How true love saved Christmas


So it’s the day after Christmas and boy am I glad. Yesterday was just a cluster of sadness for me so I am very happy to have this holiday over with.

You may be saying, “A cluster of sadness?! That doesn’t sound good! You must have something super sad in your life right now to make you that sad on Christmas!”

That should be the case shouldn’t it. I should be sad for a really good reason to have holed myself up in my room all day crying uncontrollably… but the fact is that I don’t know why I was/am so sad.

It wasn’t that it was Christmas, it wasn’t that I couldn’t get my daughter everything she wanted, it wasn’t any of the normal “oh well of course that would make you sad” reasons I can think of off the top of my head. I was sad because I was sad.

I have a beautiful family who loves me and supports me even though I’m crazy enough to want to find a true passion in my life. I have a roof over my head, I have food to eat and I even had some money this year to get my daughter some fun presents that I think she really loves.

I tried to make myself happy all day thinking about the happy things in my life and the more I tried and failed the sadder I got until I just balled up and weeped like my heart had just been broken. Then I started thinking about all those “depression hurts” commercials and I got even sadder because I was totally “that sad woman” and it made me even sadder. (Did I mention I was sad?)

I have dealt with depression for many years even though I feel like I have been doing much better the past few years. That is, I was doing better until this year when I decided to switch all of my gears at once and then set myself into a tailspin of emotions. Nothing like switching up your business and your life goals and turning 30 all at the same time to get your brain all freaked out again.

The people around me haven’t always understood though that I couldn’t just “turn off the sadness” just because it was a holiday. One year I had a particularly hard Christmas and someone in my family yelled at me to “Be happy! It’s Christmas!” and then when that bit of holiday cheer didn’t work they proceeded to tell me “You are ruining Christmas!”

You are ruining Christmas.

That last bit has always stuck with me and it burns just as much now to think about it as it did back then. ruined Christmas. What kind of a horrible person am I to have ruined Christmas for my whole family?

I didn’t have the knowledge or the support then that I do now to get over the sadness and back into the Christmas spirit so I just cried for what seemed like forever. Eventually I got over it and moved on but I always remember that as the Christmas I ruined for my whole family.

This year, I have my husband. He is perfect and wonderful and really helped me yesterday in ways he totally doesn’t understand.

He didn’t make me feel happy or take away the sadness, he just told me it was ok to be sad and that Christmas wasn’t ruined just because I was having a hard time. My daughter was still having a great day playing with toys and being ridiculous and he was just so happy that he could be home with us and help me through whatever it was that I was going through.

Once I embraced the fact that I was sad and me being sad wasn’t going to ruin Christmas I actually started feeling better. Being the strong one in the family all the time is exhausting especially around this time of year when all I wanted to do was make everything perfect for everyone all the time. (I know, totally doable goal huh…) This year was extra tough because of our family budget cut backs and not being able to do everything I really wanted to do for my daughter and for my family.

If you are having a hard time with sadness and depression please remember that you don’t have to be the strong one 24/7, 365 days a year.

Don’t feel like a bad person just because you aren’t holly jolly every Christmas and you just want to sit and watch British comedies all day instead of sentimental Christmas movies. (I suggest That Mitchell and Webb Look because that show is freaking hilarious!) There will be other times when you are the happy one and can give your all to your family so take some time for yourself when you need it right now.

For me this year the best present I got was having a husband who loved me enough to say I wasn’t ruining Christmas and let’s go eat some Chinese food.

Oh true love. ♥

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21 Responses

  1. Charmaine says:

    Sara, believe me if I say: I understand. Thank you for posting this, I’ve been going through the same sort of thing and it’s not nice. You are blessed to have a husband that supports you. Hope you feel better soon.

    • Sara Carbaugh says:

      Thank you and I am very blessed to have him. I wish I could pass him around to make everyone feel better! :) I’m sending you big virtual hugs and I hope you start feeling better soon as well.

  2. Donnette says:

    Oh, Sara, I just love you. I can only post here because none of my family is connected to you. I told my son how much I miss him and wish he could be here at Christmas only to be told by my DIL that I am a horrible mom for putting a guilt trip on my son. Not been my happiest of Christmases, but today’s a new day, right?

