Holiday Blues or Mistreated Illness? It’s never too late to get help.

Holidays have always been important in my family, especially Christmas. It was the one time of year that everyone around me just seemed to be in a better mood, and though there were little pieces of mood shifts, my anxiety and depression were always more at ease during this time. I love my family. I love the peace that that holidays brought to my family.

However, as I got older and my family got smaller because of death, disconnects or busy schedules and as I result, my mood became lower, and soon, I was not involved in any holiday festivities. I saw no point in celebrating when no one seemed to be into it. I certainly wasn’t.

My spirit died. 

I felt more stressed around the holidays, and instead of looking forward to them, I would anticipate the end of the season. I just wanted to go away and wait it out, be alone in isolation. I put my feelings on others because I couldn’t deal with myself. There was a point in my life that I wanted to divorce myself and not exist.

Deep down, I knew this wasn’t me. I knew I still loved the holidays, but I abstained from celebrating. I couldn’t let myself enjoy the holidays if other people were not happy. I even have my brothers and sisters that celebrate the holidays every year. I could have easily been with them. I just convinced myself that I did not need them and they did not require me to be there. Plus, at some point, during the years, I would have put a damper on to their celebration. I was incomplete with a void that could never be filled. How could a problem like this even be fixed?

I tied for years to “fixed” the problem on my own, but I only made it worse. The best advise I gave myself was to hide away until it was all over. This action was not making me happy. It was making me unstable. I was dying.

So, how did I get out of this dark hidden place?

The answer: I told someone. At first, I got the classic, “well that is silly” and felt invalidated. My mind was too sad to see any humor in their jokes or words of encouragement. I had a real problem going on in my head that didn’t make much sense to why it was an issue. I just wanted to it to go away before I took myself away from the problem a/k/a die.

Determined and finally acknowledging that I could not solve this problem myself, I opened up to others…anyone at one point. I finally found someone who gave me some kind of direction and that direction was to a therapist.

So, I went to therapy. Although, I realized that even with the acknowledgment of my problems, I would need to do my part to make things better. I could either choose to be miserable or start enjoying the simple things. I had to make peace with the guilt I felt for vanishing for so many years. I began to follow CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy), and I was put on anti-anxiety medications.

WIth opening up to my family (how awkward as it felt), following through with therapy, and understanding why I am anxious or get very depressed, I starting to see sparkles of light. I was not ready for the holidays during my first year of therapy, but I made sure to text everyone. Then I got the courage to call a few years later, and now I am finally starting to show up to actual holiday celebrations.

I count my blessings as I remember past memories, old traditions , and now the continuation of developing new positive moments. As I write this, I am listening to Christmas music that gets into my soul, which for the longest time I felt was dead. I started moving forward that year that I asked for help. It was those simple things I thought were lost that began to resurface. I had to acknowledge the new meaning, and I was fortunate enough to realize it before the darkness entirely consumed me. I thank my friend for starting this new chapter.

I will still get depressed, and I know I will get anxious for no reason except that my brain is inclined to do so…but I can manage it. I have my plans to get me through the storms.

Just like the saying goes, sometimes things have to get worse before they get better. For me, turning the negative thoughts into positive or matter of fact type thoughts (thank you CBT) proved to be successful. Now, I can appreciate the holiday season.

I know this is short and there is a lot of backstories to why I am this way, but the point of this short piece is to start somewhere and to not give up. You are your life, and your life is significant, even if it does not feel that way. It is…someone one out there is looking to you. It could be a neighbor, your family, the postman or even yourself. The vital first step is to realize that you have a problem and to express it before it gets any worse. There are many reasons why so many people get depressed or even worse commit suicide. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Here are some numbers if you are in a place that you need help but have nowhere to go:

If you’re struggling, take the time you need today for self-care and reach out to someone you trust. If you know someone who is struggling, reach out to them, get help. I am glad that I did. I would not be where I am today if I didn’t reach out for help.

Thank you.

#holidaydepression #suicide #gethelp #anxiety #depression #holidayblue #mentalillness

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