Mental Illness During the Holidays

It’s a magical time of year, isn’t it? It’s cold outside, the snow is falling (in some places) and you feel content because the holiday season is upon us. It’s a near-perfect picture. Unfortunately for some people, that feeling doesn’t come around this time of year – in fact, they could end up feeling worse.

While the holidays are a wonderful time to be among friends and family, it’s not a wonderful time for mental health. Yes, it can be healing to be among loved ones, and for a lot of us it’s a boost to be around the people we care about. But please take note – you might be on holiday, but your mental health is not.

The holidays can have a chilling effect on some, taking people who are already prone to loneliness and depression and isolating them even further. It can be difficult when you’re surround so much messaging and branding that centers around being with loved ones, and in turn, loving yourself, when the opposite thoughts and feelings are bouncing around in your head.

1. Read more books2. Pray more3. Work toward my long-term goals4. Love myself
My goals for 2018. They’re generic, I know. That’s kind of the point.

This time of year is also common for reflection. We look back on the year we had, thinking about what we did right and what we did wrong, where we succeeded and where we failed. We look to the year ahead, and wonder if our lives will be any different when this time rolls around next year. If you have mental health issues, this reflection can be quite damaging, and leave you wondering if you have what it takes to get through the next year.

So please do me a favor. If there’s someone in your life that’s going through a tough time, or is prone to feeling sad around the holidays, reach out to them. Let them know how much you care for and appreciate them. It will mean more to them than you might ever know. And if you’re able, remind yourself of this as well. Because you’re absolutely, positively, 100 percent worthwhile – even if you don’t think so. Especially if you don’t think so.

It’d be easy to say that the holidays won’t get the best of me, that I’ll fly right through and never get depressed. I say it every year, and every year I let myself down. But that’s okay. Because I’m still here. Day after day, no matter what the thoughts in my head say, I am still here. I’m worth sticking around for. And I hope, this holiday season, that you remember – and never forget – that you are, too.

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