Lately I have been suffering from “Down Syndrome”. Don’t confuse this with Down’s Syndrome, which is a real condition caused by a genetic error. No, I am talking about Down Syndrome, also known as feeling down, down in the dumps; that combination of negative thinking, inaction and just plain self-pity.
It’s pretty common around Christmas time and why not? Christmas comes with a catch-22. If you had yuck Christmases as a child, then you may feel bad at Christmas today. On the other hand if you had wonderful Christmases as a child, you may have spent a lot of your adult years trying to re-create those amazing childlike feelings you had when you were a child. (People with kids get a break here because they can, at least, create that for their kids and share it vicariously.) Only we adults don’t think like children so how can we feel like a child?
Well, I had great Christmases, for the most part, as a kid, so I fall into group two, feeling sorry for myself because Christmas is just not what it was when I was a kid.
Then I woke up one morning with Marshall Rosenberg’s words in my head “Don’t do anything that isn’t play.” (I posted an excerpt from his book.) That’s what kids do, they play.
So, I logged onto to Amazon and bought myself a toy. It’s not the buying something that counts. Though buying something for yourself often produces endorphins (those neurowhatsits in your brain). The real fire in Rosenberg’s advice is that taking action for your own welfare (or someone else’s) is good for you.
People sometimes say they are too depressed or anxious to have fun. What they mean is that having fun would interfere with their negative state of mind. There is nothing like a good laugh to lift you out of the emotional dumpster. Indeed, it is impossible to have fun or laugh and be depressed or anxious at the same time.
Plain and Simple Advice
When you have Down Syndrome, get UP, go out and play. While you are at it, get realistic about Christmas. No matter how good it was as a child, it’s never going to be exactly that way again. If it sucked as a child, it doesn’t have to suck today. Get out of the past, get into the here and now. What Christmas is today is up to you.