Christmas is known as “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, and for many people this holds true. It seems impossible to be anything but happy during the holiday season, but sadly, mental disorders do not take a Christmas vacation. The holidays can be a huge burden for people struggling with mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression.
Depression comes in multiple forms. One of the less talked about forms of depression is known as S.A.D., or seasonal affective disorder. Seasonal depression occurs at the same time of the year. For most people with S.A.D., it happens during the winter months. Despite fun festivities going on, the cold weather and short daylight hours can throw people in a downward spiral. Symptoms of S.A.D. are similar to depression; over or excessive sleeping, weight gain or loss, fatigue, isolation, and loneliness. Scientists still have a lot of studying to do regarding seasonal affective disorder, but like most mental illnesses, it is curable through counseling and medication.
While the holidays put some people in a period of despair, it stresses others out beyond their limit. The biggest worry regarding the Christmas season is finances and money. Along with being The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, it is the most expensive time of the year. Everybody wants to have a successful Christmas for their family and friends by getting them the best gifts. Most of the time, the gifts that are considered good are not cheap. For someone with anxiety, dealing with money is very exhausting and overwhelming.
Another big factor affecting people with mental illnesses is the excessive amount of junk food that the average person consumes during the holidays. From the time that autumn begins until New Year’s, the amount of festive treats is tempting. Something that is considered a dessert the rest of the year is an excuse for a meal because it is seasonal. While the sugary and fun treats are satisfying for a moment, the overall effect is not kind to the body or mind. Taking care of the body is crucial to staying ultimately happy, and winter is the hardest time to do that.
If you find yourself struggling with anxiety or depression specifically this Christmas season, you may need to see a doctor. Along with that, staying active, focusing on the positive, making your home brighter, and talking about your feelings may help you feel better. It can be hard to admit to yourself if that you’re feeling unusually sad during the holiday because of all the “cheer”, but you are not the only one dealing with it and help is available.