Q. Susan, I get so depressed around the holidays and end up the Christmas blues. What can I do?
A. Christmas and the New Year celebrations are not joyous for all people. Suicide rates frequently increase. Is this relevant to you? Even if you are not sufficiently depressed to be suicidal you may well find this time of year a struggle. So much media pressure to be happy. So many advertisements showing ‘happy families’.
If you are alone, bereaved, have just lost your job or are struggling with the loss of a pet you may find being cheerful difficult right now. You do not have to feel ashamed or uncomfortable if you are sad or angry during these or any other holidays. Many people have situations outside of their control which make life difficult and this can be exacerbated at this time of year with all the public show of bright lights, Christmas music and the exchanging of Christmas cards.
Now the one note of caution I would include would be to try to avoid excessive alcohol consumption– anytime really and especially at this time of year. Alcohol lowers our inhibitions and means that if you might have an argument the more you drink the more inclined you may become to say something you may regret. Alcohol can also make you feel more ‘down’ and more likely to feel suicidal.
If you think you might be depressed I recommend taking a look at http://www.Depression Alliance.org and seeking help from your doctor. Anti-depressants can take several weeks to work so now is the time to act.
You might find a few ideas if you read my blog “Action Plan for Feeling Down” 3 June 2013 at http://www.Goodreads.com Also see if what I say is relevant to you in my blog at Goodreads on the 19th May 2013 “Are You An Adult Child of An Alcoholic”…if so you are likely to suffer more sadness in the festive season.
If you are thinking about a divorce please take into account the future impact upon your children – UNLESS THERE IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE – is it possible to wait until after Christmas?
“Walking on Egg Shells” is the title of my Kindle e-book for self help if you need to manage your anger or you live with someone who could do with reading what I say! Family rows at Christmas might be reduced if you gave relationships some thought beforehand. This season is when people who might not normally spend much time together feel obliged to do so!
The best Christmas I ever had as an adult was spent alone- pleasing myself. The most memorable was going with friends to serve food to people living on the streets of Boston USA.
What could you do to make yourself see the festival though with the least discomfort – emotionally or physically? Is there something you could do for another person?