Tis the Season To be Depressed: How to Shake the Holiday Blues
Rev. Mary Alice Do
Disciples Minister, Author
NBA Mental Health Initiative: Hope for the Holidays and Winter Seasons of Our Lives
It is that time of year again when we are supposed to be joyful, surrounded by friends and family, and have a generous heart. Many of us, though, find this time of year depressing, especially because we are supposed to be in the Holiday Spirit. We may be keenly aware we cannot be with loved ones either because they may live far away, have died, or no longer associate with us. We may also be reminded that we are limited in what we can give to others. For many of us, this season is a depressing time.
So, what can we do? I will share with you what I try to do. Too often, we hide our depression because we don’t want to bring others down, especially during this season. We end up struggling alone when there are actually many people hiding their depression.
Barbara Key Lundblad suggests a Triple-A approach, and I try to follow it:
- Admit my feelings;
- Ask for help;
- Accompany one another.
I admit my feelings. There is nothing to be ashamed of. The feelings aren’t because of lack of faith or a weakness. They may be the result of a loss, stress, and/or a chemical imbalance. Sometimes I can reframe my thoughts and change my feelings, but it is only when I admit my feelings that something can be done with them, even if it is just to accept them.
I ask for help. Sometimes, it is difficult for me to ask for help, so I don’t give others the opportunity to help when they would have wanted to help. I am usually blessed, though, when I do ask for help. A therapist helps me, and the elders at my church pray for me.
And finally, I accompany others. When I am open about my feelings, I find many others with similar feelings. There is both strength and comfort in knowing you are not alone. And we are not alone. We are surrounded by others who share a common struggle. Even God struggles alongside us.
You are not alone, so don’t try to get through this holiday season by hiding your struggles from others and pretending that you are well. Admit your feelings, ask for help, and accompany one another.
Blessings on you this holiday season!
Rev. Mary Alice Do is a retired Disciple minister with bipolar disorder. She is the volunteer mental health minister at First Christian Church in Tucson, AZ, and the author of her autobiography, Journey Toward Wholeness.
With hopes to support the prioritization of mental health and wellness in the life of the church, the NBA Mental Health Initiative aims to establish the necessary awareness and understanding required to counter stigma and change the landscape of conversation regarding mental illness and disorders within the church. Learn more at www.nbacares.org/mental-health.