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How Do You Deal with Depression Around Christmas?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the improving-emotional-fortitude dept.

Christmas Cheer 163

SleepyHappyDoc asks: "Lots of people around the world seem to experience more sadness and depression around the holiday season, than in other times of the year. There could be any number of reasons why this is, but my question is: how do you deal with it? Have you managed to find any coping strategies or activities that make things feel less bleak?"

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I mutter two phrases... (1)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 8 years ago | (#14343871)

"James Oliver Huberty" and "SERENITY NOW!"

Various methods to try out (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14343879)

1) Run a couple miles (or more if you can) every morning
2) Eat chocolate (add in magnesium food supplements too, if you like)
3) Use a full-white-spectrum lamp

.... 4. (1, Funny)

douggmc (571729) | more than 8 years ago | (#14343889)

4. Beat your dick like you own it.

Re:.... 4. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14344592)

5. Profit!!!

Re:.... 4. (0)

douggmc (571729) | more than 8 years ago | (#14345372)

OK .. who is the giant ASS that modded my post -1 ?! I don't care if I go -10,000 on Karma, I have to say it: Some slashdotters are serious dickheads and totally lack any sense of humor whatsoever. Peace.

Re:Various methods to try out (2, Insightful)

pooh666 (624584) | more than 8 years ago | (#14345007)

Or just get a girlfriend for god's sake!

Re:Various methods to try out (3, Insightful)

karnal (22275) | more than 8 years ago | (#14345844)

You really don't realize how much that can backfire, do you? :)

Of course, I'm married and wouldn't trade it for the world, but I've had years of relationships that went down the tubes because the people I was seeing at the time weren't right for me permanently. And that little subtlety can make you more depressed than anything around this time of year.

SAD bad or mad (5, Informative)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 8 years ago | (#14343906)

First off , if you are suffering from any kind of depression that is seriously affecting your day to day life then see a doctor . There is no point suffering in silence especially around this time of year when it can be amplified by many many things.

A depression around winter time in the northern hemisphere can be caused by a few things :

1: Seasonal affective disorder .this is caused by a chemical imbalance due to the lack of daylight . A high powered solar lamp can help you here will alleviate many many symptoms . Again see a doctor , if you can not see a doctor due to area or if you are in the USA for example (due to your medical insurance not covering this) then have a look for some local or online support groups .There will be people out there who can advise you on things that really help remove the strain .

If you suffer from a condition such as Bipolar affective disorder then chances are you will also suffer from Seasonal affective disorder , just keep taking the Medication and supplement it with some time by a solar lamp (Again see your doctor)

2: past trauma/upseting events/Loss of a loved one etc. : Any upsetting event around this time of year can be amplified due to the fact that most people appear to be having a good time . Feeling alone and miserable at a time when everyone around you is so happy really does tend to make things feel a whole lot worse .
Talk to people about , find a support group , anonymous if you need to if you can then surround yourself with family and friends, but do not suffer in silence . Just accepting the Depression can be catastrophic for your health.There are many people out there who will be more than happy to help.
Your doctor will be able to point you in the right direction , that is what they are there for

3:Mental illness : If you suffer from a mental illness and feel that symptoms are worsening around this time of year then immediately talk to your doctor . Chances are they will supplement your medication or find some other way to help you . ...
It is important that you speak to someone and do not feel silly about it if you have to go to a doctor . You are not wasting there time and depression can be a serious illness , but there are many many remedies which can really help. Do not suffer in silence.(sorry to repeat myself)

This is by no means professional advice and may not even apply to you , but if you do feel any of it applies to you then see your doctor as soon as you can .

Re:SAD bad or mad (5, Insightful)

Foggerty (680794) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344019)

Had I the points, I'd mod you up.

It took me a long time to accept that depression is in fact an illness, and not just me being the social reject I saw myself as. (The fact that I had (many) friends who were confused as fuck as to why I kept putting myself down never seemed to register ;-)

I'm still having to remind myself that its an illness, that its something that's going to pass and that what I feel now about myself is NOT how the rest of world sees me. But with friends/family it is possible to get past this crap (and it is crap - its just that the subjective nature of depression makes it hard if not imppossible to realise this.)

Re:SAD bad or mad (4, Insightful)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344053)

It can be a real vicious circle , if you feel worthless then you may feel you are wasting someone's time by asking for help as you may feel you are acting like a fool . Which is far from the case .
The other problem is a perceived stigma attached to these things , and true enough there may be some but the stigma is a problem with the people who look down upon it , not the sufferer .
Most people these days will recognise it is an actual illness and will help you or understand , depression is more common than one would think.
  SAD(seasonal affective disorder) affect around 2 in 100 people and regular depression affects around 1 in 10 of us regularly , Even conditions such as Bipolar disorder and sever unipolar depression is not uncommon (though far rarer ) , chances are you know someone with one or almost all of these conditions .
If you know someone you think may be depressed then talk to them about it and offer a friendly ear , just be careful how you word it (you don't want to put them on a defensive ).

Re:SAD bad or mad (1)

Foggerty (680794) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344079)

"If you know someone you think may be depressed then talk to them about it and offer a friendly ear..."

Addendum: but NEVER just say "ahh, just snap out of it!" because it soen't work that way :-)

Re:SAD bad or mad (1)

Foggerty (680794) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344095)

Doh, I thought "wait, I didn't write the original comment, I cannot addendum (sp?) that!" But I'd pressed Submit rather than Preview.
Ah well, still mean it - depresion is not a mood that you (or anyone) can just snap out of. Its a rather unpleasant state of mind, made more so because it leads you to think that its just the way things are.

Re:SAD bad or mad (4, Insightful)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344108)

Yep that can just put people on the defensive .Sure in a tiny amount of cases people can just need to snap out of it ,that is however moping and not depression.
Depression will require either medication in the case of pure clinical depression .
therapy (may only be a friendly ear to talk to ) and perhaps medication if it is due to a real world experience such as loneliness or loss .
Or in the case of SAD , It may require Medication and therapy but will most likely be helped by a solar light.

A lot of people will advise just getting out and having a good time , which is great and can help .. but actually having the energy or will to get out of the door is a problem , and even if you do get there , there is no guarantee that you in some cases it will not just heighten the feelings of isolation , others will be having a great time and you will just feel like crap .

