Finding Christmas in the Present

I love Christmas. I always have. The sights, the smells, the sounds, the excitement in the air – I love everything about it. It usually looks like Christmas threw up in our house the weekend after Thanksgiving. I’m normally wound up like a 5-yr-old child jacked up on sugar cookies. But not this year. This year has been different.  It took me over a week to get the house decorated, and I was so exhausted afterwards that all I wanted to do was take a long winter’s nap. Part of that was physical. But the rest was not. And I’m not alone.

Christmas isn’t a joyous time for many people – especially those mourning, battling serious illnesses or dealing with very stressful circumstances. Sometimes we don’t need a specific reason to be depressed; we just are. Depression isn’t the guest that sends an RSVP to the party. It just shows up unannounced with no invitation and no warning. And not just during the holidays.

Fortunately, I’ve gained some valuable insight since being diagnosed with cancer that’s helped me cope with these challenging times – when I’m more likely to ruminate and dwell on the past than live in the present. Since being diagnosed with melanoma in 2011, I’ve met so many incredible people – many fighting for their lives. Many know their time is limited, yet they choose to face their extremely difficult circumstances by living in the present – focusing on living each day to the fullest and showing gratitude for all that is good in their lives. They have a certain peace about them.

if you’re struggling this Christmas, know that you’re not alone. Forget about the superficial, stressful part of the holiday and take care of YOU. Give yourself a gift. Find your peace in the present. And if you can’t, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Please.