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Holiday Blues

“Holiday blues” are very common, especially for those fighting a chronic illness, or a disease such as hepatitis C. When a person is in pain or fighting chronic fatigue like I am, it is difficult to subject yourself to family gatherings and social events. A lot of anxiety begins to happen with the “pressure to perform”, per se.

The dangers of “faking it”

You may be a person who has not confided in your family about having hep C, and therefore, putting on a face of being something you are not (healthy) might be something you feel you must maintain. And by doing this, extra energy is being spent on trying to be “normal” and appearing normal (without showing pain or fatigue). It might even be that you are like myself and do not know the word “no”, or have trouble saying “I have had enough and it’s time to go home”. Not wanting to appear different, I push myself beyond my limits on the holidays because I just want to fit in and be like everyone else at my family functions.

Bottom line: I am not like everyone else. I am fighting a very serious health issue with end-stage liver disease that requires me to listen to my body, rather than my ego and pride.

Taking care of yourself

During this holiday season, try listening to your own body and resting when you can get a chance. If you are visiting a relative, ask if you may take a short time out and lie down for a bit. If they ask why and you do not want to disclose anything, just say you are feeling you need a little breather. Even a short time out may help. I do not recommend excluding yourself from family functions all together, because that will only add feelings of isolation you may have already. By not being included, this may cause a little more depressed, blue feeling.

Take time out for you. Lay down, rest. If large crowds bother you, limit the time you are there. Show up just before time to eat, use that as the time you socialize, and then after dinner, you can excuse yourself to leave. Have code signals for those with you that you can signal when you are at your limit and need to go. This is something my kids and I do still to this day.

Think of all the blessings in your life this holiday season. Having hepatitis C may not be on that list, but don’t allow your mind to go totally negative. Even if thankful for a hot cooked meal, give thanks. Positive mindset helps in the holiday blues.

Happy holidays from my family to yours!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.