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Depression and the Holidays

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I was wondering if anyone is going through depression, and if so, how do you feel about the holidays? Is the holiday season making your depression better or worse?

I was diagnosed with depression a few months ago. I have depression and mental illness in my family, but I think it was a few bad events happening all at once over the summer that really brought it to surface. I didn't deal with them well, and that's when I knew something was wrong. I just shut down for weeks. Nobody, except maybe my doctor, understands what I'm going through. They say, well, I'm attractive, smart, have people who care about me - they don't get that depression can affect anyone. I was working in the city, and was about to graduate school - had a plan to stay there and work. My apartment was robbed, I didn't feel safe anymore, had to move, and struggle to find work in my economically depressed hometown while adjusting to living with my parents again. My boyfriend broke up with me, then my great aunt had a stroke and was put in a rest home. This all happened in a month's time. I got into a job a couple months later that seemed like a great opportunity, but I just wasn't prepared, and quit abruptly. It would be tough for anyone, but it really destroyed me. Things have gotten better now that I'm taking anti-depressants and talking to my doctor regularly, but I still have concerns about finding a job after the holidays, and being able to handle it if I do get one. It's kind of overshadowing the holiday season. Also, I don't want to face my relatives at our annual Christmas Eve get-together. Some of them are very nosy, and I don't want to talk about my life and why I'm in this rut. I think I'm going to get together with a friend instead of going. I just don't want to go through more anxiety and stress right now - I should be enjoying myself during Christmas. Also, my parrot, Birdie, died this morning, unexpectantly. It's actually my parents' bird, but I'm the one he liked the most, and I got attached to that bird. Sigh, I'm afraid to leave the house because bad things keep happening. Can anyone relate? What are you doing to get through it?
post #2 of 19
I am sorry you are suffering like this. It sounds like you are dealing with it by taking care of yourself, and trying to stay out of stressful situations. I am sorry about your bird. That doesn't help after everything else. Are there any support group meetings you can go to? Sometimes it helps to talk about your feelings with people having the same issues. Does your doctor have a group therapy you can join?

You hang in there. acknowledgement of your issues is the first step, and you have done that. Just be good to yourself and keep plugging away as best you can. Sometimes it helps to help others less fortunate, such as a homeless shelter, something like that.

Good luck, you'll be fine.
post #3 of 19
First of all, be gentle with yourself. The events you described are extremely difficult to cope with in a short amount of time.

I think that the Holidays come packed with too many "shoulds". You should be happy, you should want to be with other people, you should want to be with your family ... etc. And I think the "shoulds" are the worst part of the depression cycle. They don't motivate us, they just slam any self-esteem we might still have away.

I would say, do what you think is best for you. Make the plans you are most comfortable with.
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by katachtig View Post
First of all, be gentle with yourself. The events you described are extremely difficult to cope with in a short amount of time.

I think that the Holidays come packed with too many "shoulds". You should be happy, you should want to be with other people, you should want to be with your family ... etc. And I think the "shoulds" are the worst part of the depression cycle. They don't motivate us, they just slam any self-esteem we might still have away.

I would say, do what you think is best for you. Make the plans you are most comfortable with.
You have no idea how much sense you just made. Thank you for posting that.
post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by katachtig View Post
First of all, be gentle with yourself. The events you described are extremely difficult to cope with in a short amount of time.

I think that the Holidays come packed with too many "shoulds". You should be happy, you should want to be with other people, you should want to be with your family ... etc. And I think the "shoulds" are the worst part of the depression cycle. They don't motivate us, they just slam any self-esteem we might still have away.

I would say, do what you think is best for you. Make the plans you are most comfortable with.

That's the best possible way to explain the holidays.

Plus, don't let people force you into attending any event you don't want to. I know my mom was like that when I lived at home and went through a depression. Satisfying someone else isn't going to make you happy. You need to make you happy before you can help with someone else.

I wouldn't worry too much about finding a job, even in an economically depressed area...once the New Year rolls around that equals a new budget, so businesses will be hiring (this is coming from someone in that lives in the highest or second highest state for unemployment.)

Happy Holidays to you and I wish you the best for the New Year.
post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by maiseycat View Post
Can anyone relate? What are you doing to get through it?

