Tis the Season, and much more for others...
Updated: Dec 22, 2018
It's that time of year again...
Yes the mad rush to buy gifts for friends and family, decorating inside and outside your home/apartment, preparing for visitors, and meal preparations plus much, much, more is exhausting at times. Yes, Tis the season! A resent article in the Wall Street Journal caught my eye regarding Depression https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-can-you-help-someone-who-is-depressed-1543242613?mod=e2fb. As I read it, I began to reflect on how difficult a time of year this is on people suffering from Depression or other Mental Health Issues. Many people today suffer in silence and loneliness, and have no one to turn to during this holiday season.
As a person who suffers from PTSD, I battle thoughts of Depression, Anxiety, and Panic Attacks and during this time of year this can be very challenging for people who do not display mental health issues, let alone people who do. The pressures of family and work along with the season to be jolly and merry create some stress of their own for all of us. However, a close friend recently pointed out to me; there is still a gap in helping those who may be suffering mentally; whether it be, a new mother, father to be, a death in the family, job loss/change, sudden illness and/or tragedy. Lets not forget, we are not machines or BOTS, we are living human beings who are made up of emotions and feelings.
That same friend of mine points out the difference here, you may have a friend and/or coworker, your advice to someone sick may be “stay home get rest, eat, and keep hydrated.” If you have knee replacement, you may recommend. “Have surgery followed by Physical therapy.” But if you have someone around you experiencing depression and/or anxiety (if you even are aware of it) they may receive a response like “things will get better”, “yea, it’s that time of year”, or worst case scenario “just suck it up”. I’m here to tell - that will NOT work, actually they may feel worse!
Many people are fearful to share this insight into their life due to fear of relationship and/or career implications. There is still a stigma about mental health out there; which because many don’t understand it or can relate, may seem like a sign of weakness or even a physical disability. There are many individuals who are very functional from the outside and show up every day to work; but in actuality are in a dark and what seems like an inescapable place.
We need more open conversations and discussions around how people can come forward without the fear of being labeled. This starts with educating our friends and family, by that I mean on what to look for in terms of signs (verbal or non-verbal). Here are some behaviors I experience at times; I shy away from parties and gatherings of people, feelings of despair and loneliness, feelings of nothing to look forward to and/or feelings of isolation. What sometimes happens is friends and family try to come up with answers and solutions to how you may feel or think. But in reality a little empathy and compassion to allow people the space to come forward without fear is far more comforting. Believe me, they have enough fear probably already without fearing the loss of friend, spouse, and/or career opportunities.
So, I ask everyone during this holiday season to pay special attention to your family, friends and coworkers to be a little more attentive to those things that may be going on in their lives. It could make BIG DIFFERENCE in their lives if they just have someone they could trust to listen without judgement…
Happy Holidays to ALL!