For some, the sight of string lights, trimmed trees and the rollout of the Starbucks holiday menu bring back fond memories of the winter holidays.
But for Daniel H. Gillison Jr., CEO of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Christmas time isn’t all sleigh rides and jingle bells.
After witnessing his mother’s breath shorten and her heart stop beating in front of him, while he played her a song over 7 years ago, his favorite holiday just isn’t the same without her.
Loss of loved ones, financial strain or even just being away from family temporarily during the holiday season can bring on intense feelings of grief, loneliness, despair and sadness.
Now, the media may call this “the holiday blues,” but for 38% of people surveyed by the American Psychological Association, it’s more than blues: it’s downright stressful.
Between grieving the loss of family during a time when families are supposed to come together to caving into the pressures of gift-giving to last-minute work obligations and lack of money, the holidays can be a stressor for anyone. Especially those of us suffering from mental health challenges.
NAMI said that 64% of those with mental illnesses reported this time of year worsens their symptoms. In today’s climate – with those reeling from COVID-19 losses, staggering inflation, fears of a recession and not being able to be with their loved ones – those numbers are likely to get higher.
You see, I know just how heart wrenching it can be to turn on the TV and watch commercials with families singing “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” when deep down inside anxiety, depression and trauma are threatening to disturb your well-being.
If the holidays have added some pounds to your mental load, you don’t need to do it in silence. Let those you feel safe with know you need a little more grace and patience. And if that isn’t an emotionally safe action, you can reach out and schedule a session for help.
Whether you’re a therapy veteran, this is the first time you’ve ever considered it or you’re somewhere in the middle, you don’t have to navigate the dark, stormy waters of the holidays alone with psychological distress.
A professional therapist can give you safe coping tools to navigate these troubling times. Let us anchor you, so you don’t ever have to sink to rock bottom during the holidays, again.
While we can’t change what holidays have been like in the past, you can learn how to see beyond and create happy new traditions and memories.
Schedule a session here.
I’m here whenever you need me.
If the holidays have you feeling more anxious, depressed or down, you don’t have to swim in a sea of sadness. Therapy is a safe place for you to express your challenges without judgment and learn how to better navigate them. Schedule a session now.