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mothers-day-card-pride-mom-funny-ecard-XYLIn the early 1900s a lady called Anna Jarvis was the reason we have Mother’s Day today.  In wanting to honor her mother who worked to clean up and sanitize the make shift hospitals and such during the Civil War.  Most women stayed home and took care of kids, not volunteering to improve the health of the soldiers.  Through Anna’s efforts to honor her mom, she ended up getting the US Government to authorize the holiday so all mothers could be honored by their children for their hard work and love for their kids.  The problem was Mother’s Day ended up this very commercialized holiday that made it more about what the kids spent on the present then really honoring their mom through spending time with them.  If your kids didn’t go out and spend a bunch of money on you then you must be a bad mother, which is part of where I believe the depression comes from related to Mother’s Day.  The thing is Anna got so upset that she started petitioning, picketing, and protesting the government to stop the holiday, as it didn’t mean what it did originally, it became more of a guilt trip on kids who either were unable to or did not buy a big gift or fancy dinner for their mom.  The sad thing is Anna spent all her money on trying to stop Mother’s Day as we know it.  Her true feelings were expressed in her quote:

A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.

— Anna Jarvis.

While others profited from the day, Jarvis did not, and she spent the later years of her life with her sister Lillie whom she had taken care of for years. In 1943, she began organizing a petition to rescind Mother’s Day.  However, these efforts were halted when she was placed in the Marshall Square Sanitarium in West Chester, Pennsylvania, broke and with dementia.  People connected with the floral and greeting card industries paid the bills to keep her in the sanitarium. She ultimately died in 1948.  The committee she formed tried to stay together after her death, but finally disbanded.  Anna Jarvis never married nor did she have any children, which is a bit of irony as she was the reason for Mother’s Day and she never was a mother.

I do believe the problem with Mother’s Day is the same problem with most of the other holidays, there is this expectation of what everyone should do or expect, and when reality hits the depression sets in.  Let’s say you are a mom, but your kids are older and basically just call or such, you then wonder what you did to be such a bad mom that they didn’t feel compelled to do more for you.  You then have Christmas with the gift giving and the crap that goes with that.  Of course you have Valentine’s Day and the expectations that come from that, no big gift so the person must not really love me.  I read somewhere that the day after Valentine’s you will find the most traffic from women looking for a new guy on one of the many dating websites, including the married looking for married type.

With all this said, people need to stop having such big expectations for these commercialized holidays.  Most holidays were not started as a reason to give a bunch gifts or such, they were started to honor an event, a person, or a group of people.  Whether it be veterans, mothers, dads, and Jesus, the reason for the season needs to come first, not the expectations given to a person through the constant bombarding of commercials on TV, radio ads, or even surfing the web.  We all need to remember it isn’t the gift that is given, but the thought behind it…  Till next time….

 

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Upfront I’m going to say I am not a medical professional, doctor, counselor, etc. so any advice I give pertaining to depression is only from personal experience.  I am 54 and have been fighting depression for at least 35 years.  I also have loved ones, friends, etc. who deal with different types of depression, and I know what works for me and them, but if you know someone, or even yourself, that is talking about wanting to die, dig a hole and lie in it, find a bridge and jump, or other things that make you wonder, you need to get them/you help.  It isn’t like the old days when everyone knew Aunt Sally had mental issues, but no one talked about it, while she fell deeper and deeper into her depression.  There is still a lot of misinformation about depression, and someone who has never experienced it really has no idea of what you are going through.  They can be empathetic, but until someone goes through the debilitating condition of depression, no one can truly understand.  With that said, it is that time of the year when depression really seems to hit people.  I have gotten emails from people trying to figure out if a loved one is really depressed or how can they tell.  I have friends and acquaintances who are feeling down and are on the edge of just being blue and having depression.  I do believe it is something about this time of year.  Not only is it the holidays, but it is also a new year.

