Holiday Depression, BPD, and Social Gatherings

At any “landmark” event during the calendar year, such as the Christmas Holiday, New Year’s Day, or my birthday; I always find myself taking inventory of my life. Since High School, this process generally leaves me feeling OK, but mostly down in some respects.

I think during the holidays it’s easy to get depressed, in part because everything around you looks so happy, and yet inside you feel miserable. There’s Christmas trees, lights, Hanukkah Menorahs, and all kinds of material decorations people create to celebrate the season of giving, a brief stage which I consider somewhat fantasy land because everying seems so perfect.

To get right to the point, my self inventory around the holidays deals with (in no particular order) my moral beliefs, my income and financial status, and more often than not my social status.

I’m 29 and single, with no girlfriend for the holidays. This fact brings me down because the Holidays are all about kinship, friendship, and social get-togethers where people celebrate their relationships. For me, however, with BPD and depression, my relationships are brittle, sketchy, and non-existant in the girlfriend department. What’s more, it would be one thing if I could tell people at family gatherings that I “..just got out of a relationship…” or “..had a relationship a couple months ago..”, but I can’t. I haven’t had a serious boyfriend/girlfriend relationship in a couple years.

This fact gets to me because I feel like the people in my life expect that at some point I’m going to magically get married and have kids, and do the normal thing most people approaching their 30’s do. Most all my cousins are married with kids, and seem to have nicely landed in the family lifestyle that our parents tried to instill in us.

If I was the only person in the world, or if I was a complete hermit and could give a shit, the holidays would be much easier: I’d just not leave my apartment, not see family, not buy presents, or make sheepish attempts to be jolly at holiday gatherings. Unfortunately, there are, ( or seem to be ) lots of happy people around me who sort of expect that I follow the normal course of life and if not, find me awkward to be around.

For example, when my cousins visit, I can’t joke about “guys night out” away from the wife, because I have no wife. Likewise, I can’t talk with my other cousins about raising kids because I have no kids. When everyone around you seems to have it right, Borderline Personality disorder becomes such a horrific burden and hex – it robs me of any sense of normalcy and makes me an emotional wreck.

More often than not, it comes down to “Why me – why do I have to lug around this psychological ball and chain all the time? Why can’t I just be happy and even keeled? And in my case, because I’m an introverted Borderline Personality: “Why can’t I be more outgoing, social, confident and good around people; instead of feeling awkward, nervous, self-loathing, and not up to par?”

I realize self pity is not a good mode of operation, but it can become a way of life for people with Borderline Personality disorder because no one around us understands – or can articulate to us – the emotions we feel; emotions which are very strong, passionate, complicated, anxiety ridden, or self deprecating. As a result, we try to sooth ourselves in whatever fashion we can muster, which makes us immediately feel different from the rest of the crowd.

I noticed a couple years ago people stopped asking me if I had a relationship in Costa Rica ( or at any point in my life ). I used to say, “Yeah, I went out with a girl for a few months but it didn’t work out”, but that was 4 years ago. My friends here try to prod me along, rib me, or tell me to assert myself, but no matter what I do I’m still socially unaware, generally quiet (unless intoxicated), and unsure of myself around the opposite sex.

To bring this all together, I just feel really uncomfortable around the holidays because I feel like there’s nothing special about my life to celebrate, nor someone special to share and celebrate in my life. Besides, if any potential partner knew the way I behave and think, they would probably dump me after 6 months anyway: who wants to have a relationship, let alone get married, to someone with Borderline Personality? That’s too much luggage for most people to handle.

This is why it’s easy to get depressed around the holidays. The holidays are a time for togetherness and love, but if you have Borderline Personality, it is almost as if you’re chained to a post, forever just out of reach of these vital emotions.

Happy Holidays to all, and if I don’t write before the New Year, Happy New Year. Perhaps 2009 will be the year I break free from this SHITTY mental illness.