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3 Things on My Holiday List as Someone With Depression

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As 2017 begins to wrap up — as we patiently wait for 2018 to begin — we have one final leg to survive: the holiday season. To many, this time of year is full of joy, wonder and cheer. However, to others, the mix of leftover pumpkin spice and the reintroduction of peppermint flavored everything can cause a switch to turn on. Some of you may already know what I am referencing but to those unaware, I am speaking of the “ever-so-fun,” back and forth cycles of seasonal depression.

The holidays can be a rough period of time for those enduring and surviving their mental illness. On one hand, we may be bombarded with questions from family members who are just as clueless to the answers as we are. On the other, we may be lacking family to partake in family-geared holiday events. No matter the circumstance, the holidays will come and go and then the real celebration begins. Yes, I’m talking about all the discounted candy and sweets your stomach can withstand. If you are unsure of what to get a loved one or someone special who may have fallen under seasonal depression’s spell, don’t worry — hopefully, these three suggestions can lead you in the right direction.

1. A candle.

Although simple, a favorite scent can lift someone’s mood. It can also provide warmth for a person who has become numb to their emotions and feeling as cold as the temperature around them. It can act as a small token of light shining in the darkness that is so easy to slip into. There is something calming in watching a flame slowly burn over time. An added benefit is being able to make your house smell like whatever you want if you’re not a fan of pumpkin spice or peppermint. Personally, I’m thinking of a salty beach aroma in the middle of winter.

2. Buy them their favorite food.

Everyone has a favorite food. It might be a special food, or something simple and common. Having something to look forward to at the end of a long day can reduce stress and the feelings of being overwhelmed. It can also be a conversation starter. What do they like about the food? Do they make it a special way? This can hopefully spark a non-stressful conversation. Personally, my favorite food is mac and cheese, and on those down and out days, it is definitely my go-to meal. A full and happy stomach is a step toward a full and happy mind.

3. Give them time and space.

Most importantly, give them time and space. This might be something new to them or something they are used to dealing with. It will pass, as all emotional moods come and go. Be there for them if they need someone. Just having someone in the same room can reduce the loneliness brought on by the season’s change.

Seasonal depression hits everyone differently. What might work for one person, might not work for the other. The items listed above are, what I believe to be, very simple mood lifters. If you are 100 percent unsure what to get someone to help them out of their funk, ask them. The person experiencing a spell of depression will be able to provide you with more guidance than anyone else.

I wish everyone the fondest of times throughout this holiday season. I know seasonal depression can hit hard, but I believe each and every one of you has the ability to hit back harder.

Happy holidays and have a stronger, mightier new year.

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Photo by Elijah Hail on Unsplash

Originally published: November 21, 2017
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