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Twelve Days of Seasonal Depression

The Twelve Days of Seasonal Depression – and How to Survive Them

Happy New Year, fellow freaks!

Congratulations on surviving the holidays. This time of year is rough on lots of folks. It’s so bad that psychologists actually had to come up with the term Seasonal Affective Disorder to give a label to the depression many people feel during this time of year. Statistically speaking, more people commit suicide during the holidays than any other time of year.

Bi-polar-2In case you can’t think of a good reason to be bummed, here’s a list. In fact, since we’re all so freakin’ festive, let’s sing it!

The Twelve Days of Holiday Depression (opus 42)

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

  • Twelve pounds of gained weight
  • Eleven in-laws bitching
  • Ten hours of sunlight (if I’m lucky)
  • Nine days snowed-in
  • Eight (eight, I forget what eight was for)
  • Seven months of payments on my…
  • Six maxed-out credit cards, and (deep breath)
  • FIVE EXISTENTIAL CRISES wherein I wonder if I’m celebrating for no reason other than to pad some corporation’s bottom line because there just might not be a God after all and this one life might be all I get and I’m wasting it just like my mother always said I would after I dropped out of law school to become an artist and now I have to look her in the eye and tell her “sorry, I couldn’t afford to get you anything this year, but I hand-painted you a card and no, it’s not supposed to be a fish, it’s supposed to be a Christmas tree so I guess you were right all along, so I think I’ll have cup after cup of eggnog until the gift you find under the tree tomorrow will be me, face down in a pool of my own vomit, but what the hell, it’s not like it matters anyway because Santa was a lie you told to get me to behave which makes me wonder if God might be one toooooo! (Pant… pant… pant…)
  • Four calling birds (birds piss me off, OK?)
  • Three French hens (enough with the damn birds, already!)
  • Two turtle doves (See? My TRUE LOVE gave me BIRDS! It’s like she doesn’t even KNOW me!)
  • And a partridge in a pear tree (sigh)

To make matters worse, you could be singing about all these things your true love got you and be single… on Christmas… again. So, now that we’ve had our little sing-along, here’s a bullet list for people who don’t have time for such silliness.

88% Nonsense-Free Checklist of Causes of Seasonal Depression (v2.0)Bipolar?

  • Weight gain leads to lowered self-esteem
  • Debt due to holiday overspending
  • Cabin Fever due to cold weather conditions
  • Stress (due to shopping, family, travel, debt, etc.)
  • Little exposure to sunlight
  • Religious doubt
  • Loneliness
  • Alienation, feeling like an outsider
  • Birds

If even “normal” people tend to get the blues in the winter, just think of how it can affect someone with bipolar disorder! With all of these forces conspiring to make angst the reason for the season, what can you do to avoid the deluge of yuletide despair?

  1. Set a spending limit. Does Uncle Frank in Hoboken, New Jersey really need that 88” plasma TV? Didn’t he get you a bird last year? Send him a more reasonably-priced gift. Don’t have an anxiety attack over whether or not you spent the same amount on someone as they spent on you. That’s not the point! If he or she is the kind of jerk who is going to judge you based on how much you spent on their gift, well… that’s one less person to buy for next year, now isn’t it?
  2. Take time off from shopping to talk with friends and family. Instead of buying someone a gift that will most likely “accidentally” get thrown out with the wrapping paper, take them out to dinner or a movie, something you BOTH can enjoy. Chances are, they need a break from shopping, family, etc. too.
  3. Slow down! Admit that you are human and cannot possibly attend each of the seventeen Christmas events in four different countries you’ve been invited to. Go ONE place Christmas Eve, and ONE place Christmas Day.
  4. Buy full-spectrum light bulbs. Fluorescent bulbs may be more energy-efficient, but they can completely suck your will to live. Full-spectrum bulbs are special bulbs used in light therapy treatments. They produce light that is nearly identical to sunlight. Natural light will work WONDERS for your mood. Seriously. I can’t stress this enough. FULL-SPECTRUM LIGHT BULBS. I keep one in my bedside lamp year-round.
  5. If you live someplace with terrible winters, get out of the house BEFORE the storm hits and again as soon as the roads are clear. Facebook will be there when you get back. I promise.
  6. If you ARE snowed in with your family, play in the snow. It’s exercise, which is good for your mood anyway. Consider having a snowball fight. It’ll relieve some of that pent-up frustration. If you live alone, launch a surprise snowball attack on an unsuspecting neighbor. The ensuing chase will provide a few extra moments of fun, and hey, technically, the police count as having company. Make sure to have plenty of cocoa on hand.
  7. Buy a cat. Petting a cat can lower your stress level. Your partridge, on the other hand, will not be pleased.

These are only a few ideas I’ve got on how to beat the wintertime blues. Can you think of any? If so, let us know in the comments section below. If they’re serious suggestions, great! We can use the help. If they’re silly, great! We can ALWAYS use a laugh. When it comes to depression, laughter might just be the best medicine.

Until next time, keep warm, and keep fighting!

-Bruce Anderson

Read more from Bruce: How I Became the Freak in the Corner

Powerful Tips To Help Manage Everyday Stress

Powerful Tips To Help Manage Everyday Stress

Often times stress will manifest when we carry over yesterday`s concerns into our present day concerns. An accumulation will almost always end up in a high stress level. Therefore, we must be able to “dump” all of our problems from the previous day or days and concentrate wholly on our today.

So here are three stress busting tips for you:

– Stress Busting Tip #1

Resolve right now to release every thought from yesterday and be only mindful of the now…. This thought only…This Tunnel brainbreath…This moment. Take in three very deep breaths and slowly release each one.

At the same time feel each and every concern, each and every problem, and each and every unresolved moment, begin to dissolve. You can deal with them at a later time. For now, you are only to be in this very moment.

Now go to your inner quiet place. Go deep inside to a place where you feel that you are at peace and then just relax and breathe in deeply and enjoy the feeling of being at one and at peace within yourself.

Use this special time and place to be calm. Free your mind and body of all worry, all regret, all disappointment, all anger and grief.

– Stress Busting Tip #2

Next, think of one particular act, such as rocking your baby, taking a quick stroll, raking the leaves, and do that one simple thing. All the while, your mind is quiet and calm, and you are within in your particular place.

Practice this act of quiet and calm each day and you will see that you will accomplish so much more. At the first sign of being stressed, go back to this mindful, quiet place and start all over again until you have reached your inner place of calm.

– Stress Busting Tip #3

Mental HealthThe very best thing that you can do for yourself is to eat, drink and rest – to your health!

Stress is easily brought on by not eating and drinking properly. When you don’t get the number of hours of sleep that you need each night, you are only setting yourself up for additional stress.

Limit the amount of salt, sugar, caffeine and alcohol in your diet. Drink plenty of clean, pure water each day and do at least moderate exercise each day. This will breathe new life into your skin, hair and will nourish all of your vital organs.

Take time to breathe properly! Take deep belly breathes to send pure oxygen to all of your body. Laugh and then laugh some more. It is food for the soul! Spend time doing the things that please you most. Engage in healthy and fulfilling relationships and work on problems that would erode the closeness that you have with someone special.

When we are content and living a balanced life everyday stresses seem to pale in comparison. We are better equipped to deal with the unexpected.

You can take control today! Isolate only one particular stressor in your life and then work on it until you regain control. At the very least, have some new hope!

We have special interests in bipolar disorder, causes – questions and answers about being bipolar, being stressed, depression, anxiety disorder, borderline personality disorder and mental health in general.