This is why it is important to see a doctor , they are trained to help people with these things (as are many nurses that help run clinics , plus a few volunteers )

Re:SAD bad or mad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14344457)

>medication if it is due to a real world experience such as loneliness or loss

LOL. Nice to see it is OK to pop drugs whenever something bad happens to you nowadays.

Re:SAD bad or mad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14344551)

Nice misquote " and perhaps medication" is the actual quote . That changes the meaning quite a bit, eh ?

Re:SAD bad or mad (4, Insightful)

Princeofcups (150855) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344840)

> This is why it is important to see a doctor , they are trained to help
> people with these things (as are many nurses that help run clinics ,
> plus a few volunteers )

I know a lot of folks who are anti "medication for depression" because someone they knew had a bad experience. Not all doctors are made the same. There are a lot of pill pushers out there who listen to your problems for 5 minutes, prescribe the med-du-jour, and call it good.

The trick is to find a good M.D. psychiatrist who both understand meds and does weekly therapy sessions. Finding the right med for each person is a trick of balancing side effects, and all of these med can have bad side effects. If you get it right, it can be wonderful, but gets them wrong and you will be worse than you were originally.

btw, I'm on a combination of Wellbutrin and Lexapro, and it works wonderfully for me. And I see my therapist once per month like clockwork.


Re:SAD bad or mad (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 8 years ago | (#14345049)

Indeed , I would normaly go off on a rant about the quality of training doctotrs recieve and the pop a pill culture .. in this case though I wanted to avoid bringing it up as it can disuade people from seeking help if they feel they will just be fobed off and shoved on prozac .
I am on Lamotrigin and venalafaxine after a long search for some combination that works well , luckly I had a rather good doctor who almost instantly refered me .

Re: SAD bad or mad (3, Informative)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14346270)

> I know a lot of folks who are anti "medication for depression" because someone they knew had a bad experience.

In addition to the pill-pusher problem that I snipped, anti-depressant medicine has come a long way of late. Bad experiences of 20 years ago are completely irrelevant.

An honest doctor will tell you that not every anti-depressant works for everyone, and there's a chance that none will work for you at all. So it may involve trying one for a few months (yes, it can take that long to have any effect even if it does work for you), ditching it and trying another for a few months, repeat until (hopefully) you find one that works.

Also, anti-depressants aren't passive fixme pills. You've got to make up your mind that you're going to try to make it work. This may require giving up some bad habits that are contributing to your problem.

If you visit a doctor who prescribes something without going in to all this, tear up the prescription and go see another doctor.

Re:SAD bad or mad (0, Troll)

override11 (516715) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344328)

Sheesh, depression is not an illness!! Get outside, hang out with family or people, do some exercise! Doctors want you to medicate for depression, when all you need to do is try and make a lifestyle change. Do you really think that the human body is meant to sit inside watching TV and stuffing food down your gullet 7 hours out of every 24??? Dont take medication just to accommodate your sedentary lifestyle, try jogging or even walking around your block. You will feel a ton better, and not have to pay a red cent for a doctor bill or a prescription. Of course, most people will scoff and ignore this, and go get their pills anyway. Enjoy a life of continued depression and dependency on drugs.

Re:SAD bad or mad (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344482)

Do you really think that the human body is meant to sit inside watching TV and stuffing food down your gullet 7 hours out of every 24???

No, but it shore is fun naw, 'aint it?

Re:SAD bad or mad (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14344498)

You're implying that someone hasn't already tried these things, many times.

Ever heard the expression, "No matter where you go... there you are." Well---no matter what you do, you're still you. It's not always that easy to shake something off.

Depression is often biological. You don't know how many active, creative, productive, happy people I've known who have hit one of the change-in-body-chemistry ages (13, 18, 24, 45) suddenly seem to have no control over their energy level.

As for medication, nobody really relishes the idea of paying money for the rest of their lives just to function on the same level as most people. Most patients with mental problems hate taking medication, they hate giving control of their brain over to a drug, they hate how a doctor is in charge of their life instead of them---but sometimes it's necessary, and if it's done properly, a little bit of medication actually helps you regain control over yourself. Often, after some years of learning to have more power over your mood and energy, you can start to wean yourself off the medication.

I will admit that there are reasons people wallow in despair. The simplest is that it just becomes a way of life, it just becomes identity. Once you start to say, "God, well, I'm just depressed, that's why I don't do half of the things I used to," you've started to plan to never be your old self again. There are also other reasons---some people get noticed for being moody, and any attention, even negative attention (like when your friends are telling you to quit being a drag all the time), can make someone who feels isolated feel partly connected to the world again.

Re:SAD bad or mad (3, Interesting)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344508)

OK , I do hang out with people , I go out most days outside of work have a game of cards , go bowling , watch a movie etc . I work out (weights and exercise) I am a very social person .. however only when I have my medication . I admit I am not just depressed and suffer from Bipolar Affective disorder (believed to be genetic) so my personal example may not be a good one .
Though I have done volunteer counselling to help many many people with a wide array of conditions , sure a few peoples depressions are caused by their lifestyle and a few others are not helped by it . To say that this will help all depression is frankly wrong.

Many people I know who suffer from long term chronic depression do live an active lifestyle and socialise but this is facilitated due to medication and other forms of therapy , the getting out and enjoying yourself is part of being cured not the cure .
The last thing you want to do when horribly depressed is to get out and socialise .

Depression in its many forms are recognised medical conditions , do not confused being depressed with having depression.
Everyone gets depressed it is only natural and for a lot people just getting out and getting on with things will help , however for those with clinical depression or one of the other forms of the illness this is simply not an answer .

Being depressed is not an illness , it is a symptom , it can be a symptom of many many things ,Depression being one of those things .
The problem is when you can not get rid of the depression and it impairs your life , even if you know what is causing the depression and have resolved the issue the best you can , it is then time to seek medical advice .

Re:SAD bad or mad (4, Informative)

LocoMan (744414) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344536)

Depression can be an illness, though. I do remember the case of a woman near where I used to live that basically had what you could call a near perfect life, devoted husband, two very nice children, went to the gym at least weekly and the like, yet she suffered from some very bad (and unexplained by external factors) periods of depression. I do agree that there are LOTS of cases out there where doctors are too quick to put on pills and the like where it's not really needed, but there are some cases too where it's an actual physical illness that can be helped (to an extent) with some responsible use of them. A friend from another forum ( put together a little flash animation explaining how it works on the chemical level. You can get the link if you're interested on this thread: 199 [] (won't post the direct link to the animation so I don't kill his website.. :) )

Re:SAD bad or mad (2)

gmack (197796) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344975)

Actually it can also be dietary. I have a friend whose medication just wasn't working. His doctor took him off his meds and started forcing him to eat a ballanced diet and strangely enough that worked better.

