Coping With Depression During the Holidays
I love the holiday season. I'm one of those moms who loves to move her kids' Elf of the Shelf buddies and think of all kinds of antics. I love the cooler weather and how everyone is a bit nicer to each other. Wrapping presents brings me joy, unless it's not a rectangle or square shape. Then we’ve got trouble.
So why is my depression hitting me so hard right now?
Depression during the holidays
I feel like I'm slogging through my days and not catching the meaningful moments I've been waiting for all year. I called the local ketamine clinic to schedule a treatment, but they weren't offering them.
That horrible, painful feeling bubbled up through my stomach, my throat and a guttural howl came out of my mouth prompting tears.
What am I going to do?
Is your depression impacted by holidays and/or seasonal change?
Sadness and fatigue
Every day has been such a struggle. I wake up and get the kids to school, but when I come home, all I feel is sadness and fatigue. I take naps and overeat junk food — the only things that give me a fraction of pleasure.
I tell my kids I don't feel well when they get home so I can lie down, which makes me feel incredibly guilty. I'm missing out on so much, I know that, but it's so hard to care. Which makes me even sadder.
But my resilience does come through
But one morning something was different. I woke up with energy, and after I dropped my kids off at school, I sang all the way home and repeated one phrase over and over.
I am a warrior. There were expletives, too, but you get it.
But I am. I've been hospitalized twice. I've had at least 2 to 3 depressive episodes, and I've beaten them all. Depression isn't going to get me now. I've worked too hard.
Finding new ways to cope through the holidays
So when I got home, I did the unthinkable (for me). I put my exercise clothes and shoes on, and I got on the treadmill. My air pods were ready (but my playlist needs a little updating). I've thought about doing this so many times, but I've always brushed the thoughts away.
With every beat I stomped and got furious at my depression and anxiety. I thought of all the dopamine and feel-good hormones I was producing on my own. The madder I got, the faster I walked. I'm going to beat this, I thought.
Surviving depression however we can
I've seen this quote on the internet a lot — "I have a perfect track record of surviving the worst days (and every one in between) of my life."
We can't let depression (or any other mental health condition) win. Maybe exercise isn't the answer for everyone, and I don’t know if it will work for me, even. But we can't give up.
I want to treasure the holidays
I don't want to miss anything this month. There are only so many days left.
I want to savor the taste of hot chocolate on my lips and tongue. I want to drive down streets adorned with Christmas lights and decorations. My kids will be so excited to unwrap their gifts, and I love to watch their faces. I want to witness all the magic and every moment.
Treasure them with me.
This or That
Do you use exercise to manage your symptoms?
Have you taken our Depression In America Survey yet?