When the holidays are hard: Depression and when to seek help

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The holidays are supposed to be a joyful time of year, so what do you do if you are all out of Christmas cheer?

Everyone experiences feeling sad at some point in their life; however, it’s important to pay attention to how you’re feeling so that you can seek help if your sadness becomes something you’re consistently dealing with. If you continue to feel sad every day for at least two weeks, you may be suffering from depression.  Symptoms of depression may include:

  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies that you once enjoyed
  • Change in appetite or loss of appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Irritability, restlessness

The most important thing to know is that you are not alone and you do not have to be ashamed of how you feel.  Millions of people all over the world deal with depression every day.  Depression can be brought on by a traumatic event such as the loss of a loved one or loss of a job that shakes up your routine.  There is not always a specific cause of depression, but it may just build overtime.

The holidays may only exacerbate feelings of depression as the cheeriness seems to contradict your feelings of sadness.  Do not be afraid to ask for support from family and friends to help you enjoy holiday events.  If you notice that you’ve been persistently sad and/or are suffering from the above symptoms, make an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can help you understand what you are feeling and what next steps you can take to help you get back to feeling like your normal self. Your doctor may recommend finding a therapist who can help you work through your feelings.

Spokesperson Background:

Sarah Solomon is a licensed outpatient psychotherapist with Cone Behavioral Health at MedCenter Kernersville.  She has 5 years of experience treating children, adolescents, and adults with a variety of mental health concerns.  She graduated from the Joint Masters of Social Work program between the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in 2010.