MEMPHIS, Tenn. — With Christmas just around the corner, there’s a lot of cheer to go around but some people may be struggling this holiday season as seasonal depression steals their joy.
But Youth Villages licensed counselor Angel Gooden says those struggling through depression right now aren’t alone.
“Holidays are a trigger or reminder sometimes of recent deaths of loss in the family, because those are the times you are used to spending time with people and you don’t really get a chance to do it,” Golden said.
“You think this is the time when you should feel really happy and you don’t quite understand why you are feeling so down and it feels even more isolating.”
People get lonely when they don’t necessarily have family to spend time with. In fact, she says the cold weather plays apart and the fact that during the winter, darkness comes quicker.
On top of that people just feel like they are supposed to stay happy with Christmas and the New Year so close.
“Friends are so important. I would say check in on your friends,” Golden said. “Sometimes people have a hard time reaching out for help.”
Gooden says there are signs that can help to identify seasonal depression. You could see sadness chronic fatigue or lack of interest in social activities.
In the midst of going into a host of holiday celebrations—and getting caught in the whirlwind of this magical time—paying attention is key.
She says maybe in between decking the halls, putting up the lights, and decorating the Christmas—you notice those changes in yourself instead of a friend.
“Just a lack of enjoying things you would typically enjoy,” she said. “You just seem kinda down.”
Gooden says depression is serious, whether it is you or a friend.
The best gift you can give is identifying it and seeking help right wait away.
“It is a sign of strength to do what you need in order to help yourself,” she said.
Depression anxiety and stress levels tend to soar during the holiday season.
The counselor we talked to suggested getting out and volunteering as a way to lift those spirits. Again if you’ve tried everything and nothing seems to help it is best to seek help from a health care provider or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.