Absolutely I can relate and I bet many others can too. I am a mental health professional and I know depression intimately from both sides, as a therapist and as a client. Lexapro (20 mg a day) has changed my life totally. The most crushing thing about depression is its insidious way of altering your thinking so that the same things that might make you joyous previously are now irritating, exhausting and make you feel worse. And when the pressure to be "happy" at the holiday season arrives it feels overwhelming.

Keep taking your meds, don't be ashamed to admit you have this problem and go easy on yourself when the blackness hits. I kept a diary and found that if i got going early in the day I could stave off a really black day. What helped me when things got bad was some mindless easy activity, anything to get going- distract me but not so complex that I would feel overwhelmed and fall into a puddle of tears and failuire. Something like ironing, folding laundry, a walk around theblock, a hot bath. It's a one day at a time battle and you must counteract your thoughts with wholesome behaviors. Depressed thoughts often real more true because they are so pressing but they aren't the truth.

when my deprerssion starts to creep up on me I look it in the face like a bully and a liar and tell it to get the hell away from me. Does this make sense? PM me any time. It has taken years for me to really get it under control and I have big shoulders for a little person.
post #7 of 19
I'd say I'm fairly sad during this Holiday season. It's primarily because I hear about everyone else's plans for the Holidays, and for me, they are just another day. No gifts, no dinners, no get togethers with anyone, just going to work. Usually I love the Holidays, but not when I'm forced to work every year, which stops me from being able to go to San Diego to be with my family. I also can't go to any friends house, because of my hours, so I'm alone.
post #8 of 19
You are not alone. You have your babies. I have my babies too. My family has chosen to believe that I was dead, so there is no gifts, no meals, none of the hustle and bustle....but I have my babies to hug, they love me whether I am I am good mood or not, and if I need to shed tears, they lick the tears from my face. I'd say I was the wealthiest and happiest person on earth. You are too, right beside me.
post #9 of 19
And I thought my Christmas this year was going to be tough!

I was recently dumped by a boyfriend of 2 years. The past couple years we have been at his parent's house for Christmas morning. I just loved the hustle and bustle. Plus waking up beside a man I really loved on that special morning was just amazing.

And now this year I am all alone. Well not really, I am going to see my family. But I still feel alone. All my sisters (I have 4!) are either in a relationship or married and well my parents are together. I find myself getting more and more depressed the closer it gets to Christmas.

What I have been trying to do is just not think about it. Think about how I get to spend it with my family now and positive thoughts like that.

I know my problems seem minimal to those with depression (although I worry I may become depressed) but I felt compelled to share for some reason.

I hope everyone has a very merry christmas no matter how you spend it. A big HUG to everyone!!

Sorry I wasn't much help
post #10 of 19
I have had one of the worst years on record, and the blackness has started to descend several times, along with utter panic because I am not meeting my deadlines and sometimes just can't get going in the mornings. I sat and stared at nothing for several weeks after Napoleon died. And I am not going home to my family during the holidays, though I am invited for lunch to a friend here. But I keep thinking I have my babies around me and they depend on me and give me love and I have to keep myself together for their sake. All of us are rich in the things that matter if we have love, no matter where it comes from.
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for the encouraging words and advice. Sometimes I just feel like no one gets it, or that I'm the only "abnormal" one out there. Not that I'm glad other people are depressed, but it helps hearing about others' experiences.

Yes, my kitty has been a great source of comfort for me. She's not the most affectionate cat, but I think she senses that I'm especially sad today. When I picked her up and held her tight, she didn't struggle to get away. I went upstairs to listen to music to help cheer me up, but instead I sat down and started crying. Maisey came in and sat down in my lap. It helps having an arm full of kitty to hold.
post #12 of 19
There have been many times this year when I have grabbed the nearest cat (sometimes more than one) and buried my head in its fur and just wept. It does help.
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by katachtig View Post
First of all, be gentle with yourself. The events you described are extremely difficult to cope with in a short amount of time.

I think that the Holidays come packed with too many "shoulds". You should be happy, you should want to be with other people, you should want to be with your family ... etc. And I think the "shoulds" are the worst part of the depression cycle. They don't motivate us, they just slam any self-esteem we might still have away.

I would say, do what you think is best for you. Make the plans you are most comfortable with.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lookingglass View Post
You have no idea how much sense you just made. Thank you for posting that.
I agree, Christmas is always hard for me, as my dad died just after Christmas and since moving here, I am away from the huge family Christmas I am used to... having family around really helps me.

