For many of us, getting ready for the Christmas holidays is an exciting change of routine. This year I especially looked forward to Christmas, because we were expecting a visit from family. In anticipation of their visit, I decorated the house, planned meals and did some long-overdue cleaning.
I really get a kick out of seeing my Florida home transformed into a winter wonderland (sans snow, of course!). I felt like a kid again, eager for Santa’s visit!
When my family arrived, our normally quiet house (we’re empty nesters) was filled with lively chatter. We spent our days catching up, playing games, hiking, and taking some day trips.
And yet, when our visitors were getting ready to make the 2-day journey home, I felt somewhat relieved. No more sharing bathrooms, cooking larger meals, rushing to get ready for each day’s outing. I was ready to return to my usual routine.
One week later, to my surprise, my relief turned into sadness. No more pre-holiday anticipation and excitement. No more decorations, no more holiday music. Once again, the house was empty – and quiet. Too quiet. Sadness and a bit of loneliness crept in.
It’s post-holiday blues
Quite by chance (or was it?), I came across an article about this phenomenon: it’s called post-holiday blues. And it’s fairly common. But – when the post-holiday blues linger, they sometimes progress to depression.
Signs and symptoms of depression
There are different types of depression and symptoms can vary from person to person. Some of the most common signs of depression are:
- feeling sad, empty or unhappy
- irritable or angry over little things
- loss of interest in usual activities
- trouble sleeping
- too much sleeping
- lack of energy
- reduced or increased appetite
If you, or someone you know, recognizes one or more of these signs, it’s probably time to get some help.
Getting help for depression
The first step in dealing with depression is a visit to your doctor. He or she may recommend one, or a combination of, these treatments:
- group therapy
- change of diet
I know from personal experience what it’s like to be depressed. I went through a difficult period in my own life. I didn’t want to get out of bed (and slept a lot!), I lost my appetite, and I lost about 10 lbs.
After talking to some friends, I admitted I couldn’t fix the problem myself. Happily, several months of anti-depression medication and visits to a counselor did the trick. I snapped out of it and learned to enjoy life again.
Please – if you, a friend, or a loved one recognize(s) any of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to get help. With treatment, feelings of hopelessness and sadness will disappear. Energy and enthusiasm for life will return. Just take that first step!
First published on Full of Knowledge, February 20, 2014.