Sometimes, it’s not the “most wonderful time of the year.”
If you’re reading this, chances are that you: A) have seasonal depression B) are curious as to what exactly it is. The truth is, it may be a different experience for one person than it may be for another. I figured that if I’ve experienced it, somebody else can probably relate and find comfort in knowing they aren’t alone.
Disclaimer: I did not write this to seek attention or to play it off like I ‘know it all’ – but to share what I’ve personally experienced in hopes it can impact at least one person.
I’ve always been somebody who looked forward to the holidays, counting down the days till I got to see my family, decorate, drive around town looking at the lights, baking cookies, taking cute pictures with friends and family, the first snow fall, and the first day of summer when the grass is finally green & the sun is shining… until my dad passed away almost 3 years ago.
Suddenly all of these “holiday traditions” & parts of the year that I’ve enjoyed for as long as I can remember, didn’t seem so enjoyable anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy those things – just not as much as I used to.
To give you a clearer picture:
- I no longer count down the days till the holidays, but rather to the day that it’s all over
- When winter is over and the grass turns green, the sun shines bright, and all the people express their happiness because it’s finally “summer” .. I find myself annoyed because I can’t share my love for summer with my loved one and everything that comes with the season (camping, grilling, baseball games, etc)
- Putting on a fake smile
- Putting up a ‘front’ so that nobody can sense my vulnerability (catering to everyone else, making sure their needs are met before mine, so nobody knows I’m hurting inside)
- Getting in ‘moods’ where I withdrawal from friends & family, don’t respond to calls or messages, procrastinate on important matters, etc.
- Feeling more fatigued than I usually do
- Lashing out in anger over the littlest of things to my loved ones
- Feeling like I’m supposed to enjoy certain things that I used to, so I do them & will usually post it on social media just to say I did it
If you know someone who may be experiencing this, you may be wondering “how can I help?”
- Be understanding: They aren’t acting the way they are on purpose, and it’s not intentional.
- Give them space: Sometimes they may feel like a burden.
- Send them a special message or gift: letting them know you’re thinking of them during this time of year, or just in general is comforting.
- Listen more than you speak: Being vulnerable & opening up is far from easy, so when they do, know that they trust you & are just looking for someone to vent to – not to be given advice to.
FYI: Since talking about your Mental Health is still a topic people hesitate to talk about due to the fear of being judged, the person in your life experiencing this may be very good at hiding it – so be nice, be encouraging, be understanding, and know that everybody has their own story & struggles on the inside.