If were not feeding our body the right nutrients how do we expect it to work correctly?

Re:SAD bad or mad (1)

EasyComputer (797633) | more than 8 years ago | (#14346543)

He's Right, too bad people think he's trolling.

Re:SAD bad or mad (1)

6350' (936630) | more than 8 years ago | (#14345627)

A key caveat here is that if you are under the age of 20, all of the above should be ignored. Welcome to teen angst.

Re:SAD bad or mad (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 8 years ago | (#14346237)

Not necessarily m though many people going through puberty are misdiagnosed with conditions an equal number of people with real problems are marked off as just suffering from teenage "angst" . If you are worried that you may have a condition when you are under 20 then by all means it is better to be safe than sorry as depression can seriously affect academic performance

Re:SAD bad or mad (1)

6350' (936630) | more than 8 years ago | (#14346381)

I admit I am squarely in the school that assumes if pretty much anyone complains of feeling a bit down, a random DSM-IV entry will be tossed in their direction along with a handfull of prescriptions.

This is all part of my more general rant on the wussification of the west - that somehow, we all believe it is our birthright to always feel 100% top-notch 24/7, and anything else is a totally unfair aberation which requires reams of acronyms and bottles of tricyclics with which we can console ourselves that our particular experience is just so hard, unique, and trying.


I hear the distinct sound of a million WW2 veterans turning over in their graves.

Re:SAD bad or mad (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 8 years ago | (#14347404)

Believe me I can understand your sentiment , but I have seen both sides.
I have seen people suffering from severe disabilities being pawned off as just a bit down or Angsty .
Being a wuss is nothing to do with it , I know many many tough bastards who suffer from these conditions .

Re:SAD bad or mad (3, Interesting)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 8 years ago | (#14346343)

1: Seasonal affective disorder .this is caused by a chemical imbalance due to the lack of daylight . A high powered solar lamp can help you here will alleviate many many symptoms . Again see a doctor

The "depression is a chemical imbalance" theory [] is not as rooted in research [] as the drug peddlers would like you to beleive.

My own experience: years ago I asked my doctor about SAD. I wasn't even asking her about treatment, just "do you think this is real, or just another trendy diagnosis-of-the-moment?" The first sentance out her mouth was something about Prozac. Thanks, no. (YYMV; I'm not criticizing anyone else's choice here. My own winter blahs weren't that severe that I felt the side-effects worth it.)

A year or so so later, I decided to give St. Johns Wort a try. Took it over the winter, did seem to feel better - even avoided putting on the extra few pounds of weight I usually added over the winter. Weaning off it in the spring was a little trickier than I anticipated, but I'd still rate it a positive. Did it again the next winter. Obviously my own experience is not a controlled study, though there is clinical evidence for its effectiveness in mild cases of depression.

About three years ago this summer, I started receiving acupuncture. When winter rolled around, I asked my acupuncturist about seasonal depression. She gave me a "duh!" look and pointed out that animals are supposed to be less active in the winter. It is not a disease to feel less energetic this time of year! Of course there's "feeling less energetic", and there's "debilitating, crushing, want-to-slit-my-wrists depression". The later is certainly a serious problem requring less subtle intervention, though I'm skeptical of applying the term "disease" [] .

Slowing down and feeling different in the winter means that you haven't become disconnected from the natural world. Chinese medicine teaches that we should live more in harmony with these natural rhythms; indeed, it's much more about these lifestyle elements than about acupuncture, herbs, or bodywork [] . I've been trying to do that the past few years, and it's working for me.

Again, YMMV; I'm not advising anyone to stop taking their meds or anything like that.

Yeah. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14343914)

It's fucking cold, I go to work when it's dark, sit bored all day reading slashdot, back home when it's dark, freeze my ass off to keep gf in good condition and give her a few laps around the paddock in the snow after dark, clean the stall, give fresh hay, then she decides she is out of heat, says "no" to all suggestions of sex and all I'm left with is internet pr0n and my hand. Sucks?
Post some good pages of internet pr0n please. Or hints of getting a mare into heat.

Re:Yeah. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14343961)

all I'm left with is internet pr0n and my hand.

Maybe if you chop off your hand your horse girlfriend will feel sorry for you and give you some sympathy sex? If that doesn't work, just turn yourself into the nearest police station.

Re:Yeah. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14344162)

Well, at least I know she -will- be in heat eventually, and then we will have wonderful sex together. End of february at worst. And you will still have only your hand for a company. Sucks?

Hmm (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14343921)

Maybe if you quit feeling sorry for yourself, you might feel better? Perhaps stop wasting your life with computer games and other meaningless bullshit. If you're physically healthy just be happy for that. Getting some sun and fresh air also helps.

Re:Hmm (4, Informative)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344063)

Depression is a real illness, a real problem, and one that has been proven over and over. I know. I used to work in treatment and saw it over and over. I even went through it. If you havne't been there, you simply don't know. To be honest, your statement shows you have no clue what is going on with depression, but it also shows so much hostility that it makes me wonder if this topic doesn't touch on a sensitive spot for you. (why else would you make such a strong negative statement?)

Telling a depressed person to "quit feeling sorry for yourself", or to "just deal with it," or to "get over it," or to "get out and do things" does NOT work. I never believed this until I went through it. Depression means emotional pain a person who hasn't been there can't believe or undrestand. It often means physical pain, sleeping many hours a day (for me it was 14 or more!) and a lethargy that is almost unbelievable. You can give a person like that medication, but then they often don't care enough or don't have enough energy to remember to take it regularly. While symptoms vary from person to person, a person with clinical depression is usually literally incapable of doing anything other than laying around and feeling sorry for him/herself. Think of a person so depressed they don't see a chance of life getting better and can't imagine things being good enough that the pain is bearable. They have no reason or motivation to take their meds or to do anything to get better.

