I don't really like Valentine's Day. Pretty much any holiday that is designed to point out connection, family, and love can trigger negative thoughts and feelings for me. I don't like the idea of making up a day where you are "supposed" to behave and feel in a certain way. Shouldn't every day be a day to let others know you care about them?
When I was a teen and young adult I really disliked most holidays, especially Valentine's Day and New Years Eve. I felt so disconnected and alone, and the holidays just intensified that for me. I often ended up spending them alone. I had friends and people in my life, but because of the depression and anxiety I always felt disconnected and alone anyway. This still happens to a lesser degree at times, it is a part of living with this illness for me.
Now that I do often feel connected with my family and many friends I am not triggered in the way I once was, but I still don't really like the holiday. I love my wife very much, but I don't need a special day designated by someone else to tell me that I should buy her something. I also know a lot of people who struggle with depression and loneliness, and I know for many of them this is a hard day. While I feel a great deal of gratitude today for all I have, I am very mindful of the millions of people out there feeling even more alone and isolated than they do on a "regular" day. It is mainly this reason that I wish this holiday didn't exist.
Amy and I don't really celebrate Valentine's Day. When we want to go out and spend time together we just do it. When I want to buy her flowers I do. Valentine's day is just not our thing. As a matter of fact, we aren't even together this evening. She is with our older son at a church fundraiser providing childcare for couples who do want to go out. I am at home with Mark. We took the dogs to the dog park and tonight we are just relaxing and doing the things we like. He's watching NBA All Star Saturday, and I'm writing (and also getting distracted watching basketball). We both tend to need a bit more "alone time", so this is the perfect night for us.
It's odd that I don't really like a holiday that is supposed to be all about love. I guess I want to live my life in love every day. I don't need a holiday to let the people in my life know I love them. I have an amazing and loving wife, two great boys, and so many great friends. I would not have come so far in my battle with depression and anxiety without these people. I am grateful. I don't always feel the love and connection, but I know I am blessed. My wish is for everyone to have that. If this is a hard day for you, I'm so sorry. You are not alone, none of us are!