My depression kicked in early this year. Normally it happens closer to Christmas but it reared its ugly head well before Thanksgiving. Thankfully I have been able to be completely open and honest about my depression with my new friends. Many of them struggle with depression themselves so they understand. I have yet to hear from anyone “Why are you depressed?” which is a relief. It gets old trying to explain that I get depressed for no reason at completely random times. I am bipolar and it happens.
Spending the holidays in a depressive state is the worst. I have done it for countless years and I am determined to overcome holiday depression this year. While I may not have everything I want I do have everything I need and as long as I keep reminding myself of that I think I will be okay. There are a few other tips I have to help you overcome holiday depression if it should occur. Please share any suggestions for depression conquering you may have as well.
Surround Yourself with Positive People
I know the last thing you may want while you are depressed is to be around people but it may be what you need. Loneliness often times comes with the depression package and being reassured that you are not alone is important. Friends and family are good support systems but not everyone has that luxury. If you are not near friends and/or family check your local newspaper for any support groups that would be a fit for you.
If you cannot find one why not start one yourself.
Count Your Blessings
My grandmother used to always tell me this whenever I was upset. When we are depressed we often feel like the world is against us; that our lives are beyond repair and maybe even pointless. When this happens I try to remind myself of everything I have going for me. I’m pretty smart (sometimes), I have people who love me and are always there for me, I have a roof over my head and food on the table (figuratively.) My bills are paid and I have plenty to keep me busy.
What are some things you have to be grateful for?
When your mind has something to focus on it becomes easier to forget the sadness. Believe me when I say I understand how hard it is to do anything when you are depressed but this is when it is time to force yourself to do stuff. My go to thing to keep busy is cleaning. I’m actually getting ready to fill a bucket with soapy water and scrub my kitchen floor. Cleaning helps me and it is a proven fact that a recently cleaned home boosts your morale. Journaling, exercising, crafting, and cooking/baking are some other ways to keep yourself busy all depending on your preferences.
What are some ways you can keep busy?
Avoid Drugs and Alcohol
It is tempting to self medicate to treat depression, especially during the holidays. It is strongly suggested to avoid drugs and alcohol while in a depressive state due to the side effects. Alcohol and many drugs are depressants themselves which may only exasperate your own depression. Instead of drinking or doing drugs during the holiday try to think of reasons to avoid them. Do you blackout? Have a history of embarrassing drunken mishaps? Do you become violent or overly emotional? These are all great reasons to avoid drugs and alcohol and instead lean towards something healthier.
What can you do to avoid drugs and alcohol?
Take Medications as Prescribed
I’m not a huge supporter of pharmaceuticals but there are some people who absolutely need them. I’m one of those people. It is tempting to come off of prescribed medication around the holidays in an attempt to feel “normal”. That is my excuse at least but thankfully I have Grace who is constantly on me to take my medication (Zoloft + Abilify). I know that for me to be fully functional I need that extra help. I’m not ashamed that I need medication but it does make me feel weak sometimes. I hate the fact that I have to rely on medication to make me a “real girl” but it is what it is. I have funky things going on in my brain that are out of my control – the medication helps keep the funk in check.
What can you do to stay on your medication?
Remember: This Too Shall Pass
I hate it when people who have no clue tell me “It will get better” and “You have to keep on fighting” because, really, what do they know? The truth is they are right; it is just frustrating to hear it when I am in the midst of a depressive state. If you find yourself losing hope and ready to give up the fight just remember that this too shall pass. I feel like I can say that because I know first hand what it is to want to give up. There is always, always, always an upside – we just don’t know when it will come.
What words of wisdom do you have for fighting depression during the holidays?