That is what clinical depression is like and for most, they simply can't do what you suggest. The only way out is often only to go through it (and not suicide) or meds -- assuming there is someone to make sure meds are taken when needed until the patient is doing well enough to keep up with them or that there is a way for them to make sure they get all the needed meds, even when too tired to care about them.

prescription for depression year round (2, Informative)

flyneye (84093) | more than 8 years ago | (#14343923)

Call me self medicating but "frop" or its common cousin cannabis seems to control my urges to eat lead.
Year round!Some are naysayers,asserting that it is a depressant itself.Its always worked for me!Its kept me off prescription meds for decades now.Merry Christmas,go light a yule blunt!

Festivus (1)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14343932)

Festivus [] for the rest of us!

Pretty simple... (-1, Troll)

jericho4.0 (565125) | more than 8 years ago | (#14343941)

Get your ass out of the house and quit asking the world (slashdot) for validation about how fucking bleak it is.

Re:Pretty simple... (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14343960)

Good point. There is only one way to escape the feeling of sadness, and that is finding other people to spend time with. Even if it doesn't help solve your depression, you are forced to think about other things than your own problems, and that may be a welcome change. So shut down your computer (I know that will be hard for you to do), go downtown or to friends or whatever, and try to have some fun!

Re:Pretty simple... (1)

SB5 (165464) | more than 8 years ago | (#14343993)

I have to agree, there was some study that showed that people, mostly extroverts but a few introverts, but those with a strong social network were least likely to be depressed, more and more likely to be content.

Re:Pretty simple... (4, Insightful)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344066)

But the connection does not show that one causes the other.

Depression is an illness, has been proven and has predictable, measureable effects.

Telling people to get out sounds good, but it's just a way of blaming them instead of acknowldeging there is a problem and this often makes them mroe depressed. If the parent poster, and the others in this thread don't believe that, then maybe a little research would help.

Re:Pretty simple... (2, Informative)

eggstasy (458692) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344117)

If you only have mild/seasonal depression, my personal opinion is that chemicals would probably do you more harm than good.
Studies have shown that living a healthy lifestyle decreases your likeliness of getting depressed even if you are naturally prone to depression. It may be a chemical imbalance, but your body can easily be teased into manufacturing more of the chemicals you need to stay mentally balanced. Exercise often, even if you are already within your normal BMI, get plenty of sunlight, keep a normal sleep pattern and force yourself to be more social. My personal experience has been very positive, but of course YMMV, and if your condition worsens or fails to improve SEE A DOCTOR.

Re:Pretty simple... (3, Interesting)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344187)

If you only have mild/seasonal depression, my personal opinion is that chemicals would probably do you more harm than good.

Yes. I should have mentioned that, but I was trying to be brief -- and, to be honest, as a human, it is easier for me to talk about what I had and what I had to deal with in patients when I worked in treatment. In those cases, SAD was never an issue, so, to be honest, sometimes I overlook it.

Studies have shown that living a healthy lifestyle decreases your likeliness of getting depressed even if you are naturally prone to depression.

In general I agree, but there are often uncontrollable factors. If you're trying to be healthy, but have an extreme work situation, that can overwhelm all the other points -- and once that "overwhelming" starts, it can be a very rough downward spiral, leading to not caring to exercise or keep a healthy focus.

One point I've heard, but haven't seen tested, is that it can help to get sunlight around either sunrise or sunset so the body's clock will be reset to the current cycle. I know this works for travellers dealing with jet lag, and I've heard it can help depressed people refocus their cycle, but I have yet to see any proof or talk to someone who tried it with depression in mind.

Sleep patterns are important, but can be disrupted easily and if there is any stress or any other trigger, for someone prone to depression, that can create the downward spiral I mentioned.

Personally, for me, the one big thing that made a difference was when I finally got control of my life, which included getting rid of bitchy girlfriends (or even ones that just treated me poorly), and getting out of jobs where I had little input and starting a business where I actually had control over what happened and there was a direct link to my decisions and work and their effects on my life improving. Now I don't even get sick (unless I work to exhaustion) and don't take any medication other than 2-3 aspirins a year.

But it is still easy for me to remember what depression was like -- the lack of energy, the inability to care about anything, the struggle to get out of bed each day, the emotional and physical pain, the sleeping for up to 16 hours a day, and, especially, and worst of all, the idiots who wanted to blame me and thought all I had to do was "just snap out of it."

BTW, thanks for an insightful post -- especially your last 3 words! It is frustrting to see, in a forum where most people are supposedly well educated, so many post by people that want to "blame the victim" and say things like, "Just stop feeling sorry for yourself."

Re:Pretty simple... (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14345308)

That's a bit harsh. I only meant that seeing other people helps you think about something else for a while. If you are really depressed, it will not cure you.

Re:Pretty simple... (1)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 8 years ago | (#14346494)

I only meant that seeing other people helps you think about something else for a while.

And part of my point is that often does not work. If someone is clinically depressed, they don't have the energy to deal with seeing other people. They barely have the energy to get out of bed and get to work each day. Dealing with other people can seem as huge a challenge as climbing a mountain and often a depressed person simply does not have the energy to face it or even enough energy to care enough to consider it. Depression can be that debilitating.

I take medication... (2, Funny)

SB5 (165464) | more than 8 years ago | (#14343991)

I take medication during the holidays. Prescribed by myself. Ok I am not a doctor, so I self-medicate with alcohol.

Dr. Phil (5, Funny)

andy753421 (850820) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344049)

By following the simple advice I heard on the Dr. Phil show, I have finally found inner peace.

Dr. Phil proclaimed, "The way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you've started and never finished."

So, I looked around my house to see all the things I started and hadn't finished, and before leaving the house this morning. I finished off a bottle of Merlot, a bottle of White Zinfandel, a bottle of Bailey's Bristol Cream, a bottle of Kahlua, a package of Oreos, the remainder of my old Prozac prescription, the rest of the cheesecake, some saltines and a box of chocolates with the rest of my Smirnoff and Xanax.....

You have no idea how freaking good I feel.

Re:Dr. Phil (1)

pooh666 (624584) | more than 8 years ago | (#14345075)

I would just like to thank you for making me spit up on my keyboard :)

Bah... (1)

nastyphil (111738) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344070)

I Drink!



Re:Bah... (1)

emag (4640) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344166)

I was tempted to respond, "The same thing we do every night, Pinky... Try to out-drink the WORLD!" but, as usual, someone beat me to the gist of it.

