THE GREATEST GIFT IS YOU!
Depression During The Holidays
For most, the holiday season is the time of the year filled with fun parties, celebrations and social gatherings with family and friends. But for many, it is a time filled with sadness, loss, loneliness, and uncertain anxiety. At some point, we all grow into a time when we find ourselves feeling melancholy during the holidays. I can recall when I have felt depressed and overwhelmed due to the pure stress of gift giving, parties, financial strain, and certain in-laws. While my friends and family beamed holiday cheer, I was upset and bitter, a “Bah-Humbug” if you will. These stresses affect us all, so I know I’m not the only one who has felt this way.
I have observed most of my friends who have been depressed or melancholy during the holiday season, and typically these feelings are due to loss of a loved one, loss of family traditions, and pure loneliness. My suggestion to you this holiday season is to write a list of those you know who have suffered such losses and may feel lonely during the holiday season. Next reach out to them. One call or one visit can make a difference and a huge impact in a person who suffered loss or is feeling lonely. Some of the best gifts are invitations to share holiday cheer at events around town and be surrounded by people that care about you. Many do not realize that the real gift during the holiday season is your quality time spent with them. A simple ‘Happy Holidays’ or ‘I love you’ via text, email, or social media, simply isn’t the same or enough to make a difference. Face to face contact and social interaction means the world to someone facing depression.
If YOU suffer from loneliness or holiday depression, avoid being alone for the holidays! Whether you volunteer your time to help the needy at a food line or soup kitchen or spend it with a friend or family member, do not be alone. There are many valuable programs and organizations who need volunteers starting now. Your involvement will lessen your feelings of loneliness, of low self-esteem and low self-worth. Don’t wait for someone to reach out when you can seek others in need. Sometimes, giving to others when you feel you are at your worst gives you the fulfillment in your heart that you are desperately seeking.
When Depression Persists
There are times when many will be encouraged to “apply a “just think positive” mindset to their surprising amounts of unhappiness they are feeling, exacerbating the matter by creating more cognitive dissonance, eventually leading to depressive symptoms. Over time, the depressive thoughts generated between this discrepancy between fantasy and reality lead to potent feelings of inadequacy, failure and in some cases, suicidal thoughts.” (See More on Suicide Prevention and Why do people feel compelled to end their lives: Sovereign Health) If you continue to feel depressed or need someone to talk to, please reach out to one of our partners to help you through this rough time in your life.
Lastly, I encourage all of you to put down your cell phones and laptops this season to connect with family, friends, loved ones and others in need. You’ll be glad you did!
Pondo Vleisides, Executive Director COA