Why is it the holidays seem to hit people the hardest? It’s supposed to be, in my mind (thanks Lifetime specials), a happy time in rooms of bustling family or friends preparing for the festivities. I mean, for some that truly have no one, it may make sense for the holidays to mean sadness.
Some of my happiest times at Christmas are sitting by myself enjoying the quiet while wrapping gifts. Christmas Eve is primarily when I do this, I usually stay up most of the night. I like the stillness. I’m content.
I’ll just speak for myself here I suppose, but why is it I feel loneliest in a crowded room?
I’ve thought about this a lot and in a few different scenarios. Definitely the holidays seem to bring out the worst of the “Alone in a Crowd Syndrome”. (I think I made that up. Don’t steal it, I’m having an ICD10 code made up for it. The shit’s real!).
I look around a full dining room with my family all eating and looking happy and I feel empty. It’s not anything they have done. It’s me. My brain just races.
“Am I acting happy enough? Can they tell I’m acting? Why do I even need to act? Why aren’t we closer? Is it my fault? Why do I always feel like the black sheep or that I’ve done something wrong?” are just a few of the (probably ridiculous) emotions I get, but we can’t help how we feel whether it’s rational or not. I know some of my early childhood is to blame, especially for the holiday issues, but even just in general, I feel more lonely when I’m with someone or people I don’t feel completely understand me than by myself.
When I’m alone, I’m accepting of that and I keep myself busy and amused. When I’m in a full room of people that I don’t feel comfortable with, there is no lonelier emotion on earth to me. If you’re surrounded by people, it’s supposed to be okay, right? But it’s not…
Of course losses can make the holidays a time of sadness, and you miss that person, but some are able to mourn together while others, like myself, feel the need to isolate.
If I’m truly alone, I’m okay with that. If I feel alone when I “shouldn’t”, I perceive something is wrong with me. Maybe there is. I don’t know. All I know is I’ve never felt more misunderstood and completely by myself than in a crowed room of people.
Merry Christmas! I can’t wait. Let the awkwardness (and subsequent sizable therapy bills) commence!