Season of despair and dread….

Posted by on Dec 16, 2016 in Depression Counseling

Season of despair and dread….

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is a widely known term that is often used to describe individuals who display symptoms of depression due to the changing of the seasons. It can be traced to the lack of sunlight and brightness, cold temperatures, and dark days, mostly occurring during the winter months of the year. This type of weather and temperature change, affects many individuals during the winter. Suicide rates tend to be higher, as depression is more likely to set in. Although this blog is not about SAD, during these same winter months, there is a period of time that is referred to as the ” Holiday Season”. This season is often thought of as being joyous, happy and often times referred too as the most wonderful time of the year. It’s quite unfortunate that my term “seasonal depression” has to be used here, during this most festive season. The holiday season can be considered as a time of despair and dread for millions of individuals here in the US and around the globe.

The Holiday season is often said to be the most joyous time of the year. It can be seen as magical to some, the smell, the sights and the sounds of festivity is everywhere. At least in New York City it is. Families get together to celebrate the season, especially with loved ones who often come from afar to visit and join in the event. It’s all about families getting together, spending time, being gracious through gift giving, and other kind gestures. It’s also a great time to reflect on life. But have you ever wondered, especially if this has not personally touched your life, how the newly widowed man or woman, who has never spent the holidays alone will fair during this time? What about the individual that has lost a parent, sibling or child during the year? How about the person who has to bear the fact that a loved one will not be around anymore.

These are just some of the devastating situations that most people do not see, or for that mater don’t ever think about during this festive season, but there are lots of individuals that are suffering during this time of the year. It’s not a happy, joyous, wonderful season for all. Depression during this time of the year is usually at its highest level. Suicide rates, alcohol consumption and other substance abuse are usually higher. People also tend to fall into deeper financial debt, and overall stress levels are usually very high during this season.

For those who have lost loved ones throughout the year prior to this season, the toll is usually the hardest during this time of the year. The memories of Holidays past are still very new to them. The first holiday without loved ones are usually the hardest and toughest. A new sense of normalcy takes over and it’s usually not a very well received one. The pain is fresh and new and unfamiliar to them. They will need to be treated gently during this season. Their pain and sorrow can at times seem too heavy for them to bear alone. They will usually need to be comforted, soothed and cared for more.

The season of despair and dread will remain with them for a very long time, but every year it will also get a little bit easier to bare. My intention for this blog is for you to think about others during this most joyous time of the year and for you to realize that there are people out there, who are dreading this season, because they are hurting. I remember sharing earlier this year that a friend and colleague of mine committed suicide. I can’t begin to image what her family will be going through this holiday season, their first holiday season without her here with them.
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Although, I didn’t mention this earlier, this is also a very difficult time for those who are single. This is often a season of dread for many of them as well. Their lack of a family or significant other usually comes full circle, during this time of the year. A time of year when it’s all about families is usually seen as a slap in the face for some, as many are longing for a family of their own. They will usually tend to feel lonel, withdrawn and left out of events during this time as well. Symptoms of depression are definitely common for singles during this time. Those who are single for the first time, may find it difficult to adjust, they are bound to be held hostage to the past and of what they once shared with their ex.

With everything mentioned above, I hope that you are just a little bit more aware of what this season can mean to so many others. Be kind to each other and give hugs sparingly during this season. This could be the only hug that someone may have received all year or in a very long time. Share your well fortune with others. Spend time with others especially those who are alone. Life has a very funny way of giving back to us; what we give out. If you are someone you know, dread this season, reach out and get the help that you need, sometimes just simply talking or sharing your story can help. I want you to turn this season around and make it a joyous one. With everything said here, have a very Happy Holiday season, and if you can’t, try your best to get through it the best way you can. Take good care of yourself.