    You’re a very brave lady to put yourself out there like you do. I have so much respect for you. Hope the days are brighter soon. Best of 2013 to you, my dear.

    • Sara Carbaugh says:

      Oh Donnette I wish I could give you a big hug! Family can be wonderful and awful all at the same time. Thank you so much for making me smile and hope you have a better day today too! HUGS!!

  3. Pearl says:

    I often have thoughts like this myself. I am unexplicably sad during holidays (all of them) and even my birthday. It’s like my mind refuses to allow me to be happy sometimes! But I tell myself that I’m okay, the world is not ending, people are still happy and they love me and then everything is fine and I focus on other things (all the while still remaining sad inside).

    I’m happy to hear your husband is so loving and supportive. There are a lot of people who would just be annoyed or mean about it!

    Either way, I hope your Christmas was great despite the bit of sadness!

    • Sara Carbaugh says:

      Thank you so much for this. I totally agree about being sad on all holidays, not just Christmas. I think we just put SO much pressure on ourselves to have a good time that it just stresses us out even more! Today feels so much better than yesterday so hopefully the days will continue to feel better as the week rolls along. Big hugs to you!

  4. Ann says:

    *Curls up in your lap* I know that feel. I spent the 6 days before Christmas crying all the way to work, getting it together, and crying all the way home. I didn’t sleep, I rarely ate. Some of the stress was work (you know what I do for a living.. mrph), some of it was the constant thought in my head that your brother in law wouldn’t like what I got him for Christmas. The last bit was MY family. I was able to attend our family Christmas… but not my Christmas in Ohio (which happened Sunday). I haven’t seen my family for Christmas in…. I truly don’t know anymore. 5, 6 years? Then I started thinking about how my parents are getting up in age, how my Grandma (my last grandparents) probably has dementia and is going pretty fast…. Then how I’m sick of everyone asking when your brother in law and I are getting married are having babies. *sigh* He doesn’t WANT to get married and I can’t have kids… STOP ASKING.

    *deep breath*

    I too tried to think of the happy things. Look at the gerbils, they’re having a fine Christmas. My TBFF drove in from Chicago on Friday to have Christmas with us- which I desperately needed. I’m blessed with an amazing staff and bosses alike. I love my family (ESPECIALLY MY SARAPANTS!!!) But sometimes, we’re just sad. And that’s okay. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to be happy. It’s totally okay to cry on Christmas. *hugs on you* Love you Sarapants!

    • Sara Carbaugh says:

      You know what’s silly is that when I saw you thins weekend and you asked how things were I wanted to say “Not so great. Pretty depressed this year and just really ready for all this to be over with.” but instead I just said “Oh fine, you know…” I wish we could have had time to just go out and talk about this in person so we could just get it all out. I do hope me and my ridiculous child helped you feel even a slight bit better this weekend though. I know that putting Play-Doh heads on spikes made me feel quite a bit better. ;)

      I hope you know that I love you and totally understand and if you ever need to call and cry and drink on the phone together I am all about that! Oh and the next time someone asks about the marriage/babies conversation smack them in the face and say “How dare you!” and walk away. ;) Big squeezey hugs!!!

  5. Justin Ryan says:

    Oh how I wish I didn’t understand, but oh do I. Sometimes, when people ask “What are you depressed about?”, I want to answer “Um, because it’s Tuesday?” – if only they understood that we don’t get depressed about anything, we get depressed because that’s what depression does to you. I’m glad you have support now, and if you need to talk, you know where to find me.

    • Sara Carbaugh says:

      I told Josh yesterday that I felt like it wasn’t all about Christmas, I felt like I would have been that sad even if it had been a random Tuesday! I just hate the feeling of being helpless and not being able to pull myself out of it when I should be able to. Thanks so much for being there for me Justin. :)

  6. Sheryl says:

    I have issues with sadness times when I’n SUPPOSED to be happy a bunch too. I think the pressure of having a feeling be demanded of me is too much or something. And sometimes stress comes out in sadness for me too. So I get you chica- and xmas watching british tv sounds perfect to me.