Surviving Christmas (1)

versus (59674) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344074)

I remember a movie with Ben Affleck: Surviving Christmas []

Sadness is realistic? Depression = inner conflict. (4, Insightful)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344089)

"sadness and depression"

First, ask yourself if the sadness and depression is realistic. Is your connection with other people far less than is required to meet your needs? People in the U.S. culture often have families in which the members are very disconnected from each other. It's healthy to feel sad about that.

Second, depression is caused by inner conflict. To relieve depression, you must resolve inner conflict. The fake methods of dealing with depression don't work, they just delay the intensity of the problem until later.

I don't agree (1)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 8 years ago | (#14348198)

People in the U.S. culture often have families in which the members are very disconnected from each other. It's healthy to feel sad about that.

I don't agrree with that at all. If your life is depressing because you are not near your family, then it is high time you formed a *new* family, closer to where you live.

Of course, by family I mean a tight circle of friends with whom you can socialize and lean on.

Which is all a real "family" is anyway. The idea that just because you share some DNA with someone that you should feel some tight bond with them is ludicrous. I have several friends who I would call on and trust before any member of my family, aside from my parents.

Whoever came up with "blood is thicker than water" did not have any real friends.

Realize the true meaning of Christmas (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14344113)

This will probably get modded way down, but for me, accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour has given me a peace and comfort that transcends any depression of the Christmas season. Why? Because I now have an eternal perspective on things that I never had before. Even if I live to be very old, my life here is truely very short in the perspective of eternity, and placing my faith in the eternal salvation of Jesus Christ gives me a hope that is far greater than any issue that this life can bring.

No, it's not scientific, but I can say that since accepting Christ, I have experienced very real and tangible peace, hope, and understanding that gets me through every second of every day.

If you hold even the slightest shred of possibility that God could exist, consider taking some time to simply ask God to reveal Himself to you. Don't expect a burning bush, but in your heart, ask Him to help you reveal Himself to you. Worst case, you waste a few minutes of your prescious time. Best case, your eternal destiniy will be sealed.

Re:Realize the true meaning of Christmas (2, Insightful)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344183)

Having any source of faith in your life can help , it provides a support network of similarly minded people who are usually more than willing to lend a helping hand . It does not matter the religion , be you Jewish , Buddhist , Muslim , Taoist or Christian .
This does not mean however that all depressed atheist/agnostics should go out and join a church , but if you are a believer in something then remember that as well as doctors there is the members of your community to talk to .

Joining a faith is no miracle cure for depression , G-D will not just fly down and heal your depression the second you join a church , that is what doctors are there to do (well not fly down and instantly heal it .. but you probably get my meaning) . There is however no denying that some people will be helped a lot by getting involved in a caring community .
This also includes support groups and clubs not just faiths .

the main thing to do is find a doctor to help you and point you in the right directions , but don't count out the help of a community

Re:Realize the true meaning of Christmas (4, Interesting)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344207)

This will probably get modded way down

I hope it doesn't, but there are a lot of judgemental people here who mod something as troll simply because it's not what they want to hear. I don't consider myself a Christian, but I am a Quaker. I was an athiest and even, at one point, a fundamentalist. Faith can be a very important factor in life. There is also a gulf between faith and science, and both sides often have a poor understanding of the other (just listen to comments in the recent Intelligent Design debate to see how the ID people have no clue about the scientific method). Science describes what can be explained through nature and faith is a way of understand what science cannnot explain. The two should not be entangled or confused, but a focus on one should not, out of ignorance, preclude a focus on the other.

As someone who was deeply depressed, I'm glad that you foudn a way out and added something valuable to your life. It is not the same faith as mine, but that does not make one right and the other wrong. If it works for you, that is great.

But I wouldn't be surprised if many here indicate they don't understand the point of faith.

Re:Realize the true meaning of Christmas (3, Interesting)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344424)

No, it's not scientific,

Actually there is scientific support for this idea. In his book The Pursuit of Happiness, David Myers* cites a correlation between faith and happiness. The bullet-point version from his web site: "For many people, faith provides a support community, a reason to focus beyond self, and a sense of purpose and hope. Study after study finds that actively religious people are happier and that they cope better with crises." He has several articles about happiness [] online, which make for some interesting reading.

*If you've taken an introductory college Psych class, there's a good chance you used his textbook.

Re:Realize the true meaning of Christmas (1)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 8 years ago | (#14345846)

Choose: happiness, or truth

Re:Realize the true meaning of Christmas (1)

BigZaphod (12942) | more than 8 years ago | (#14346097)

To quote the late, great, Douglas Adams: I'd rather be happy than right any day.

Truth. The red pill. (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 8 years ago | (#14347608)

I'd rather be right.

Liquor and drugs (1)

c.r.o.c.o (123083) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344159)

I simply drink myself into a stupor and try not to wake up untill the new year is well on its way.

Re:Liquor and drugs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14344373)

Alcohol is quite bad for your liver ang GI tract. You really should consider opiates or other euphoriants

Go to a doctor. (1)

Naikrovek (667) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344185)

Mine gave me 10mg of Lexapro to take once a day.

It is working fantastically well.

Re:Go to a doctor. (2)

HappyCycling (565803) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344357)

Just wait till you want to quit. You're in for one hell of a ride.

Re:Go to a doctor. (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344666)

And if you're anything like me, you'll never want to take it without food. I guarantee, that's the quickest way to puke up nothing but stomach acid.

Re:Go to a doctor. (1)

Naikrovek (667) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344694)

yeah the nausea is pretty strong but i'm not much of a puker so no inside-out episodes yet. food does help in that it lessens the severity, but food makes it worse for me because the nausea duration is hours longer. even reading (or typing) the word 'nausea' makes my stomach move on its own behalf. ugh.

as to the comment about me being in for quite a ride - what do you mean by that?

Program like hell is the best way to beat the blue (2, Interesting)

DemonSlayer (239842) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344229)

When your mind is in the algorithm, you will have no time to feel depress. Thats why whenever I feel the blues, I start coding like a mad man.

Re:Program like hell is the best way to beat the b (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14345109)

*cough* nerd!

What I do and don't do... (1)

emag (4640) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344237)

What I find works for me is getting outside more often during the daylight hours... whether a walk, just sitting there, getting lunch, or joining a smoker-friend for their cigarette break, the warm sun beating down (even in sub-freezing weather) seems to help. At the least, try to get some time near a bright window.

