Have you noticed that there seems to be more reasons for depression at the holiday season? Look around at all the ads and outreach programs from therapists offering to help teach us how to handle depression and stress.
How did we get to this ridiculous juncture in our national zeitgeist? As kids, the anticipation of Christmas was almost unbearably joyful, but as adults, we need counseling to cope?
What has happened to us?
There are people who are depressed because they've lost family members or they're not in good health. The pain of lose is more poignant, more powerfully felt during the holiday season. Maybe a person is having financial problems—there's nothing like the gift-giving season to remind you of how little money you have.
Of course, some just get depressed because their holiday just doesn't measure up to the anticipation or the perfection foisted on us by Hollywood and Madison Avenue. But really, it seems the perfect Christmases of our childhoods died with Andy Williams and Bing Crosby. Hollywood now offers a much more dysfunctional, albeit realistic version of Holiday joy.
Still, the 400 lb gorilla of Holiday depression is fully understandable: loneliness. At no other time of year is the want of family so keenly felt. As annoying as family can get, imagine a Christmas morning silence broken only by the sound of the coffee splashing into the carafe and the tick of a clock. Millions - male, female, young, old and in-between spend their holidays solo. Often, they go to great lengths to conceal their loneliness - there is a stigma to it, unfair as it is.
So for those of us fortunate enough to spread some holiday cheer, run through your mental Rolodex one more time. Is there someone out there you could invite to your holiday gathering? If not, consider volunteering at a local food bank or Salvation Army center.
That's the ultimate feel good antidote for any holiday blues, guaranteed.