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10 Holiday Blues Only People With Depression Would Understand

10 Holiday Blues Only People With Depression Would Understand

The holidays are supposed to be a time for joy and celebration; however, not everyone feels the same. If you suffer from depression, you may find it difficult to cope during these festive seasons. The holiday atmosphere actually makes you feel more depressed and bad about yourself.

Here are 10 holiday blues only people with depression would understand.

1. You want to feel joyous like everyone else but you can’t.

You understand that the holidays are meant to be joyous and celebrated. You wish you could join in the fun, but you just can’t feel the holiday spirit. Your world is so bleak that you can’t see any hope for the future. The holidays are just like any other day of the year, only worse.

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2. You don’t wish to dampen the holiday spirit with your depression.

The holidays make you feel worse because you know that your friends are having fun but you don’t wish to be the one spoiling their fun. Even though you need support from your friends, you would rather be alone and not reach out to them. You don’t want to bring down their moods with your depression. You feel unworthy to celebrate with them.

3. You don’t want other people to know about your depression.

Depression is not something you want to talk about during the holidays. You are afraid that when you talk about it, you would suddenly cry in front of all your friends like what you usually do alone at night. Not only will it spoil the festive mood, but you will also feel ashamed crying in front of others, especially when it’s the holidays.

4.  You deny your own feelings for the holiday.

People expect you to be happy during the holidays. You don’t have the holiday feeling, but you pretend that you are enjoying yourself so that others don’t probe further. Feeling depressed is already bad enough. On top of that, you have to pretend that you are fine during the holidays. Not being able to be yourself and feel your emotions makes you feel even worse during this period.

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5. You would rather hide than catch up with your relatives.

You hate it when relatives ask you, “How are you doing?” You know this question is unavoidable. They haven’t seen you for a long time and want to catch up with your life. However, you feel like running away because you can’t answer this question honestly. Not only will you risk having a breakdown in front of them, but you also think they won’t understand and accept depression.

6. You want to avoid crowds, but people keep asking you out.

There are 365 days in a year. All of your friends seem to be free only during the holiday period. Everyone is asking you out for parties so that they can catch up with you and everybody else together. Honestly, you just want to be alone at home. Seeing crowds make you panic for no logical reason. You know you will feel worse after the parties. That said, in the end, you agree to turn up for a couple of them because you are so tired of rejecting your friends.

7. You dread gift exchange.

Getting the energy to cope with daily life is already a struggle to you. Having to buy gifts for others is asking too much of you. You don’t know what to buy for your friends. There are too many choices. What if they don’t like what you have bought? Everything seems so costly. There are so many things to worry about for gift exchange. You can’t see the joy in it.

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8. You have to spend more time alone to recover from the holiday parties.

Every party you go, it drains you and leaves you feeling more depressed. You need to make extra effort to socialize with others when all you want to do is sleep at home and not bother with anyone else. You know you don’t bring your best to the party and you leave others with a bad impression. After each party, you feel worse and blame yourself for accepting your friend’s invitation.

9. Your friends don’t understand why you could feel depressed amidst all this joy.

You tell your best friends how you feel, but they think that you are too negative and ask you to lighten up for the holidays instead. They think you’ll get better with all the celebrations around you. You used to believe that holidays like Christmas were magical. However, ever since you have depression, you feel like you are abnormal and everybody doesn’t understand you.

10. You are reminded how unhappy you are when see other people happy.

During the holiday seasons, you just want to turn everything off. Walking on the streets and seeing everyone else happy with their families makes you more depressed with the state you are in. You can’t read social media posts anymore because everyone except you seems to be in so much joy and happiness. You wish your depression would be over soon so that you can be like everyone else again.

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Featured photo credit: Rainy Christmas Grief Child Kid / PublicDomainPictures via pixabay.com

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Yong Kang Chan

Self-Help Author (Writes about Self-Compassion and Mindfulness)

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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