It’s nice to think of the joy of the holidays, but for many it brings depression. People’s holiday season often includes thoughts of the past: loved ones who are no longer with them, memories of Thanksgivings and Christmases of long ago and thoughts of sadness when they realize that what once was cannot ever be again. For many people, depression is brought on by loneliness for those who spend the holidays by themselves.
Depression is a negative word in our society. But it’s also a common word, and an increasingly common condition. Depression can vary from a singular, mild event to major clinical depressive illness, with wide variance in between.
I, myself, have struggled with depression my whole life. Each time one of my children has moved out into adulthood, I knew I was supposed to feel pride and happiness for them, but I felt like a part of my heart was being ripped out. I felt like something was missing for months afterwards.
When we have lost brothers and sisters in the movement, I have never been mentally ready to lose those who have been with us through the ups and downs of our fight for independence. Every time another warrior dies, it changes the movement and gives us uncertainty of who will be with us as we continue the move forward.
That said, personally experiencing depression has taught me to look for the positive things in life, and to try not to focus on the negative and sad aspects of it. It has taught me to better value each day of life that I have been given, and to daily try to do something good for someone else. It has also taught me that I do not have to stay depressed for the rest of my life; there are things I can do to lift my depression. You can do these, too.
Sometimes, it may be as simple as going for a walk or doing other exercise, which can clear your head from negative thoughts and raise endorphin levels. Other ideas include reaching out to a neighbor, calling a friend or offering a smile to someone you don’t know. Depression can also be treated in other ways, including by caring professionals.
Depression doesn’t have to be part of people’s holidays. It doesn’t have to be part of mine, and it doesn’t have to be part of yours. My thoughts will be with you this holiday season as we all continue on. Please call our office anytime we can be of help or encouragement to you.