Holidays and depression. Is it always necessary that they go together? For some people, yes they do. Why would anybody be depressed on the holidays? There are Christmas lights on all the houses, Christmas carols ring through the air, and the sound of children’s laughter and excitement can be heard in any department store at this time of the year. What’s depressing about Christmas? More importantly, for those who feel that depression, how do you handle it?
The reasons for depression around the holidays are many. Some people are mourning lost loved ones, some miss distant relatives, some have family fighting overseas, and miss them greatly. The present economic times bring money worries. Unemployment, smaller paychecks that leave no room for Christmas presents, the inability to buy presents and sometimes food for our families leave lots of room for depression.
What can we do about it? Well, first off, there are more than one type of depression. For example, there is clinical depression, and I’m not talking about that. If you feel you are clinically depressed or have a hormone imbalance, please see your doctor immediately. If you are one of those who have no insurance, find a clinic, go to a mental health center, do whatever it takes to get help.
What about the rest of us? In my case, the blues seem to settle in after all the fuss is over. I spend the week before Christmas baking, decorating, doing last minute shopping, wrapping presents and listening to Christmas music. That’s great, but what about when the festivities are finished and everybody goes home? How do you handle the let-down, post-Christmas blues? I have a couple of ways.
In my case, the best way for me to get over the blues is to write, so here I sit. What about those who don’t care to put pencil to paper or fingers to keyboard? Make a compromise. Put pencil to paper long enough to make a list. Try to think of all the reasons why you feel depressed, then list all your blessings. In my case, I came up with more than I realized.
Why should I feel depressed? Well, first of all, I miss my dad. He’s been gone for 11 years, but I miss him still. My youngest son and his wife live in California, and I miss spending Christmas with them. My husband can no longer work, so money is tight. We are fighting the government for that hard-to-get disability check, and that depresses us both. I drive an old car that is falling apart, and I commute 15 miles back and forth to work. It’s going to be hard to stretch my salary to encompass a car payment when it finally craters. What about those blessings? They are much easier to come up with.
For one, I have a full-time job that I enjoy 95% of the time. I teach, and I often have former students come up, hug my neck, and tell me they miss me. If I was a bad teacher, or had a bad rapport with my students, I don’t think that would happen. I like to think I actually make a difference every once in awhile.
Money is tight, but we have enough to keep the roof over our heads, the utilities going, we have cell phones and satellite television, so we can’t be hurting that bad. We both have a few health problems, but that comes with age and the alternative to aging is something I don’t even want to think about! I have a life partner I can grow old with, and that says a lot.
So, the next time you are feeling down, do what I do, and just like the old hymn says, “Count your blessings.” You’ll be feeling better in no time. I know it just worked for me.