Christmas can be a sad and lonely time for people suffering from depression
The festive season is often one associated with joy and cheer but it can also be a stressful, lonely or sad time for many people. For those affected by depression, Christmas can actually be the worst time of year and something many of us need to be more aware of.
I wanted to raise awareness of how difficult this period can be for people who suffer from depression, a medical condition where the sufferer can experience intense emotions of anxiety, hopelessness, negativity and helplessness that simply won’t go away.
Society tells us that this part of the year, above all else, is the time where friends and family should get together but if you don’t have much (if any) family and few friends, it can make you feel as though you’re the biggest failure and loneliest person in the world.
It’s easy to get upset, tearful and wishing things were different. It’s extremely hard for anyone who’s alone at this time of the year because Christmas is a time for family and those you love. The festive period magnifies your depression and you become more aware of your failings.
The problem is, you are expected to be constantly happy and cheery. There is a pressure to be the life of the party and if you’re not, then you’re ruining it for everyone else. At any other time of year, putting this pressure on a sufferer of depression can make things worse but it is almost seen as compulsory at Christmas to be happy.
Get togethers are all over social media featuring highlight reels of people’s family lives and Facebook feeds filled with pictures of families celebrating together. The days are short and dark and it’s cold, all of which makes you feel even less sociable than normal. It’s an incredibly isolating time for many people but particularly those who struggle with depression and anxiety.
If you’re suffering this year, I advise you to stay away from social media. While it’s a big part of our lives, we have to remember that it’s not reality. We have to stop comparing ourselves believing that the other person is having a better time because their status may not be true.
If you’re experiencing depression over the Christmas period, I’d advise you not to be on your own. Reach out. Pick up the phone and speak to those in your life that care about you.
You’ll think there’s nobody but there’s somebody who will gladly have you round for the festive period. Do not isolate yourself. If you’re in the UK and feeling low and need someone to speak to I’d recommend giving the people at Calm a call. It’s a great service for anyone feeling down during this time of year.
Useful Numbers to call
Calm, open 365 days a year, 5pm – Midnight on 0800 58 58 58 or for London 0808 802 58 58
Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI – this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
The Mix is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994
National Suicidal Prevention Lifeline opens 365 days a year. Call 1-800-273-8255