• Mike Douglas

Receiving (Christmas) Gifts

Christmas, it’s here again.


In previous years I’ve written about my experiences with Christmas, so definitely go back and check those out if you are interested. In this post I would like to reflect on a specific Christmas related experience I had a few weeks ago.



I was sorting out the last few gifts I needed to order for people’s Christmas presents and checking in with Laura’s parents about her presents for Christmas; when the discussion/ question came up about what I would like for Christmas.

This is a question that had been asked a couple of times before, but I had passed it off with the usual “I don’t need anything”. Which is kind of true. I rarely have my eye on small things, it’s a steady rotation of viewing and researching cameras, computers, board games and something Apple. And I don’t want or feel comfortable mentioning those things as gifts because of the cost.


After a conversation with Laura where I hinted at this, she mentioned that if there’s things I would like people can group together to get something I’d actually like.

This convinced me to reveal the two things I’d been looking at for a while, I also mentioned a board game to someone else as well.


Great right? Well, no. The depressive mind kicked in and I had near instant regret, self loathing (for asking for a gift), lack of self worth, fear of… I don’t even know what.

It turns out, my unwillingness to provide gift suggestions is only in part about likening more expensive things. In fact it has way more to do with not feeling worthy of gifts, care, love or being able to understand why someone would want to provide me with those things.


Within five minutes, I wanted to go back and say anything to stop anyone buying me anything. I couldn’t accept even the thought of their gifting me something. This lead to a 30 minute period of trying not to mentally spiral, starting to, and then a lot of focusing on breathing.



I realise I am in a hugely privileged and fortunate situation to have people wanting to gift me something, anything; let alone clubbing together for a larger gift. But hopefully I have articulated it’s not about the item or the cost. Despite my initial thoughts. It is in fact much more to do with my depression, self worth and relationship management.


Christmas, Birthdays any form of gift giving makes me deeply uncomfortable. It’s something I am maybe going to try to work on. Could 2022 bring with it another season of therapy?

I recently read an article about why it’s harder to receive gifts than to give. Two of the points mentioned, strings attached and defence against intimacy, definitely resonate with me. While my main struggle is with self worth, there is a huge worry about, and desire to avoid strings that come attached with gift receiving.


I am forever thankful I have Laura to talk with and to to share these experiences and struggles. If you are finding any aspect of Christmas difficult I encourage you to talk with someone; a friend, colleague, family member or professional.


Look after yourselves and I hope you enjoy your December. Whatever it looks like for you.




Signposting


Local Minds - https://www.mind.org.uk/about-us/local-minds/


Samaritans - https://www.samaritans.org/