    • Sara Carbaugh says:

      Oh yes stress definitely equals sadness mixed with anger for me so it’s always a fun time which is part of the reason why I stepped back from the business. I started off watching Love, Actually and that was bad plan because even the funny and the happy parts made me weep uncontrollably. I have found that I need ridiculousness when I that depressed so British comedies or Idiocracy have been my go to viewing pleasures lately! :) Thanks so much Sheryl and big hugs to you!! :)

  7. Dawnielle says:

    I think it’s great that you were so honest and open. I know you’re not alone (proof is in the comments) and I’m sure you’ve helped others. I’m so glad to hear you had the love and support you needed.

  8. Emily says:

    Love you Sara!

  9. Tami says:

    Sara, I only know you a little through FB and WoW and your husband, who is a solid rock in my WoW guild. But I told Woe the other day that if we lived closer that I thought you and I could be great friends because we have similar interests and I love the way your spunk and personality come out in your posts. I really admire the way you put yourself out there and allow yourself to be vulnerable in showing yourself, which actually shows your strength. This post really personifies that. Not many people would be so open in such a public forum.

    TBH, I hate the holidays with a passion. Starting from mid-October, I can’t wait for the New Year to start. I don’t like Halloween (too many spiders!), I don’t like Thanksgiving(although I used to), and I especially don’t like Christmas and all its expectations and stress and travel and shopping and crowds everywhere. This year was even worse because my beloved cat died at the beginning of December, and I had to postpone a trip I was looking forward to, since I used all my funds for the vet. The reason I was looking forward to the trip was because it would mean I didn’t have to do the traditional Christmas thing.

    I understand depression. My dad is bipolar and I spent the better part of a year in a black fog a few years ago. I’ve done a lot of therapy and realize that most of my life I’ve been depressed, but for me it was just “normal”. I’ve taken a lot of steps this past year to move forward out of the depression and into the light but there are still times when I just need to take it easy and be gentle with myself. I took this class from Rhonda Britten ( that helps a lot, with sayings like “slow is the new fast” and “I’m doing better than I think I am” and “connection, not perfection”. Sometimes repeating one or all of those phrases helps me to slow down and acknowledge what is going right instead of what is going wrong, then I can feel better and move forward.

    You have a great husband, a beautiful daughter, and most of the times, things are great. However, life is a roller coaster and sometimes you’re at the bottom instead of the top. And sometimes those bottoms coincide with holidays, when you’re “supposed” to be happy. What I’ve learned is that I can’t live up to others expectations, I can only be me and if they don’t like it, that’s on them.

    You are lucky that you have suck great support in your husband. I’ve found that support is the key to getting through anything. Without the support, it’s easy to flounder. So you’re doing better than you think you are! It’s ok to take a few days to be depressed. This too shall pass.


    • Sara Carbaugh says:

      Thank you so much for this Tami! Everyone’s depression is different but I love knowing I’m not the only one who has a hard time sometimes too and we can all move through it. Oh and my husband is pretty spectacular which helps a lot! :) I don’t think I would have the strength to be myself if I didn’t have him cheering me on along the way!

  10. Jenipher Lyn says:

    I just have to say I’m SOOOO happy you posted this on the CLUBHOUSE! This is the first Christmas that i was happy and thankful and didn’t cry once!! And i owe lots of it to my amazing, loving, caring, boyfriend. Even when i’m sad he doesn’t yell at me [like my family or previous boyfriend] and helps to cheer me up.

    I’m so glad i’m not the only one who gets sad even during ‘happy days’. I look forward to getting to know you more.

    Jenipher :)

    • Sara Carbaugh says:

      Thanks Jenipher! I think the best thing I’ve done for myself was to write this blog post because it really has shown me that I’m not alone and the holidays are just a super hard time for people for lots of different reasons. Having someone who understood and just let me work through it in my own way was so awesome this year too. Hooray for the Clubhouse and I’ll be excited to get to know you better too!! :) Hugs!

  11. Ali says:

    Good for you for being brave enough to post such an honest look into your sad day. I feel like even though I wouldn’t say I’ve battled depression, I have had days like that and definitely thought processes like that. So glad your hubby lets you “just be”. Thanks again for the post. We need more honesty about topics like this.

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