Why People Get Depressed at Christmas

As we embark on the advent season on the run up to Christmas I think it is timely to remind ourselves that not all are feeling jolly at this time of year.

The Christmas season used to be a ‘wobbly’ period for me personally and so this from Psychology Today comes as no surprise:

We are told that Christmas, for Christians, should be the happiest time of year, an opportunity to be joyful and grateful with family, friends and colleagues. Yet, according to the National Institute of Health, Christmas is the time of year that people experience the highest incidence of depression. Hospitals and police forces report the highest incidences of suicide and attempted suicide. Psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health professionals report a significant increase in patients complaining about depression. One North American survey reported that 45% of respondents dreaded the festive season.

….continue reading

Let’s not forget those who struggle at this time of year and I rather liked the conclusion to this piece:

The Christmas season has become a difficult time for many people in our society. For those of us who don’t have difficulties at this time of year, it’s an opportunity to reach out to those who become depressed.

Just got to heed this myself now….

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7 Responses to “Why People Get Depressed at Christmas”

  1. Jared Gaites Says:

    I have found that I have to be pro active about Christmas. A little planning and a sound reality check helps to make the transition back to normality a little smoother. But yeah, it can get overwhelming.

  2. Sophie Says:

    We’re sold a false image of a perfect family Christmas. If there’s something wrong in our family – death, illness, divorce, estrangement – this is thrown into stark relief against the puffed-up expectation of joy, harmony and consumer madness. You have to spend too much – regardless of the misery it can cause.

    I’m sure the trick is to be realistic. We are not perfect, and neither are our families. Christmas is for us, not us for Christmas – particularly the Christmas sold to us by advertising. Take what you want, and leave the rest.

    My older son once described Christmas as “a very long run up for quite a small jump,” a remark which, like him, is both true and funny.

  3. Goy Says:

    Christmas has become a day of hypocracy, it should be renamed charlatan day.

  4. Simian Says:

    I agree. I feel the same about New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day. So much hype and so much pressure to ‘have fun’ or find the perfect presents. Those of us who tend to be neurotic find these very difficult times every year. But there’s no hope of putting Pandora back in the box – or is there?

  5. Sophie Says:

    @ Simian: Valentine’s Day was fun when I was a kid. One year I made a pact with a boy and when the day arrived we were the envy of all, with several very different but lavish cards – in different handwriting – from anonymous admirers.

    As for New Year’s Eve…. In AA we call it Amateur Night. :-)

  6. Jared Gaites Says:

    Ah Sophie, you are getting more interesting by the day. What are you doing this amateur night?

  7. Sophie Says:

    @ Jared Gaites: I expect to be tucked up with a good book, poised ready to leap to my son’s aid if gate-crashers arrive.

    It’s tragic. When the kids are small you can’t get a babysitter for New Year. You promise yourself that as soon as they’re older you’ll party again. But no. The kids grow up and you end up being an on-call emergency bouncer for their party!

    Oh well, at least I know where they are. Making a lot of noise downstairs is where.

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