Part of the problem is everything you see or hear seems to talk about how the holidays are not complete unless you are with family and having the perfect holiday get together.  The kids come in from college and aunts and uncles come in and everyone meets at grandmother’s house and it is a big happy event.  Well, very few families can live up to that picture.  Some people have lost all their loved ones, either to death, distance, or being estranged either due to the other person or themselves, so when you see those commercials or hear your coworker talk about their big family events, it really could get a person down.  Even when you have all your family able to come together that doesn’t mean everything is going to be good.  For years we were happy when we were able to get through a family event with no fights, screaming, or other assorted issues.  Someone asked me how my Christmas was and I told them everyone got along, the food was good, and I got to see the grandkids, so it was a great day.  Sometimes that is all you can ask for.

The next problem is we are entering a new year.  This makes a lot of us think about all we didn’t accomplish in 2015.  How we are getting older and time is passing faster and faster, so if we don’t get our crap together we are going to find ourselves 10 years from now in the same situation, just 10 years older with less options.  That can really get a person to fall into a funk.  Then people do that whole stupid resolution thing.  You are just setting yourself up to fail on that one.  So, you are going to get in better shape, how are you going to do it?  Writing a vague list of things you want to change or do different in the next year is basically just writing a shopping list and then not going shopping.  Until you break those resolutions down into workable goals with time deadlines and a plan to make it happen, you are just asking for failure.  You have to be careful though when you set goals, as you don’t want to set goals so easy you can get them done 15 minutes from now, but then you sure don’t want a goal so difficult you couldn’t accomplish it in a year, let alone in a month or week.  One of my goals is to lose 50 pounds before the end of the year.  Good idea, but how am I going to accomplish that?  Am I going to keep doing the same thing I’m doing now up until December 20 and think I can starve for the next couple of weeks and make my goal?  Of course not.  I need to make a lifestyle change.  Do things differently daily, weekly, and monthly.  Have a plan written down of how much I’m going to work out each week, what will I eat daily, keep a food diary, etc., so I have the ability to fulfill my goal instead of at the end of 2016 wondering where the year went and still needing to lose at least 50 pounds.

But, I will get back on track here, when it comes to depression there are so many types that it really is hard to tell if your friend or loved one is depressed, unless they are so far in that they are not even functioning anymore. One of the emails I got this past week asked about hermit mode.  The person goes into hermit mode with some people but not others.  I gave them this quick overview on depression and thought it would be good information for others.  Just about everyone at some time in their life gets the “blues.”  That is when you just don’t feel like yourself.  Some people say they are in a funk.  They just aren’t happy.  They are focused on the negative and feel bad.  This can be brought on by anything from hormonal changes, the weather, etc.  There are some parts of the country where they have such long winters, short days, and gloomy days that people go into depression.  For this type of situation, they get special lights that mimic the sunlight.  They sit under it for so long per day and they get to feeling better.  Most people who are just blue don’t need medication.  They can still function, but are just not themselves.  They probably need to talk to their doctor, but most people should not be given drugs for the blues.

We then get into clinical depression, bipolar, etc., the conditions where the person is so deep into their depression they have lost all joy in their life.  They can’t get out of bed.  They quit taking care of themselves and normally when they get to this point they need medication.  With a bipolar they are either very high or very low and not much in between.  With your clinically depressed they will go into hermit mode not wanting to talk to anyone.  If they are not deep into their depression they may be able to function enough to go to work or do activities of daily living, talking only with those they have to, trying to make people think they are okay, but once they get home they shut the door and try to hide from the world.  But, this is just a short overview of different types of depression, as there are so many types of mental illness that if you or a loved one are acting different, withdrawn, strange, etc., then it may be time to find professional help.  Don’t forget there are a lot of online sites that have questionnaires that can help you figure out if you or a loved one do have a problem.  There are also hotlines to call if you feel like you can’t take it anymore, as nothing is so bad that it warrants taking your own life.  With that said, I promise my next blog post will be more uplifting and fun…  I may even talk about “the girls.”  Until next time….

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