I’m not going to tell you something that most people don’t already know and/or battle: the holiday season from Thanksgiving through the New Year is a tough time for many of us.
Oh, sure, there is a percentage of those who love nothing more than to pull out the Christmas decorations, bake fudge and cookies, and shop ‘til they drop, often spending money they don’t have on things nobody needs.
Whether you are a Christian, atheist, Jew, Muslim, agnostic, Buddhist, or just do not have a clue about any of it, this time of year is different and difficult (for some). If you live in the U.S. and you aren’t a Christian, or even if you are, then you may feel bad for not wanting to participate in all the festivities that others seem to love. You may think to yourself: “There must be something wrong with me that I don’t enjoy all of this and I just can’t wait for January to get here.” And in my opinion the whole meaning of Christmas has been way overshadowed by materialism anyway so even Christians may not be too keen on all the hoopla.
Even if you are into all the holiday parties with that comes other types of struggles too. Getting left off of those party invitations can hurt your feelings even if you probably wouldn’t have gone anyway. Or you go to everything with the intent to eat, drink, and be merry only to find yourself depressed. This is the season when depression begins or is exacerbated for many. Being alone when you think everyone else is having a good time is not fun even if you used to have family or friends you shared holidays with and still did not enjoy it.
Depression kills people every day seemingly suddenly or over the long haul via overdoses of drugs, drinking too much over too many years until the liver gives up, a gun to the head, or any of the numerous ways one can commit suicide. For some reason our society deems depression as something that’s different from other ailments. If you break your leg and wear a cast people will offer to do almost anything to help you, but tell them you are depressed and they may shun you.
One of the worst things a depressed person can do is isolate and wallow in that depression. But one of the most difficult things a depressed person can do is get out and join the festivities.
Whether you are depressed during the holidays or any other time of year, please seek help. There are therapists who can talk to you and help you to not feel so alone. If you have insurance, you probably have at least a few visits provided for you to see someone. If you don’t have insurance there are places that charge according to what you can pay. You do not have to suffer alone.
“Life is difficult,” as M. Scott Peck wrote in the opening paragraph of his book: “The Road Less Traveled.” To pretend it is anything less than that is to fool yourself. Just because some people cannot deal with the fact that they or others suffer from depression doesn’t mean it isn’t real and just as important to deal with as a broken bone or cancer.
Sometimes depression is caused or worsened by life events; this is known as situational depression. At other times it is caused by an imbalance in the brain. If you have high cholesterol or a heart condition you might not hesitate to take medication for that, but God forbid someone says you are depressed and medication can help. Why many of us have that attitude is beyond me.
I’m uncertain about life after death, but if you believe as many do that this is our one life on this Earth then you owe it to yourself to make the best of it. There are no prizes for making it to the grave depressed. If you seek help and do what is suggested I can almost promise that you will feel better and maybe next year’s holiday season won’t be so crummy.