Welcome to the holidays, a sure-fire recipe for angst, familial discord and credit card debt. Add those ingredients together, fold in days of dark skies with no hope of sunlight, sprinkle with a smattering of work stress, simmer until ready to boil and you have a tried and true recipe for depression.

Depression runs rampant during this time of year and the reasons, though different for each person, bring a person to the same dark and lonely place. A person suffering from depression say it’s like they’re in a deep and dark pit with no hope and their despair is complete. Symptoms of depression include:

  • Feeling tired or listless
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Irritability
  • Self-hatred
  • Physical aches and pain
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Loss of interest in daily activities

Clinical depression is a condition that lasts longer than two weeks and can be treated.

Situational Depression is different from Clinical Depression, in that its duration is short lived. We all have things that bring us down and cause us to feel bad about things. Whether it’s because we’re having trouble at work or dealing with interpersonal issues with our significant others—these ‘down’ times come and then they gradually improve. We can’t all be happy all of the time and it’s in our nature to have ups and downs. These low moods generally improve with time as we learn from our experiences and move on. Much like the holidays come and go.

Clinical depression does not come and go. It comes and it stays. Loss of appetite, lethargy, irritability and hopelessness and even thoughts of suicide in the more severe episodes are cause for serious alarm.

However, suicide rates are generally down during the holidays for several reasons: there is a safety net of extended family and friends around, there is more support, and Christmas celebrations bring positive memories to the surface for most people and are cause for celebration.

Stress is a fact of life, and perhaps more so during the holiday season. But despite the holiday’s reputation for being a depressive’s worst nightmare, it also has the potential to bring you out your depression.

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