The annual epidemic of those with the “holiday blues” is setting in. While the number of those leading lives of “quiet desperation” over the holidays isn’t accurately understood … they don’t call it an epidemic for nothing. Those depressed aren’t just the usual suspects … teenagers, singles or widows who live alone … holiday depression strikes married men and women, those in relationships, introverts or extroverts. You can be a 13-year-old boy or a 48-year-old married mother of three. Those depressed often don’t disclose their condition because they themselves can’t articulate what they’re feeling … sometimes vague but very, very real … and hard to describe. Many of those affected don’t think others will understand (they may be right) and don’t want to be seen as “whiners” during a time when everyone around them is being upbeat. In effect, you can’t tell who may be or not be depressed in your circle. But not being able to tell doesn’t mean they aren’t there. When someone is depressed, their quality of life is significantly (and could be severely) degraded and those around them can be impacted. Since most of us can’t tell who may be affected by depression during the holidays, the best advice may be to engage in some personal outreach with all those close to you.
• Inquire — A friend of mine regularly comes up and asks how I’m doing … seriously and in a way that communicates he genuinely wants to know. I have to actually think what the answer is and I feel better he cared enough to really ask.
• Invite — Whether single or married with kids … anyone can be depressed and might enjoy a lunch, after work drink or evening out with a friend. All of us feel better when we feel included and desired as social partners.
• Empathize — The capacity of understanding emotions in another person is a powerful force. Being depressed often involves a huge sense of isolation … the sense that someone significant in your life empathizes with you can be uplifting.
• Encourage — Making the suggestion to see a therapist or other trained professional can give a depressed person the “permission” they may need to seek help without feeling guilty. The stigma of mental health treatment is still strong in our society and affirmation of the value of mental health treatment from a trusted friend or family member is important. From an article by Bill Schroer http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/article/20131221/OPINION02/312210010/Bill-Schroer-Don-t-let-depression-win-out-over-holidays
A human being can survive almost anything,
as long as she (he) sees the end in sight.
But depression is so insidious,
and it compounds daily,
that it’s impossible
to ever see the end.