Ah, the holidays. A season of laughter and smiles, joy to the world and good will towards man. The spirit of giving is in the air, love is abundant, and selfishness is non-existent. Yet, unfortunately while most people experience joy and cheer during the holidays, there are others who experience the holiday “blues”. The reality for most is that at the same time when the majority are busy planning their holiday parties and social gatherings, there are those, who instead, are feeling miserable, hopeless, lonely, anxious and depressed.
Curious to know exactly what it is about the holidays that always seems to bring about depression, I searched the internet for answers. During my search, I came across an article titled ‘How to Overcome the Holiday “blues”.’ The article was written by Dr. Larry Alan Nadig, Ph.D., who is a Clinical Psychologist and Family & Marriage Therapist out of Glendale, CA. The doctor’s article listed a number of different reasons why people suffer the holiday blues. The reasons ranged from unresolved issues of past loses, unresolved grief, unmet needs, and a sense of increased isolation and loneliness to the stress of the extra demands on our time, energy, attention and finances, just to name a few.
Intrigued, I contacted Dr. Nadig for further answers on coping with depression during the holidays. Dr. Nadig kindly expressed to me that a person should first realize that the bad feelings are not the problem, but a symptom of a problem, and that instead of focusing on and/or avoiding the bad feelings, focus should be on the issue. He went on to say that we can get over something intellectually, but not emotionally. In other words, our mind can tell us that we are over the problem, but deep down inside, we may have yet to heal. Dr. Nadig stresses that when a person is emotionally overwhelmed and feels as though they can not get a handle on things to seek help in talking with someone.
Having lost my nephew, my grandmother, and two sisters, I wanted to ask the doctor about how to deal with a loss. He advised that whatever type of loss you are experiencing, be it the loss of a loved one, loss of meaning and purpose, health, body part, important material things and so on, you should finish grieving. Accept the loss and the feelings that go along with the loss, and the intensity of the bad feelings will lessen. More importantly, Dr. Nadig expressed that he did not have the answer for every scenario of depression. However, he stated that if a person has unresolved issues in their life, he has three principles that if applied properly, will help to enable you to overcome those holiday blues. The three principles are the first verse of the Serenity Prayer which reads, “God grant me the serenity to (1) accept the things I can not change, (2) the courage to change the things I can , and (3) the wisdom to know the difference.”
In closing, I believe that the holidays really are a very special period of time when we all come together as one nation under God; Holidays are a part of the best times of our lives, and sorrowfully for some, they are also a part of the worst times. Yet, they do not have to remain to be the worst times. If we embrace and find a way of resolving the true issues of our problems, the holidays can become survivable; Through Jesus Christ, all things are possible. I thank Dr. Nadig for his wisdom…it helped to ease my pain this holiday season. I pray that it serves to help others as well. To contact Dr. Nadig, email
DrLarry@drnadig.com. God bless, and Happy Holidays!!!