Also, making sure at night to have the lights on early seems to help, but then I spend a lot of my time near some home aquaria that have both "plant" and "sunshine" bulbs, so it could be a similar effect to others' recommendations of a sun lamp.

Having a pet or two that's cute & cuddly, or at least doesn't mind the extra affection & attention (like 2 of 3 cats here), also helps when I ust need to feel a warm body and the S.O.'s asleep. (As I type, I need to take constant breaks and/or type 1-handed because I'm not paying enough attention to the "too feral" cat that climbs onto my laptop and curls up begging to be loved)

Develop a new hobby or concentrate on an old one. Be it stamp collecting, programming, walking around mall parking lots with keys in hand trying to get the most cars following you, or whatever, having something that you derive pleasure from that you can fall back on really helps. This year, thanks to some gifts I received, I'm learning all about the world of cigars. And I'm learning some new programming languages. I've even re-interpretted some stuff I'm doing at work to approach what I consider a dead-dull sub-project from a new direction as a related but interesting problem.

What I avoid: things I know make me uncomfortable. I don't like crowds, even "family" crowds (remarried parents post-high school does a LOT to suddenly expand families way past what one is "used" to), so I try to avoid situations where there's a huge group of people without a clearly visible "safe area", be it the car, garage, sunroom, etc.

Drinking excessively. Sure, I made a play on Pinky & the Brain in another post. But alcohol depresses. Drink some to be social or get a little lubed, but stop after a few drinks, especially if you'll be driving later, but even if not. Drinking when depressed (for me, at least) just leads to more depression and more drinking, so I stop early enough to not hit that spiral. Switch to water... folks who are farther gone will likely think you're hard-core, drinking straight vodka.

Being alone. See mention of the pets above. Find a family member or good friend to hang out with. Spend a lot more time and be more affectionate with a loved one. It's really easy, if you start to isolate yourself from everyone, to start spiraling down into a "no one loves me, no one cares about me" cycle.

SAD is some sad BS (0, Troll)

eyepeepackets (33477) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344271)

Those of us with an active hybernation gene are known to want to sleep a lot and be grumpy if disturbed when the days are short, the temperature cold and the light low. Does this mean we are depressed? No, it doesn't. Perhaps it means that some humans experience a metabolism slowing in the Winter.

I suspect the problem is with those humans who expect everyone to be their cheery Summer's best during late December. The metabolism of some people changes as a survival mechanism during Winter, so quit calling it SAD or depression or whatever else: People with real depression have different behaviors.

Perhaps mine might best be called GASP, Grumpy Ass Seasonal Personality. I'll return to normal when the air doesn't smell like diesel and the women are wearing light, pretty dresses. Don't bug me about it or I'll have your 'ead on me platter.


Re: (5, Funny)

dimss (457848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344318)

If Christmas makes you depressed, try celebrating Hanukkah.

Re: try celebrating Hanukkah (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14346395)

Funny aside, if might be worth switching to Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Soltice, if it gets you away from the unreasonable expectations so many people have for Christmas.

Get away from your family (1)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344326)

Most problems at holiday times are the result of strained family relations. Some people are really cut off from the family most of the year and return home, only to be treated like a little kid again to put up with the same stupid jokes, stories and teasing.

We had a couple hang with our family over the holidays, and they had a great time for the first time in years. They both come from families that were broken up by divorce, and normally get put through the guilt ringer.

It works for me. (1)

tommyboyprime (694285) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344327)

Get Loaded, get laid.

Have Kids (1)

gremlin_591002 (548935) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344346)

Christmas is a great time of year if you have kids. It gives you something to focus on. Of course you'll never sleep again. :) For the idiots out there, this is a joke post.

Do something very illegal! (0, Troll)

rjforster (2130) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344399)

Try to pick something with maximum impact that requires little planning so it can be a spur of the moment thing.

Hold up a bank
Go carjacking
Take a high powered rifle to the top of a water tower
etc etc, I'm sure you'll think of something

Nothing gets the adrenaline rushing quite like spot of high crime. Plus, the early sunsets (northern hemisphere) make getaways a little easier. The exercise is good for you too.

Just remember, wipe all the prints carefully, establish an alibi ahead of time and leave the iPod at home so you can better hear the sirens.

Good luck!

the answer is: (1)

TheCreeep (794716) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344425)

Booze! Lots and lots of booze
Made me happy :)

Yelling (1)

Kiaser Zohsay (20134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344507)

Slamming doors helps too. And occasionally breaking shit.

Get cured! (1)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344541)

Get laid!

Keep up on vitamins, keep busy (1)

kassemi (872456) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344588)

During the winter, I find it important to take some good vitamins. B12 is extremely important, as during the winter season we don't get enough sunlight to get what we need. Although such nutrients are added to many of our food products, poor diet during the holidays only does more to add to the problem.

On top of that, if you're a reclusive geek programmer like me, you don't get out enough into the sun anyway. Start your morning with a quick walk, and spend some an hour or so outside during the afternoon. Where I'm living the temperature doesn't get too bad, and I can easily sit outside with my laptop for a little bit.

Depression is an illness, but it's also led to some great discoveries. I've found the best thing to do is focus. Sit down and focus on your work. Drown yourself in it. Of course, if those suicidal thoughts are strong and frequent, get to your doctor and figure something out. Remember it takes about two weeks for most antidepressants to start working, so don't risk waiting until you feel your worst to get some medication.

I'm not a doctor, so don't take my advice as if I am. Get some professional help before you listen to a thing I say.

My fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14344613)

I kill myself

I hang out here (1)

kwoff (516741) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344636)

You guys are my best friends, I love you man!

tips for the hermit (2, Informative)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344798)

I'm an introvert, so the "outside" treatments for mild depression (e.g. join a club/church, reach out to friends and family) don't work well for me. So I do things that work in the safety of my hermitage.

I live almost 45 degrees north, so to help compensate for the lack of daylight, I set a couple lights in the house on timers to simulate summer daylight hours. So it's always light out (in the hallway) when I wake up at 6:30am. I assign myself some projects, including some I'll enjoy for their own sake (e.g. write that short story I've been mulling over in my head), and some that I'll enjoy having finished (e.g. clean the kitchen). I drink, but with a strict cap on the quantity.

I've developed some private holiday traditions. I buy myself a Solstice present (new digital camera this year). Every New Year's Eve since I stopped going to parties (which I only enjoyed when my partner was there with me, and he's not any more), I've spent the evening alone with a bottle of wine and some yummy snacks, doing something to "freshen up" my living space (e.g. reorganize my bookshelves, move the furniture around in the living room, relocate the server farm to another room).

