Keeping Away the Holiday Depression

John McManamy Health Guide
  • I am not lighting Chanukah candles in New Jersey with my loved one. I won’t be celebrating Christmas in Connecticut with my family. Right around Thanksgiving my marriage broke up and I moved to the San Diego area. I have spent Christmas without family before. It is a bummer. I’ve also spent Christmas severely depressed.

    Right now, I am handling my marriage break-up reasonably well, considering the circumstances. I have been taking positive steps to mend and to adjust to my new circumstances and surroundings. One good sign is that at the support group I attended last evening I didn’t feel I needed to talk. This was a complete contrast to the week before, where I felt I had to get things off my chest and hear from others how they coped through relationship blow-outs.
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    But the holidays have a way of messing with my mind big-time, with the strong risk of transporting me back to the personal circle of hell I was living in couple of weeks ago. Naturally, I will be applying all my coping skills to keep me out of a holiday depression, but I also won’t be acting as if it’s the end of the world should I find my mood going south.

    Over the years, I have learned to live with the brief depressions that occasionally intrude into my life. The bad ones I treat like a case of the flu. I feel miserable, but the situation won’t last forever. I am self-employed, so my boss is very understanding. My marriage break-up dealt me a huge blow, but I knew the depression part of the drill. I could operate in survival mode. In time, I could find my way back.

    Less severe depressions I treat as a choice I have made, as part of my “normal.” My cycles from low to elevated may be more pronounced than most of the general population, but it is well within the range in which I thrive. A depression that might have incapacitated me years ago is now my valued opportunity for insightful reflection. It is as if I am communicating with the spirit of a very wise man. My life is a lot richer and more productive as a result of these depressions. Yes, given a choice I would opt to be upbeat all the time, but I am unwilling to pay the price, such as being as shallow as Paris Hilton..

    So right now, I’m doing the things I need to do to keep away that holiday depression. I’m taking walks. I’m meeting people. I’m whipping up tasty meals. I’m planning to have Christmas with people here. I’m keeping busy.

    But if depression arrives I will be ready for it. I may wind up riding out a really tough one like the flu or I may find myself becoming reacquainted with my inner wise man. To all of you, a happy and wise holidays.

Published On: December 19, 2006