Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 19 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Redefining Christmas

The upcoming visit to my family has prompted thoughts of gifts. Just as we typically don't gather as a family for holidays anymore, we no longer exchange gifts either. I do buy my mom a gift every year, but I don't feel right about offering her a gift while my brothers stand by and receive nothing. That would be odd, don't you think.

My brothers don't want for anything, and giving them more stuff seems pointless. I would just be giving out of obligation, and it likely wouldn't mean much to me nor them. I used to love Christmas and giving gifts. Becoming a single person quashed my enthusiasm. Struggling with a chronic, debilitating illness changed my priorities. Stuff is no longer very important to me. I'd rather someone took me out for dinner, washed my dishes, or donated their resources to mental illness research. Obligatory giving makes me queasy.

Fortunately, I discovered a solution today. After hearing a story on NPR, I checked out this website, which is dedicated to redefining Christmas. This is a very cool site. The following is an excerpt from their homepage:

Give others donations to their favorite charities Redefine Christmas is neither commercial venture, nor money-maker. It's simply a charitable idea, shared by many, that our holiday gift giving could be more meaningful and do more good. In addition to the gifts we enjoy shopping for and giving, we're often compelled to give gifts that aren't so meaningful. Imagine if we replaced those gifts by giving others donations to their favorite charities. And we just request that others do the same for us.

And then there's this from another page on the site:
It's not about reinventing the holiday. It's about changing the way we look at gift giving and receiving. It's taking money we usually spend on obligatory gifts with little meaning, and creating gifts of charity that give in multiple ways, to the receiver, the giver, and people who truly need.
Seems I'm not the only one thinking about obligatory giving. What a wonderful solution. I will be purchasing the gift of charity for each of my brothers this Christmas. Now I'm excited again!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

You mention sobriety. Was alcohol part of your depression?
Your life's mission is the same as mine, though I'm just starting and you have so many many blogs.
Could you look at my blog and tell me if I'm being too technical?