Re:tips for the hermit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14344936)

What a sad story.

Re:tips for the hermit (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 8 years ago | (#14345130)

Not at all. It makes me happy. :p

One word - Bourbon (2, Insightful)

slasher999 (513533) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344819)

Which reminds me, I didn't drink enough over the weekend.

How do I deal with Christmas depression? (1)

FurryFeet (562847) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344879)

I don't. I have a good job, a beautiful family, and this is the time of the year when I get some free time to be with my little boy. We also eat delicious food, and I get to give my kid lots of nice presents, plus a new PC and assorted gadgets for me. Also, my wife gets amazingly "in the mood" this season, so I get laid almos nightly. All in all, Chrismas is wonderful.

Oh, and I'm an insensitive clod, thank you very much.

For mild depression only... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14344903)

lower your expectations. I used to get depressed around the holiday season just because I didn't enjoy it as much as my friends and family did. In the last couple of years, I've started treating it as an elaborate social obligation rather than as a fun activity.

As fun activities go, it's not so good. As obligations go, it's not so bad.

Standard disclaimers: I'm talking about mild holiday depression here, not severe depression, and not year-round depression. I've been lucky enough not to have severe depression, and it looks like some bad shit -- if you have it see a doctor or someone more qualified than me, anyway.

Sad or Depressed? (1)

Frogbeater (216054) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344910)

I find that we don't have very good outlets for sadness in our society. (Some movies, perhaps?)
Our western holidays are based on celebration (insert rant about capitalism overtaking each holiday and making it into "be happy and buy more") we don't get a sanctioned opportunity to feel remorse or saddness.
Not understanding that sadness is the necessary counterpoint to joy is something that gets lost in a world of "TGIFridays" Holidays.
Clinical depression is one thing, but the right to be sad sometimes, to feel loss or remorse anything other than joy is important to gaining a perspective on being happy.
Ash wednesday is a good christian example as Ramadan is a good Muslim example. I personally get a huge amount of sadness out of my system at the "Temple Burn" [] which is the day after they burn the man at Burning Man.

Therapy and Medication if needed (1)

Kolisar (665024) | more than 8 years ago | (#14344965)

Studies have shown ( sion.html [] , cle000289498.cfm?x=b11,0,w [] , 18085048.htm [] ) that a combination of talk therapy and medication produce lasting results in chronic depression. If the holiday depression is severe, and seems to start earlier and last longer each year I would recommend seeking help. I have personally gone through this and usually around the holidays (starting at the beginning of November and lasting until a few days after New Year's Day) I am very depressed and have been suicidal (I got to the point a number of times as to where all I had left to do was take the pills or slash my wrists). I started a program that consisted of both medication and therapy (I had chronic depression and some other things so my treatment was longer than people with seasonal depression) and, after a lot of work and help from excellent doctors, I an no longer suffering from depression. It is very important that you get help. It is a disease, many people suffer from it (you are not the only one) and you can be helped. If you chose to enter therapy carefully select your theropist. There are two types that I am aware of: Cognative and Psychodynamic. Without getting into too much detail about the technical differences between the two, stylistically Cognative theropists are your stereo-typical "how does that make you feel" kind of theropist. They tend to maintain a disconnected, anylitical relationship with the patient. They usually have the patient do most of the talking and provide anylitical input. Psychodynamic theropists will connect more with their patients on an emotional level. They will participare more in the coversation (of course, discussing only the patient's issues) and provide more emotional support. The type of theropist you select is, of course, best based on your needs. I would also recommend that the doctor prescribing the medication be different than the person with whom you are receiving theropy. The problems are separate, the emotional issues and the chemical imbalance and, though they can affect eachother, should be delt with separately. If nothing else, get some help, you are not alone, many many people go through this and you do not have to continue to suffer. Help is available and it does work. If anyone out there suffering from depression, find help. It will work!

Assuming we aren't talking clinical depression (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 8 years ago | (#14345169)

which ,IIRC, last two or more weeks (in which case you need to see a doctor), seasonal blahs come from several sources.

(1) Climate, especially northern latitudes. You may not have seasonal affective disorder, but you might be affected by it.

(2) Diet. If you have any tendency toward metabolic disorder at all, your blood sugar levels are probably haywire.

(3) Stress. For many, getting ready for christmas, and the massive pressure it puts on you to measure up. You're probably trapped with a bunch of people (family) who are going through exactly the same thing as you as well, and so aren't exactly at their best.

My prescription: an hour or more vigorous, outdoor excercise a day, at the height of the day if possible. Hiking or cross country skiing is ideal. It exposes you to sunlight; it helps your body get ahead of all the junk you're stuffing into it; and it takes your mind off of all the ways people "ought" to behave.

If there are existential reasons for your being disappointed with yourself, the above still applies. The brain is an organic system, and is the only thing you have to think your way out of your dead-end life. A general program would be

(1) Improve the organic health of your brain through exercise and nutrition.
(2) Improve the effectivness of your mind through meditation (or prayer if appropriate) and cognitive awareness of negative and self defeating thought patterns (also known as "positive thinking").
(3) Enhance the effectiveness of your brain by forming positive relationships with others (or improving existing ones) and reducing your involvement with negative relationships. We are social animals and our brains do not function properly in social isolalation.
(4) Reorgnize your priorities and commitments so you aren't just reacting passively to life, and you don't spend your time wallowing in self-loathing or pity because you have to much to do, little of which is meaningful to you. Record keeping is very helpful, as is social support from others trying the same thing.

Have a Cup of Tea (1)

stuffduff (681819) | more than 8 years ago | (#14345376)

Often, we have developed an unrealistic set of expectations that surround the holidays. Our culture has told us repeatedly that we should feel a certain way, and that if we don't that we are bad. That's total bullshit! We are who we are, and the sooner we accept it the better off we'll all be.

Similarly, we need to recognize that we are not dependent on others 'to make us happy' nor are they dependent on us for their happiness. Face it, no one can make you happy and you can't make anyone else happy. People choose to be happy, or they don't; and that's their business.

Realistic expectations can uncomplicate things quite a bit. Those expectations may be about any number of things, people, the weather, or whatever; especially about ourselves. It's unrealistic to expect to always feel good. Experiencing life is a series of ups and downs. The ups we really enjoy, but we learn the value of the ups from the downs.