This year we have decided to do absolutely nothing. No running around to his families houses for the sake of 'doing Christmas', particularly as none of them really get along well. We are going to see his gramma and thats it. Other than that we are enjoying a few well deserved days of sleeping in and doing nothing and enjoying the football games.

As far as the job, as tough as it seems, worry about it when the time comes... and focus on the immediate stresses of Christmas now.
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiki_585 View Post
And I thought my Christmas this year was going to be tough!

I was recently dumped by a boyfriend of 2 years. The past couple years we have been at his parent's house for Christmas morning. I just loved the hustle and bustle. Plus waking up beside a man I really loved on that special morning was just amazing.

And now this year I am all alone. Well not really, I am going to see my family. But I still feel alone. All my sisters (I have 4!) are either in a relationship or married and well my parents are together. I find myself getting more and more depressed the closer it gets to Christmas.

What I have been trying to do is just not think about it. Think about how I get to spend it with my family now and positive thoughts like that.

I know my problems seem minimal to those with depression (although I worry I may become depressed) but I felt compelled to share for some reason.

I hope everyone has a very merry christmas no matter how you spend it. A big HUG to everyone!!

Sorry I wasn't much help

I am in the exact same situation as you..

Maiseycat, It is hard during the holidays because of all the busy times and pressure..I hope you feel better soon, and know that we are here for you
post #15 of 19
Yes!!
I lost my Dad in Jan. of 2005.Christmas of 2004, was a rough one for my family(Dad was dying) and now I get depressed when Christmas comes around.
post #16 of 19
Last year, Lola died and my family also had plans to spend Christmas far away from home, something we've never done before. So, although it seems petty and stupid, even though I was with them, I felt so very alone and homesick for the whole season. Lola's death sort of caused a lingering feeling of a) not wanting to do anything productive and b) made me sort of obsessive about my remaining cats. There were a number of serious (negative) things that happened within my family last year, in the holidays and in the spring. I alaso snowballed into doubting my career choice around christmas (music performance) and I essntially slacked off for 8 months and that had some AWFUL consequences that I'm still dealing with now. Man, that lasted well into the summer. I feel like I'm just now learning how to be joyful again. I finally feel at peace with Lola's passing (despite that I miss her every single day, but at least I've stopped blaming myself) and only recently I've begun to make music again and to WANT to be with my flute.

I think that it's largely a decision you have to gradually learn how to make. For me, I never sought and professional help (though I should have) and was never medicated. But you have to really just take life one day or one worthwhile task at a time. I guess what I missed wass finding those little miracles and beautiful parts of everything (often where you least expected them) is what's keeping my head above water and helping me really, really thrive recently. And it doesn't have to be the things you're "supposed" to.

And, you can always take a deep breath, take a bubble bath, drink a cup of tea with honey, eat a Hershey's kiss, hug a kitty and take a 30 minute nap. This whole process takes 60-90 minutes and really recharges me.
post #17 of 19
for you Maggie

I am so sorry you have lost dear Birdie R.I.P Birdie

I can empathise with you Maggie,It isn't easy living with depression,I've had is for more years than I care to remember and I know sometimes it seems like I am trapped in a dark bottomless pit balancing on a knife edge and it will never end...and yes it is worse this time of year,but I just take one day at a time.....that is all you can do,But don't ever feel pressured into doing things you are not upto doing,Like Katachtig said there are too many 'shoulds' ,Take time out for yourself Maggie

I started drinking (alcohol) Heavily..when I was first seriously depressed,It took me two years to seek the medical help and I was prescribed Prozac and all its other sudanames(Lofepromine etc etc) and stronger ones(Theoradazine) but because I had to get them from my gp there was no health warning about the effects of those drugs.
These drugs can be dangerous to the unborn foetus' and anybody pregnant,and can cause liver damage when taken long term and are a drinker I just thought I'd mention that for the benefit of anybody who didn't know


I really hope things start to improve for you Maggie Keep your chin up and try not to let things get you down..You have friends here
post #18 of 19
I wasnt too depressed prior to this last week
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharky View Post
I wasnt too depressed prior to this last week
We're ALL friends here,We may have our disagreements and ups and downs but thats no different from any ' normal' Family,were ALL here for each other at the end of the day and we're here for you too
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