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December 18, 2010

Making it Through the Holidays

Olga and Emma, Clancy & Griffin

The holidays can be hard for anyone. It can be a time of stress, sadness, mourning and profound disappointment. For me it has been and continues to be a time that I am triggered and depressed. Any of these situations can lower our resilience and some of the easiest things can become very difficult to accomplish. The problem with depression is that it can build on itself. Its hard to go through your daily routine much less add shopping for gifts and traveling for the holidays. For me it can be a time when I feel worse and worse about myself. My thoughts turn to all that I cannot do; things I don't like about myself. Ways in which the passage of time, and aging, has made things harder for me.

I get through these times by anticipating them. I let friends and family know I get depressed around the holidays, why and what it feels like to me. They often want to know how to help. I ask for patience. I try to remember the good things in my life when it feels like everything is bad. I set small goals for myself each day and the accomplishment of these goals help me feel better. I try to remember that depression is an illness, like other illnesses. So if I need to rest up and build up my resilience, I do. I try to notice ways my  thinking changes when I am depressed. I become negative and critical about myself. I try to counter those thoughts.

Mostly, I ride out the depression knowing that I have been through this before and that it will pass. There is always something in the back of my mind, however, that is afraid it won't end. I hold that fear with the knowledge that it has always ended before.

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