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I Can Stop Holding my Breath Now…Christmas is Over

Robin Kahler is a patient who was diagnosed with affective bipolar disorder in 1988. She works from her home in Tucson, Arizona, as an ...Read More

This year the holidays went off without a hitch; well almost. At least I only have one person not speaking to me. Last year it was four.

I’m thankful that this year no one died. Great-Grandmom became ill enough to go on oxygen, but for the most part, all else went well for her. There for a few years we lost at least one relative every November or December.

The person who isn’t speaking to me is a very high maintenance friend, so actually her (temporary) silence is a bit golden. It was probably my fault. She lives 400 miles away and so she ordered my gift from one of those places that sells things on their television station. You know the kind; they get something from China and hype it up until it sounds like the “Hope Diamond,” and then they sell it at a very high price and double the cost of postage. Well, it arrived defective. The company (from China) (even though it was advertised as “hand-painted in Italy”) had packed it while the paint was still wet and it stuck to the felt-lined box as it dried. I pried it from the box, but it lost bits of paint and gathered pieces of felt and overall, it looked pretty shabby after I got it out of the box.

I made the mistake of telling my friend. Now she thinks I hate the gift, and as a result, hate her, and so she burst into tears and slammed down the phone and now she isn’t speaking to me.

Every Christmas I manage to blow it with someone. Last year I told my son we wouldn’t be at home, or available, on Christmas Day between the hours of 3 p.m .and 6 p.m. I had told him that for a week, but he didn’t listen and his wife planned her dinner for 5 p.m. and when we weren’t there, they all got mad at us.

Being bipolar, it’s hard to maintain sanity, especially at Christmas. I try to do well, but it usually backfires on me. I sometimes wonder if my friends or family members might be bipolar and I’m really the one who isn’t, but my doctors (plural) tell me I am, so I go with their diagnosis.

Anyway, I wonder how your holiday went? I would say on a scale of one to ten, with ten being bliss, mine was an eight this year. For Great-Grandmom it was probably a ten, she’s doing well and went off the oxygen. It was a ten for my friend who lives in Alaska, too. This year when she left her house to mail my gift, she was NOT attacked by a moose; that happened last year.

Sometimes I think that we should cancel the whole holiday, but then we might miss out on all of the Joy, not to mention the four Christmas (er, WINTER School programs) that we sat through.

Then there are the younger grandchildren who still lay awake on Christmas Eve to listen for the sounds of reindeer on the roof. I did go outside at midnight and ring some bells and bang on the side of the house. (They live next door.) I got yelled at for waking the kids.

The ham didn’t burn this year while we opened our gifts, and that was a good thing. Maybe I’ll raise it to a nine out of ten. Happy New Year to all of you! May your holidays be, at least, a Nine, too.

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