Friday, December 23, 2005

Depression and Christmas - By Samantha Weaver

Christmas is supposed to be a fun, exciting, family orientated time of the year, right? Yes, sure for those with family and friends to share it with, but not for everyone and especially not for those unfortunate enough to be debilitated with the illness which is depression.

For most people, Christmas is filled with the excitement of sharing quality time with our loved ones. Looking forward to warm welcomes, cheerful smiles, gorging on endless supplies of turkey and chocolate treats. Yet there are those who seem to be forgotten at this time of year, those that dread Christmas with every inch of their being. Filled with anxiety and self-doubt the emotions felt by a depressive can and do become distorted, out of control and instead of being joyful and excited, the exact opposite happens. A depressed individual fears Christmas, wished it was just ‘all over and done with’ and was a day in their diary that they could simply delete from their lives as simply as ripping out the page in the diary that the 25th Dec sits in.

Thoughts consume their brain, fear takes over and the depressives mind is clouded and distorted into paranoid and anxious thinking. What,, where and how am I going to spend Christmas? Will I be able to make it through the day? How can I avoid feeling worse than I already do? How can I stop feeling so lonely, so unimportant, so worthless and so sad?

No depressed person wants to feel depressed. No depressed person wants anyone else to feel depressed because of their situation. No depressed person wants to ‘put on their fa├žade for the day and pretend to be OK’ and no depressed person wants to mope around alone feeling sorry for themselves, especially on Christmas day.

Unfortunately, depressed people are also un-motivated to want to make a contribution towards Christmas. It isn’t their fault, it’s the depression consuming them taking control of their feelings and making them worse. Instead, Christmas sends a depressives emotions into deeper turmoil. The frustration of their situation takes control and drags them deeper into their thoughts, deeper into their depression. Repeating a never ending circle of repetitive motion which they can do nothing to help themselves from.

So instead, they are left alone, their mind pondering a thousand and one thoughts. Not normal thoughts, but dangerous ones. Wouldn’t this world be a better place without me? Wouldn’t my friends and family be better off if I wasn’t here? I wouldn’t have to feel this way next Christmas. No-one wants me around really; no-one really cares about me or wants to help me. No-one understands me and no-one knows what I am going through.

The death fantasy envelopes the mind of the depressive and within a few hours of irrational thought, of upset and distortion in the mind, the depressed person is close to contemplating suicide. So how can you help? What can you do for a depressed loved one this Christmas?

1) Don’t let them spend the day alone.

2) Encourage them to participate with Christmas

3) Tell them that they are not a burden

4) Remind them that they matter

5) Lend an ear if they want to talk

6) Lend a shoulder if they want to cry

7) Don’t expect anything from them

8) Feed them a healthy, hearty meal

9) Remind them that you care.

Ultimately, you can not force another person to be with you if they do not want to be, but the truth of the matter is that regardless of what a depressed person says or does, they do need to know someone is there, they do need to know someone cares and they do need to know that someone wants them around.

The Author maintains all rights and restrictions to this work.
Samantha C Weaver Author of 'Saving Samantha: A Young Woman's Escape from Childhood Hell' ISBN: 1401910300

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Samantha C Weaver said...

Thank you for posting my article on your wonderful website.
Kind regards

Anna A. said...

Thank you for your comment. And there's no need for you to thank me for posting your article on my blog. I should be thanking you for writing such a wonderful article. So, thank you and keep them coming. My readers really enjoy the helpful articles I post. Keep up the good work.

Anna A.