This Psychology Today post is surely meant to be helpful, with its list of tips on how to handle Yuletide depression. But what I found most compelling was its description of why, for so many of us, ’tis the season to be really down:
For some people, they get depressed at Christmas and even angry because of the excessive commercialization of Christmas, with the focus on gifts and the emphasis on “perfect” social activities.
Other get depressed because Christmas appears to be a trigger to engage in excessive self-reflection and rumination about the inadequacies of life (and a “victim” mentality) in comparison with other people who seem to have more and do more.
Still others become anxious at Christmas because of the pressure (both commercial and self-induced) to spend a lot of money on gifts and incur increasing debt.
Other people report that they dread Christmas because of the expectations for social gatherings with family, friends and acquaintances that they’d rather not spend time with.
And finally, many people feel very lonely at Christmas, because they have suffered the loss of loved ones or their jobs.
So common is Christmas sadness that there is even a special church service for it in Watertown, our commenter, Kelly, notes below. She writes:
An ecumenical group of churches in Watertown have long recognized this problem formally by holding a service called “Blue Christmas”. This year’s service will be held on Wednesday, December 8th at 7:00 at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Watertown. The address is 9 Russell Avenue and is accessible by the 71 bus. This year’s sponsors are the Alewife Deanery and the Ecumenical Partners of Watertown. Here is the blurb about the service “This worship gathering is particularly for those who are lonely, depressed, or living with loss during the holiday season, for their friends, and for all of us who want to stand together in the fullness of
our feelings at a time when the culture presses us to be ‘jolly.’ All are welcome.”
Readers, please add your own reasons for December depression in the comments below. Maybe we can get up to twelve, and do a new rendition of the partridge in a pear tree song. Actually, bipolar blogger extraordinaire Therese Borchard did “The Twelve (Bipolar) Days of Christmas” last January and it’s gotten more than 41,000 views since then, suggesting that there are great multitudes of seasonal sufferers.