A 'perfect life' would be maddeningly boring and ultimately valueless. Just look at all the rich and well to do that are chronically depressed! Look at the poor who have almost nothing jet remain optimistic! Part of that revolves around a quirk of brain chemistry, just like we tend not to notice a bad smell if we're around it long enough, the brain begins to ignore certain chemical stimuli after they have been around for long enough.

IMHO the trick it to realize what is being experienced, and savor it for the value that it represents to us, for the opportunity it represents to experience our life to the fullest, but then just let it go. That letting go both prevents obsessive attachment to the experience, but it also enables us to become aware of the next experience and revel in our ability to explore our feelings.

Take a moment to experience a cup of plain unsweetened hot tea. First, smell the dry tea, then you have to focus on heating the water, then steeping the tea. Now smell the wet tea. The smell of the tea is much lighter when dry and very strong when warm and wet from the steeping. All you did was put it in hot water, but the experience has transformed both the tea and you! Pour the tea into a cup and hold it. It warms the hands, and the steamy sent excites the sense of smell. Taste it. In reality, no too sips are quite the same. Each time the chemistry changes slightly in the mouth and on the taste buds. Each time the reaction of the brain changes. The temperature changes as it cools, the flavor reaches a peak of intensity. There is some bitterness, but then after the cup empties, a sweetness, the rebound of the taste buds and the brain, becomes recognizable.

Sometimes we need to be steeped in a little hot water to realize our own emotional state, experience and accept it, and let it go. And when you realize what that experience can be like, what you can get from a simple cup of tea; try sharing it with a friend. Don't be afraid to explore some ideas from other cultures. Eastern religions and philosophies abound with different strategies to appreciate and experience life from other perspectives. Whatever you believe, cultivate your appreciation of it in your daily life. Develop your center. Choose to be yourself.

Christmas / New Year On Your Own (1)

Ed Almos (584864) | more than 8 years ago | (#14345753)

For six years I spent the Christmas / New Year period on my own, initially I was dreading it but I ended up having the time of my life:

I ate what I wanted when I wanted. One year I tried goose for a change just to be different

I got exactly what I wanted for Christmas as I bought my own presents

I could watch what I wanted on the TV without fights over the remote

There were no fights between relatives, just me and the cat

Obviously this isn't everyone's idea of Christmas, but Christmas on your own isn't as bad as it sounds.

Ed Almos

Still working on it (1)

Cyphertube (62291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14345990)

Well, my family celebrates Christmas, and while I like playing Santa Claus, I've moved well away from the whole religious impact myself. I'm actually investigated conversion to Judaism, so that perhaps colours my vision a bit.

From my experience, most of the issue comes down to expectations of happiness. I have relatives who like to play the 'big happy family' game. They expect everyone to grin and be happy and pretend we all get along on everything. And that, my friends, is really hard when you keep hearing people say stupid things. I have some relatives who will constantly say dumb things and drive me nuts.

The other part that creates stress is the social requirement to spend time with people you would otherwise avoid. Some of them I would have no problem seeing on a short limited basis individually, but not all together in a group (it pushes the meter WAY beyond tolerance levels).

My solutions?

  1. If you're up north, it's dark. I lived in Finland for five years. Remember to get lights and enjoy light. Burn candles, or put a fire in the fireplace. Living light cheers you up a lot more than you'd believe
  2. Make sure your body is comfortable. Be sure to keep warm, but not be overly warm. Dress in layers, because if you have to go to a big family event, it'll be cold when you arrive, and get warmer as the hot air of them all blabbing gets around. If you're physically uncomfortable, your stress will skyrocket.
  3. Try to keep your events smaller. Meet with friends, meet with family, but try to do so in smaller groups instead of all at once. Yes, you think it sounds exhausting making the rounds, but people are more receptive and more genuine in small numbers, instead of fake grins all the time.
  4. Avoid mandatory gift-giving. It just makes everyone unhappy. Don't do it, and don't go anywhere it's required. If your family all has to get together and do group gifts, avoid the group. Meet with them individually and give gifts where appropriate. Chances are, the people you don't want to buy gifts will be relieved and not having to get you anything either.
  5. Goof off! Take time for yourself, too. I have to remind myself of this all time when I have other obligations. You need 'me time' no matter what. My house is a wreck, my kitchen is a mess, and I still remember that a little fun (usually as Civ IV) is important to keep from exploding.
  6. Lastly, if you have to travel lots to visit family, take a holiday off once in a while. A quiet holiday, whether Christmas, Thanksgiving, or whatever, is sometimes really good, especially if you really have a home where you are. Take time to enjoy your home. Invite some of your friends or co-workers over who maybe don't have the chance to visit family. It'll be good and make you feel great.

Minimize expectations, exercise freedom (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14346138)

Minimize your expectations. Christmas is never going to be as exciting for you as an adult as it was when you were a 4-year-old.

Negotiate a truce with your family and friends so that gifts are only bought for small children. (And only spend a little bit even then, so they won't grow up with unreasonable expectations of Holiday Magic either.)

Use some of your time off (if any) to visit family and friends, but use some of it selfishly as well. Write that program, read that book, or take a nap and kill some time on Slashdot.

Don't go bonkers over all the holiday food. Eating bad makes you feel bad physically, and feeling bad physically makes things worse mentally.

Make trips and go to parties only if you want to. If you treat them as an unwanted obligation, they'll feel like an unwanted obligation.

Act reasonably, and then unapologetic about it.

DNA (1)

Aaron Denney (123626) | more than 8 years ago | (#14346681)

Down, not across.

skeet shooting (1)

BigBir3d (454486) | more than 8 years ago | (#14346834)

I go blast some clay pigeons with a 12ga. (and 20ga.) every Christmas week. =)

Season or Holiday? (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 8 years ago | (#14347022)

Seasonal affective disorder and light therapy has been covered adequately. I'll only add that I don't take medication when something cheaper and safer works, and it does for me.

I believe that the more acute problems people suffer around the holidays is due to the hype (interpersonal as well as commercial). It leads to expectations far greater than the results. Anyone who's experienced that anticipates it, and so it affects them even before the holidays arrive.

Don't use drugs! (4, Funny)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14347779)

Drugs are not the answer. Psychiatry isn't either! Scientology is the only way to beat depression.

No. Not really.
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