December 28, 2010 by Darlene McC
Phew. Six weeks since my last post.
Two things are, at this moment, certain: December is one of my favorite months and depression runs in my family.
Lets start with December:
My birthday, my little sister’s birthday, right after Thanksgiving, a million holiday parties, pretty lights, it’ll probably snow at least once, Christmas, presents (i love to give as much as receive), the anticipation of family and good food, sweets, holiday stockings, Christmas trees, ornaments, all culminating in my best friend’s birthday on New Years Eve which is (typically) the social event of the season.
For serious – I love the first 26 days of December. But then, invariably, I come to:
I’ll limit the generals in regards to my genetics, because I’m sure my earlier statement is enough. I have never thought that depression was something to be embarrassed of publicly as it is par for the course in the social circles I was raised in… but as I feel it creeping on it’s no less like gasping for air. The feeling of being pulled under: “sinking” into depression.
What’s the math on these two?
Anticipation + Event + Depressive Predisposition = The Last Week of December
That’s a formula in my life. What’s a girl to do? Here’s a peek into my Winter Blues playbook, just in case you’re starting to feel that Post-December Funk/Christmas Hangover:
1. Do Not Be Ashamed/Embarrassed:
You shouldn’t feel bad about feeling bad. Depending on what statistic you agree with, anywhere from 60% to 90% of adults are depressed at some point in their lives. You aren’t alone! (promise). In fact, talking about it helps. Studies show that just airing your overwhelmed feelings make them feel less overwhelming (funny how that works. Go talk to a friend or join a group (of the fun or support variety).
2. Work Out!
Not just because it’s the new year or because I say so; because working out increases your endorphines (feel good chemicals) and levels of Seratonin (more feel good juices) and literally tricks your body chemistry into believing that you are happier. Besides, do it enough and you’ll feel more confident and better about your body; likely causing you to work out more…. it’s an AWESOME CYCLE!
This is BY FAR the hardest one for me to make myself do… but; cleaning up your space, getting organized, and being active in your home makes you feel better. How? Why? The sense of accomplishment from getting your ‘home space’ all cozy perks you up. I find this especially helpful when (like today) I’m stuck inside because of the weather. (Did I point out that there is some serious fall out from the huge-ass-blizzard and roads are still closed in my neighborhood? I didn’t… well… pictures:
Why do you think I’m writing this right now? And, honestly, I do feel a bit better.
If all else fails, and this is my least favorite option though I know others who swear by it, go tanning. Sure, it’s kinda gross and it causes cancer if you do it too much… but if you’re going nuts a few sessions in a tanning bed wont give you melanoma. I always try the others first before even considering going tanning… but if all else is failing (I’m getting close) than the Vitamin D boost from the UV-B rays will help. You can see your doc about formal light treatment options; but I just go when I feel the need.
Why? Well, because I’ve had docs try to medicate me before instead of helping me find a way to do it without pills… (not that you shouldn’t feel a’ok about your meds if that’s the route you are on; they just aren’t for me.)
6. Other stuff:
Diet changes can also help; though mine have been very subtle in the past since I’m not the best with food. Sex is always an option. Take better care of yourself in general – drinking more water and taking the time to pamper yourself when you can. Get a new hobby… maybe you’re just bored!
And, of course, you could always seek the help of a professional… and should if you’re having thoughts of hurting yourself or anyone around you (other than those morons on the subway who blare their music too effing loud).