Surviving Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder and Holidays
If you are a person who gets depressed during the Christmas holidays, you are not alone. A feeling of sadness may be noticed as the Summer comes to an end, kids go back to school. Initially you may this to the fact that you hate the colder months.
It is helpful to discover the root cause of the depression, so that you know how best to approach it. It may be something as basic as your parents divorcing around Christmas, SAD, (seasonal affective disorder) or some other triggers associated with trauma.
It is heightened and more painful, because of the hyper-commercialization of the holiday! It is almost impossible to get away from, it unless you move to a country that does not celebrate the holiday. You might not be able to run away from it all, but there are helpful ways to lessen the Winter Blues.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder, is a depression that is educed, by the shortening of the days, and when there are less hours of sunshine. This conditions usually occurs, between the Fall and Winter months. It is different than clinical depression which can occur anytime, whereas SAD only occurs during the holiday seasons.
One of the recommended treatments for this type of depression, is light therapy. Light therapy, is the use of lighting, calibrated to simulate the affects or natural sunlight. Those who use this method, have been said to experience more energy and a lifting of the mood and thoughts.
A light box comes in difference sized and costs, but there are portable models available, that can be used at home or the office. If you have notice that you are a normally happy person, that get depressed only during the holiday seasons, you may be suffering from this condition.
Signs of Depression
If you can answer yes, to 5 or more of these symptoms, you my be experiencing depression:
- Disinterest in life
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Feeling hopeless
- Feeling worthless
- Preoccupied with death, dying
- Weight gain
- Feeling guilty
- No energy
Everyone remember a Christmas party where everyone gets load and is seemingly having a ball. Don't let they person be you. Drinking, is a common way of dealing with depression. Alcohol however, affects serotonin levels in the brain and makes symptoms worse.
am not saying you can not have a drink or two, but avoid overdoing it. Become a designated driver, to ensure you will not drink to excess. If you decided to have a drink, remember you should wait one hour after having 8 ounces of alcohol.
Throw your Own Party
If you are experiencing holiday sadness, it is important not to keep to yourself. Like any depression, isolation gives you opportunity to ruminate on your situation, and can cause an intensification of that feeling.
Make an effort to get around others, stay busy and engaged. Yes, force yourself to get out and about. You will be surprised how taking your mind off things, can help you to feel better. Bring the party to you! Often when you are feeling down, people will encourage you.
Other times, they will avoid you because, they don't want to be bothered with someone who will bring them down.. Have a party and invite some friends to a gathering you have put together.
Now you have create a situation, where at a difficult time, you will be with friends around. It's your party, so why not have a theme party that has nothing to do with Christmas. You will be surprised how many other people struggle with the holidays.
Preventing Holiday Blues
Realize that the Christmas season is just a temporary celebration. It will be over on December 26th. As a person who suffers from Christmas blues, I am fully aware of the marked relief I feel the day after Christmas. I you will be seeing family, especially those you do not care for, prepare yourself, and remember, you only see them around Christmas.
You may encounter jabs, or sarcastic remarks about, not being married yet, not having any children, or being out of work. Let it go and, save any major discussions about personal matters for after the celebration. There will be nothing accomplished, by arguing or getting upset over drunken or careless remarks.
Everything does not have perfect! Not every pie or Christmas turkey will come out of the oven a gourmet delight. Your decorations may only be "cute" but you are not trying out for the cover of Martha Stewart's Living magazine. But Christmas is a time to bond with family and friends to make loving, lasting memories, not perfection.
Keep lighthearted people around you. They will help keep you grounded, make you laugh about your dry crust or tree that leans slightly to the left. In others words, surround yourself with people who won't allow you to take yourself too seriously. I love my crazy friends, who make me laugh. Before you know it, you will be holding your side, with tears running down your face.
If Finances is the Problem
Christmas can make you very miserable, especially when you are short of money. Some get depressed when they get caught up in the buying aspects of the holiday. When it means spending money you do not have, on people you do not really like, it can cause frustration and resentment toward the holiday that has cause it all.
If you feel you want to do something for others, find ways that don't cost a lot of money, like baking tin of cookies, having a pot luck dinner, or a grab bag for the family or work. A grab back is good because it set a modest price for a gifts and you won't go broke spending 10 or $15 for a present.
My family had a family tradition where, we only buy gifts of children. Children do not understand finances, and are looking for something special. The wonder of Christmas is, after all for Children.
When to See the Doctor
Your family doctor has the ability to identify your symptoms, and can help you.. Although I prefer not to use medication, your physician may suggest a mild antidepressant, just for a few weeks, to get you through the season.
If you really don't want to take drugs, ask about a herbal substitute such as evening primrose, Valerian root, or St. John's Wort. The medical field is a lot more open and versed in other treatments for depression.
Talking to a therapist, can be expensive. Consider finding a depression support group or you may also be able to get discount services at Catholic Charities, the Salvation Army or another community organization.
I is definitely time to see your Dr. if you feel you are not coping well, or if suicidal thought have come into play. Your physician may also suggest therapy, to assist in discovering the true causes of this condition. If you do not have a doctor or medical benefits and feel you want to hurt yourself, go straight to the emergency room!
The Reason for the Season
It is helpful to remember that the true meaning of Christmas, is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. If you are a believer, it is important to bring these things back to your memory, when you feel you are getting caught up in the insanity which is the other meaning of Christmas.
Gifts, toys, things do not make the holiday, but friends and family is congregating to remember the little baby in the manger. Keep it simple and remember He is the Reason for the Season!
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