As soon as December rolls around I go into the bottom drawer and dig out my Santa hat. I wear it most of the time when I go out, answering the strange looks I attract with a smile. Most people smile back, a few avoid my eyes, probably thinking I am going to ask them for money.
The shops have been decorated for Christmas and filled with all sorts of Christmas goodies since the day after Halloween, but still people think my Santa hat is out of place.
My hat is not making a statement of any kind I am merely trying to get myself into the spirit of Christmas. I do not decorate the house until a few days prior to Christmas and the decorations get a bit less every year but still, the Santa hat makes its appearance.
As do thousands of other people I suffer from depression. This is controlled with a cocktail of ante-depressants which help maintain my mental equilibrium. It is difficult to describe depression to anyone who has not suffered with it. It is not just a case of “get over it and stop moping”, it is like standing in a deep hole which is, maybe. manageable to climb out of but you do not have the will or the energy to make the climb. So much easier to just sit in the bottom and let life pass you by. The hole is a comfortable place to hide and leave all the confusion of daily life.
Christmas is the worst time of the year for fighting depression, for some reason all the enforced jollity and festivities seem too much to handle, so much easier to ignore it all and stay in bed with covers pulled over your head. I don’t know if it is the commercialism or the fact that the true reason for Christmas is mainly ignored by so much of the world. The humble birth of a child long ago seems unrelated to the madness that takes over the shopping frenzy of today.
After years of going with the horrible madness of gift buying, I decided to leave the commercialism out of our family life. Years ago I spoke to my adult daughters and asked that the gift frenzy be stopped and we all just simply donate the money saved to people less fortunate. Since then we do not need to search the shops for that elusive, perfect gift, we have a mostly loving family and that is gift enough.
Christmas has since then been simpler and so much easier, however I still need to dig into the drawer to pull out my hat with the furry trim. Every time I catch sight of myself, I remember to smile and keep the real meaning of Christmas in my heart.