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.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Getty image via Ponomarencko


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Depression

Original illustration of young woman sitting alone in the woods

We Need to Talk About 'High-Functioning' Depression

You may have seen articles on social media talking about “high-functioning” anxiety. “High-functioning” anxiety is a difficult thing to walk through. It needs to be talked about, not brushed under the rug. I’m glad it has been, to some extent. Today, I want to talk about high-functioning depression. Because I feel alone. I feel like there is no [...]
ink and wash watercolor illustration set of girl with red heart symbol, traditional artwork scanned

What Finally Convinced Me I Was Depressed

Editor’s note: If you struggle with self-harm, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here. Depression. This misunderstood and often-debilitating disorder is perhaps one of the most stigmatized of mental disorders. How [...]

The One Thing Those With Depression Need to Know Right Now

Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. You are not alone. Had I known much earlier that I was not the only one struggling with depression in my circle, I would have reached out much sooner to [...]
Andy Richter

Andy Richter Offers Sassy (and Heartfelt) Response to This Common Depression Myth

Comedian Andy Richter, best known as Conan O’Brien’s late night “sidekick,” took a break from tweeting jokes on Friday to respond to a Twitter user who said, “Depression is a choice.” Oh really? Well “go fuck yourself” is a directive. https://t.co/7W9WOSdnsT — Andy Richter (@AndyRichter) November 17, 2017 Richter tweeted, “Oh really? Well ‘go fuck [...]