Most Recent Post about Black Friday from last week

It is Black Friday in more ways than one. If you tend to get depressed during this season and it hasn’t hit you yet, this is usually a day when it hits after you wake up from the Thanksgiving food coma to all the holiday decorations and frenzied gift shopping going on. There’s no avoiding the holiday marketing blitz. Anyway this post is for all the people out there who suffer from seasonal depression or holiday depression. If you’re wondering why you’re feeling so blue, here it is, the holidays and family issues; past traumas for many traumatized people often involve something about their family of origin and the holidays. The weather in NYC has definitely been weird and unseasonal which helps some people and all the weather changes can make others more depressed. One minute it’s light out, then it’s barely 5 pm and dark night.

Anyway, for those of you who are therapists, you’re probably noticing that your patients at your job or in your practice are often more depressed than usual. Some people really forget what’s going on and are bewildered at the sudden onset of a deep heavy blackness, a sense of sadness or inability to be interested in much, or just feeling sleepy all the time. It definitely helps to remind people that this time of year is a real challenge for many people. For many, just knowing why they are feeling this way helps a lot, at least in terms of giving themselves a break and not heeding any blaming voices they are hearing in their head, such as “Get over this now. You have no reason to be so down in the dumps…” It’s a time to be nicer and more forgiving to yourself if you are feeling depressed in any way. It’s OK to spend more time on the couch watching whatever DVDs, movies, TV shows etc. to get out of your mindset. Wasting time is OK. Sleeping more is OK too.

Some people who really know they suffer from seasonal mood swings actually choose to take medications during this time and find it helps a lot. Many anti-depressants can really work well if you take them for a few months just to give yourself a boost at the onset of holidays and winter. For others, medication is not an option for whatever reason. If so, try other kinds of anti-depressants like light to moderate exercise, which is shown to help the depressed brain. Or restorative yoga and meditation. Some people just can’t get themselves motivated to do these things either. All the heavy foods at holiday parties does not help either for those sensitive to foods effect on mood.

I mentioned in another post that this is a time of year for family, good and bad. For those who have a lot of trauma from family issues in the past or present, and who notice they feel worse after being with or talking to family members, taking a break from them is a good idea. You can limit or cut off contact without having an exact plan of how long to do it. In extreme cases, some people need to give themselves permission or get permission from their therapist or friends, to do this. Some people can be triggered by even a short text or email or something on Facebook. If you know this is a trigger for you, you can find out how to block email addresses and phone numbers. If you can’t block a phone number and don’t want to change your phone number, it can be helpful to put down as the contact, “Do not answer” or other such labels that show you right away who is calling but serve as a gentle reminder that you can choose to ignore the call. Somehow seeing a word or sentence instead of a name can really help you to stop yourself from getting into a conversation you know will most likely end in tears or shouting or feeling completely cut off, depressed, angry or any other types of feelings that you don’t need to put yourself through right now when you have enough stress just getting through the day…

There’s a lot more to be said about this topic; anyway I hope this post helps people with holiday depression or seasonal depression to take better care of themselves, be less hard on themselves and work on more soothing self talk, which is a whole topic in itself. Try to notice when the negative voices rush into your head and put a big red stop sign to them…

What about you? How are you? How are your patients doing???

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