Paradoxical Reactions & Preparing for the New Year

Click here to listen on our podcast site, “I Cant Stop Spending!”

godboxI have recently discovered that I am experiencing a paradoxical reaction to medication I’ve been taking for nearly a year. It is an antidepressant, but was prescribed to help my stomach pain and migraines. The most effective dose for me, which is higher than for others, also happens to make me incredibly sad and have a terribly short fuse. When I reduce the medicine even incrementally, I feel much better emotionally, but my other symptoms increase. That’s most certainly a paradoxical reaction because an anti-depressant is supposed to enhance your mood, not darken it!

So I am left with two choices, neither of which is completely satisfying; either of which will cause me to experience pain. My husband, too often the brunt of that short fuse, has a clear favorite. It’s my preference as well. But in making that decision, I am going to have to deal with the result of my choice.

I think this relates to how many people experience the holiday season. I’m recording this on Christmas Day, which, this year, is also the first day of Hanukkah. From Thanksgiving to January 1st, it’s supposed to be a jolly, happy, joyous time of year. TV ads and Hallmark-type shows pound that message into our heads.

But for many of us, for a wide variety of reasons, this is a season where we feel sad, demoralized, lonely, angry, and/or despondent.

Some have experienced the loss of a loved one during the year. Others may feel an increased yearning for a partner with whom to share the holidays. And still others may have grown up in dysfunctional homes and have negative memories that come flooding in during the season.

And for others, all is absolutely fine on the surface, but there is a just a palpable sadness around the holidays that we just can’t shake.

For compulsive spenders, the holidays may have given them a high, but they may be left feeling a letdown if they have gone to town buying lots and lots of gifts, because it’s now over.

Moving Forward

So what are we to do? One thing we must not do is to beat ourselves up for whatever feelings we have or tell ourselves that there is no reason to feel this way. We must recognize and acknowledge our pain.
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