When You're Dealing With Depression and Grief During the Holidays

Christmas is quickly approaching and as someone dealing with depression and the grief from the loss of a father I barely knew, the holidays are tough. It’s easy to see all of the holiday advertisements filled with happy, complete families and think that the holidays are a time of cheer and jubilation for all, but that just isn’t the case.

For many, the holidays are met with dread and compounded by grief. We may try to put on happy faces and spread holiday cheer, but find ourselves deeply troubled and saddened that our loved ones are no longer with us, so our depression might flare.

Frankly, I’m tired of society pushing the notion that everything must be OK, even when it’s not. Sometimes it takes the most courage to admit that everything isn’t OK. Sometimes it’s the smallest actions that mean the most. Sometimes even getting out of bed can be a burden, but it must be done.

The great poet Robert Frost once said that “In three words I can sum up everything I have learned about life: it goes on.” It goes on through the wintertime and holidays. It goes on when you seemingly don’t want to anymore — living with the effects of loss and depression. 

Life doesn’t stop. The world keeps spinning and somehow we must summon the courage to go on. To wake up and convince ourselves that today will be better than yesterday, and that the future is still alive.

The holidays can be a time of great cheer and joy, but also of great sadness and reflection. For those of us who find the holidays a little harder to bear, please go easy on us. While we might not show it, we do often find ourselves hurting. But while we are hurting, we also recognize the importance of the season and the fact that the most significant presents are not found beneath a Christmas tree, but in the little things. The smile of a newborn, the family gathering.

It is the little things that are the most significant.

So this holiday season, I’m choosing to be grateful for the little things and the people that I do have in my life.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

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Getty image via Ponomarencko

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