Though this isn’t a very spiritous time of year, it is never too early to talk about you & your spouse spending holidays together.
This post may be centered towards new couples, but there is sure information that can help a range of individuals!
I, personally, do not like surprises. Never have, never will. Throughout my life, my emotions always got the best of me, and so whenever I would recieve a gift, I would immediately clam up. It has taken me years of training myself to be exceptionally appreciative, but even now it can be difficult for me to enjoy gifts.
The idea behind gift giving is a strange one for some of us. Entering the mind of a depressed person, giving gifts as customs can sometimes be more harmful than helpful. Take Christmas, for instance. It is a tradition to trade gifts during this time of year, but a person who has yet to understand just how to get out of their own head, can easily not understand.
Why do I get a gift? I haven’t done anything to deserve such treatmeant. Oh, don’t worry about buying me anything this year.
My personal favorite excuse is: I already have everything I need. Everyone things you’re being humble, when really you’re just trying to avoid the ‘waste’ of giving you a gift.
I find the best way to handle these types of situations is to be C A R I N G:
C – Communicating effectively; Make sure they know that the line is there whenever they need it. They may never come to you, but by providing the means, you have done your part.
A – Affirm the Importance; Your spouse or loved one is not the only who may benefit from the holidays/gift giving festivities. Your thoughts and feelings matter as well, make sure you are heard.
R – Reassure your support: This is different that communicating. Small gestures such as a smile when coming into a crowded room of family and friends, or a light touch on the hand when you can see that they are becoming overwhelmed. Patience is key, but if you are strong, so will they be.
I – Involve yourself in Festivities; Your spouse is individual. The best way to handicap a person suffering from depression/bipolar disorder is to restrict yourself of pleasures. A relationship is a two way street, especially when surrounded by family members and friends. Love your spouse, but never forget to love yourself.
N – Notice the Triggers; This is I M P O R T A N T. I cannot stress this enough! For example, whenever I’m aggravated ( which is the first phase of my depression phase ), I’ll relieve some stress outdoors. I dislike to be touched during this. No hugs or kisses or even accidental foot-stepping. Being touched while I’m angry is a trigger that causes my anxiety to run rampant and I spiral much faster down a hill. Does she/he flinch when you suddenly touch them? Are they overly ticklish? Do they cry at specific scenes in movies? These are simple triggers but everyone is different.
G – Guide them; A person, who may even be you, can get lost in the chaos that are holidays. Especially in families where multiple generations get together and what is usually a group of four is now a group of forty! Be there for them, hold their hand. No matter how long you have been together or how comfortable you think they may be, it is the gesture that is recieved that meants the most.
P.S. When it comes to gift giving, pay attention to your spouse. Take into account the letters C – A – R – N from above. We love to get things, but never hold it against us if we push and push.