am not left behind. I am running my own race. Everyone has their own time.
I shouldn’t compare myself with others. Everyone’s fighting their own inner battles unbeknownst to me.
- I am not loved.
This was a tough pill to swallow. I observed that some of those closest to me have unfollowed my Facebook posts. And because I was hurting, I also unfollowed them.
I am always of the belief that friendship is a two-way road. That Facebook like begets like. But social media is a completely different animal.
Although a bit awkward, I talked to one of my friends about this and I learned that he doesn’t really check his Facebook newsfeed. It was a moment of revelation for me because all along I thought he has already unfollowed me on that platform. How foolish of me to equate that to a sense of being uncared for, being unloved!
Another revelation that helped me go through the above difficult conversation is one of the many lessons I’m learning from Brene Brown YouTube videos. She calls the process “The Rumble”. That means indulging oneself in difficult conversations despite its awkwardness and not knowing what may occur afterwards.
Even if it was true that some of my friends have unfollowed me, maybe they have their own reasons that we need to “rumble” about. And maybe too it’s time for me to move on in life without them.
- I don’t belong.
The holiday season is also a time when people usually plan for reunions. And sadly, 80% of that don’t really happen. There were times too that I wondered why I’m not invited in some of the reunions, photos of which I just see on Facebook posts afterwards.
What I’m realizing more and more is that people always have their own cliques. These are the people that they naturally gravitate to, people they love spending time with. And if you’re not their kind of people, why force yourself into their life?
My solution for being out-of-place is build your own tribe, your own clique. And in so doing, you must intentionally build relationships. That means going out of your comfort zone, giving time and sharing resources with people who express the same interest in you.
If you’re not invited in gatherings, initiate your own gathering with the people who matter most to you.
Brene Brown said, where there’s an absence of love and belonging, there’s suffering.
Overall, this was a tough process that I had to go through. And I encourage everyone who’s feeling stuck to do the same reflection, if you want to set yourself free from the emotional turmoil.
One thing that helped me though is being away from it all. I am writing this in Davao City, Mindanao. This much needed break helped me become objective in seeing my situation from a distance, with fresh perspective.
What were the lies you bought into that affected you badly in 2018?
How did you resolve them or how do you plan to combat them?