Tag Archives: holiday blues

Girl Talk: Accepting The Holiday Mehs

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I hate the term holiday blues. I think that’s because when I was 19, December rolled around and I fell into a full-blown depression, complete with sleepless nights, loss of appetite and thoughts of suicide. The holiday blues sound like an uptempo jazz standard compared to the nightmarish thoughts blaring in my head. I’m hardly the only college student who has teetered on the brink of a breakdown. It’s practically a cliche to experience some sort of mental and emotional suffering when you’re that age. But at the time, it didn’t feel like a cliche. It felt like the fight of my life, the recovery from which, with the help of therapy, was an epic journey up from an underworld I feared I might inhabit for the rest of my life. Months later, sitting in my therapist’s office, trying to solve a Rubick’s Cube that she kept on her desk, I clicked one row of orange squares together and felt a spark of hope. I woke up the next morning and thought, What’s for breakfast? I knew I was doing a lot better — at least enough to begin to function again.

I’ve never suffered another episode of depression, but ever since then, I’ve never experienced a happy holiday season either. I know that this is a particularly difficult time of year for many people. Especially those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder or those who are grappling with more tangible hardships like financial struggles or a death in the family. I wish I could say I had a definitive reason to feel so meh in December. It’s much harder to pin down my discomfort around this time of year because it’s not related to my external circumstances — I have a wonderful family, great friends, a happy relationship and a job I love. I have much to be grateful and joyous about and I know it. The thing is, I consider myself a more-or-less happy person — at least for big pockets of time year-round. I understand how to access joy more often as I get older — positive thoughts, low expectations, balance. Even still, at this time of year, despite my best efforts, despite all my blessings, I  find myself  hanging on tight and crossing my fingers that I don’t spiral into darkness again.  Keep reading »

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The bloating of Thanksgiving and the bloodshed of Black Friday are behind us, and now Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s celebrations are ahead of us. It’s the most joyous time of the year, right? You’re ridiculously happy and emotionally stable right now, aren’t you? Not so much? Yeah, me neither. For one thing, we’re down to about three hours of cold, gray daylight every day. Seriously, yesterday I thought I’d pop out for a walk at the reasonable time of 3:45, but it was already so dark I would have needed one of those spelunking headlamps to safely navigate my neighborhood streets. At the risk of sounding like an emo poem I wrote in 7th grade, constant darkness outside is enough to make me feel constantly dark inside.

Whether it’s family drama, bad weather, relationship problems, financial issues, cabin fever, or some crappy combination of all of the above, a lot of people I know are having a rough time right now. How can you navigate the hyper-joyful holiday seasons when you’re not feeling so merry yourself? Well, here are 8 things to try… Keep reading »

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