It’s here, the ‘most wonderful time of the year’. Turkeys are being purchased and gifts are being bought, and starbucks cups are the talk of the town and pretty much everyone is wondering what they’ll receive for Christmas.
But, has anyone ever told you that depression statistics are heightened during the fall and continue to rise all throughout winter? Two things: Seasonal Depression and Major Depressive Disorder. I guess to you they may go hand in hand, but for us they are two very separate acquaintances that work hand in hand for my emotional and mental demise.
You see the Holidays are exciting, hot chocolate, and christmas lights and decorations and that uncle that always gives you fifty dollars but probably doesn’t even know your middle name. For us? It’s social isolation to protect mood swings, its stand offish defense mechanisms to prevent an anxiety attack, it’s compensating with drinking and fake smiles to try and compare to your real ones.
Last year during New Year's Eve, right before the clock hit 12, I remember trying to think to myself what could be exciting about a New Year and why I SHOULD feel happy surrounded by so much family. But all I could really think about was how empty I really felt and how I could not be re filled simply because it’s a ‘new year’.
Major Depressive Disorder is episodes of manic depression over a period of time, and mine happens to spike during the Holidays because there is this pressure to maintain a certain type of positivity that, at times, I have no energy to pretend to have. No matter how happy i am in life and fulfilled, my brain will never give up those metaphorical hands around my neck making me feel like I’m running out of time, and for what you ask, not even I know to be honest.
This is PSA, is for us, my people who can relate, my people who spend more time worrying than planning for Holiday dresses and parties. My people who dread Santa’s arrival because of the anxiety that the cookies you left out just aren’t good enough.
Please be safe and protect your energy during these times. It is always ok to say ‘no’ if you are not up to a Holiday outing or a group get together. Please find at least one person you can confide in about your depression and why it spikes up during this time. I’m writing this for the people that have no energy to talk about it.
So from your depressed friend, please don’t take it personal, the Holiday’s just can’t be our thing and I promise we will always try, especially if we love you, we will always try.