If you are feeling depressed, Christmas can be a particularly difficult time. It seems everyone else is having fun, and, when it can take all your energy to just get through an ordinary day, the festive period brings the added pressure of Christmas shopping, parties, deadlines and sometimes family obligations or difficulties.
No amount of tinsel, glitter and ho, ho, ho may lift your mood, and you may well blame yourself for not getting in the spirit. You may wonder where the person you used to be has gone, or start to think of things that have gone on in the past. Sometimes it feels as if it will never end.
Around a fifth* of adults will experience depression and anxiety in their lifetime. There is thought to be a link between the body’s production of the neurotransmitter Serotonin and depression – but no-one is yet quite sure. This can be triggered by many different things, for example a loss; a physical condition, or situations you have found yourself in. It can come with anxiety; or even be caused by that, and is usually accompanied by negative thoughts.
Symptoms can include low mood, a loss of interest in things that used to give you pleasure, feelings of low self-worth, and a change in sleep patterns, appetite, and concentration. Everything can appear dark and some clients describe not wanting to see or talk to others, sometimes because they ‘don’t want to bother them with my problems’.
If these symptoms persist it is advisable to consult your GP. He or she may offer you some medication to lift your mood and help you cope with day to day life; but along with this, going to see a counsellor can be really helpful, to talk to someone who won’t judge you, who you won’t be ‘burdening’ and who can help you try to understand what may be causing your depression and what may help.