Thursday, November 18, 2010

"1985, The Xmas That Started My Holiday Crazies"

 I don't usually write much about my past especially the painful parts, the family parts. The parts that have very slow healing wounds and leave long lasting scars. But I will write about one such event, that is one of the triggers of my holiday season crazies.

 I was a older young person and It was my freshman year in university, and my battle with BiPolar Disorder was in it's relative infancy. My family had planned a huge get together in Vermont so the Canadian & American families could all be together at the same time. They had rented a lodge, planned a cool trip to a maple syrup factory and skiing in nearby New Hampshire. I was excited, I love the country in the winter, that crisp clean feeling, the smell of a fireplace. Which to this day is one of my favorite things.

 The problem was, I was not well entering the holiday season. My Mania was running wild and soon I was living in the land of rapid cycling. I spent my semester's money on booze, and side trips. Living a life larger than I could afford. I was loud and treated my family with verbal barbs when they tried to rein me in for my own good. I soon crashed and was again suicidal. I attempted to hang myself only to fail and found myself in hospital in NYC.

 You can imagine the scene in a NYC psch ward, it was a zoo, and me going from 100mph to 0 at a days notice. But for me it was about to get worse. My family convinced my parents to leave me in hospital and come on vacation. They said, "Steven is sick and does not need you right now, what you need is time away from him". This was told to me at a later time by my Mum. My parents caved into the request and soon left for Vermont.

 I was locked in a ward at xmas, they decorated with paper only. Because anything else could be used as a weapon. The xmas lights and tree were hidden behind that glass that has the wire in it and we could watch holiday movies from behind the TV's plexiglass cover. The whole xmas season, I received no visits, no calls, no contact from my family. They were all off in the place I had hoped to be, but my mind would not allow.

 My parents on return apologized for leaving me saying they had no choice and later my aunt told me to stop whining my parents needed a break from the shit I was starting. After that experience I always grasped onto the holidays, holding them as a important barometer to my social, family health my belonging.

 I was lucky for many years my holidays with my wife were always great, filled with friends and family, yet I was always worried I would be left out. Jay would have to comfort me in the weeks leading to them, reassuring me that I would not be left alone.

  Family can make mistakes, they are allowed, and it is only human. I forgave my parents and understand they made a bad choice when they were also not in the right frame off mind. Mental Illness, stresses families into tough places. It strips them of control. I may never feel comfortable or settled this time of the year. My holiday in hospital, alone may stay will me forever. But I am not totally alone. I do have many people who care for me as I do them. I just get a little nuts this time of year.


  1. Thank you for sharing that bit of your past. I am impressed with your forgiveness of your parents. I am not there yet, though intellectually I know they had to make tough choices in a no-win situation. Also comforting to know I'm not the only one with holiday issues.

  2. This is a difficult time of year for so many people.