Navigating Seasonal Depression

[TW]

Tis The Season To Be Jolly” right?

Cold weather, dark nights, celebrations and fairy lights. Winter is a beautiful time and let’s be honest, snow is the prettiest type of weather. What’s not to love?

There are so many reasons to love Winter, maybe I am biased as I was born in December, but to list them all would take all day. I guess I just am a really festive person. From snuggly blankets and hot chocolates in front of an open fire and guzzling down those treats I wait all year for, I can’t control my excitement.

Almost everyone I know turns into the worlds most excited child when they realize that Christmas Day is approaching, you can’t escape the festivities. Or maybe I just know a lot of people who love Christmas – unless I just force myself to see it that way. I really do just love this time of year.

But despite the hot chocolate, the dancing fires and cozy socks, sometimes this season couldn’t be further away from ‘Jolly’.

There is a disorder with the name SADs or ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder‘, which I am not diagnosed with but I do think it carries some merit in all of us.

Now, I don’t like the term ‘holiday blues’ as that makes it sound less valid, because mental illness is more than feeling ‘blue’ and it doesn’t just turn up for the holiday, sadly for many of us, it takes years or a lifetime to manage that black dog. But I do believe that the festive season can make you feel worse, mentally speaking.

I don’t know what it is, but in my own experience, when the sun touches my skin, I feel like I am healing. So, when the sun leaves and the clouds take over, I find myself feeling a little down.

Everything becomes so much heavier than it usually is through the spring and summer.

I can’t seem to make it out of bed and my motivation is at an all-time low. I just want to embrace the dark, I guess I want to live in it because it feels familiar but not in a good way.

The darkness of the days and the cold of the night just makes me feel, I guess, more depressed than I am. It’s almost like the day reflects my actual mood, as with SADs, except, these kinds of days last months.

Maybe it has to do with the birthday of my father who has passed, or even the anniversary of my Grandma’s death. It could even be watching all these big families celebrate together when I am missing the best part of mine.

The stresses of the New Year and Christmas, which fill me with so much joy but also remind me of the loss of my father, and the many lack of cards that I have to write or the list of presents that gets smaller each year. I’m desperate to celebrate and go big each year, but each year, it seems that New Year and Christmas become smaller.

Not to mention, this season is the most financially trying season of them all, I can’t seem to make it out of the end of the year without debt, stupid social constructions, and debt, can kill.

If you look at suicide rates, they seem to raise around the Christmas period. Which tells me I am not alone. It seems to be a very real thing for us humans to feel more prone to bad mental health at the end of the year. So many of us are not feeling jolly, even when we are told that we “can’t be sad because it’s Christmas”.

Although, is it really the season or are we just so exhausted and tired from surviving for the whole year. It’s a lot to take on and deal with inside your noggin.

The end of the year can feel like an end of an era.

But how do we fight this? how do we carry on when we really can’t?

How do we enjoy the Christmas spirit when there is literally zero spirit inside of us?

How can we find that joy that we once had as children?

I think it is as simple as understanding that we are allowed to have bad days. We can stay in bed, we can cancel plans and we can put ourselves first. We should up our self-care game, make time for the little things and ease on the pressure that we layer ourselves with. I’ll be using this December to find my way back to my human nature, which seems to have been lost in this modern world.

Remember, it’s the season of giving, which includes giving back to yourself.

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