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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My husband is an abuse survivor, and my best friend has family issues that crop up during the holidays. My mother also suffers from clinical depression that the holidays tend to exacerbate. Does anyone else have to provide more support than usual as Christmas nears? I love the season, and my friends and family -- I'm already getting excited about Christmas! At the same time, though, I'm anticipating my emotional reserves getting a little low. How do you keep yourself perky while still being a sounding board and support system for loved ones at this time?
 

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Try cheering them up with u? Maybe thats just what they need...<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/rockon.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":rockon:">
 

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The one thing I do is to make sure that if they feel a lot is expected of them- presents, cooking, everything perfect, I make it clear not to worry about it. If something they ordered doesn't get there by exactly 12/25, it won't hurt anyone. I remind them I appreciate a gift or a pie or whatever at all, it doesn't matter if there is only one kind of pie or whip cream from the store instead of home made or whatever. Sometimes people feel they are not "allowed" to be sad this time of year. I think it's important that people feel it's okay to be down sometimes. They aren't required to be happy 24/7.<br><br><br><br>
Of course there is offering to help,too.<br><br><br><br>
But people get depressed this time of year for other reasons as well. One factor might be less exercise and light. Or being reminded of an anniversary that is sad or bittersweet.
 

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Yah, I feel yah. Every year I have to wonder about my mom, who after 7 years, buys presents and marks them "from Dad." Sometimes she says that she's talked to him too. It's a tough time, but usually everyone gets through okay.
 

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seasonal affective disorder is not really that rare. it is funny that since the holidays coincide with the time of least sunlight people blame the holidays for their darker moods.<br><br>
i have never used "mood affecting" lights, but there is enough research that they help some people.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Holiday "trigger dates" are not that rare either, particularly among abuse victims. Not all occur during winter months, either.
 

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I've been struggling with severe depression for the past couple of years now. My mother and sister struggle too and I am very close to them. I am kind of seen as the "wise owl" of the family and am often called for advice and venting. Because you also seem to be very close to your family and care about their feelings, Medesha, I would offer you some of the advice that I use for myself in dealing with loved ones. First off, I think it is important to just be an ear to those in pain. Just taking time to sit alone with them, be present, listen, and reflect is the kindest thing you could ever do for them. You'd be amazed how appreciative they might be, and how much you might learn about their situation. In doing this, though, it is important to to take two things into consideration. 1. Listening doesn't always involve giving advice. Although some advice can be good at times, at other times it can make the person your giving it to feel like they are being pushed to fix things and not heard. More importantly, it can make you feel pressured and obligated. It is all about empowerment, and simply listening can be really empowering to someone who is hurting. 2. Although it is very difficult, try your best to not let the feelings of your family make you feel sad or frustrated or obligated. As Thalia said, sometimes people just get sad, and that is o.k.. Just enjoy yourself, invite them in your activities, listen to them, and don't let the sadness get to you. Even though they may seem very sad, they may see spending time with you as something very important and helpful to them. Hope this helps.
 

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I am seasonally affected by depression (by January, I'm pretty much constantly inconsolable) and the blur of activities of the holidays can be extremely stressful. It can be difficult, when one is depressed, to cope with crowded family gatherings and constant parties, get-togethers, dinners, shopping, and so forth, especially if they serve as reminders for past depression, disappointment, or abuse.<br><br><br><br>
With that in mind, maybe it would be helpful to give your family members some space, suggest that they sit out on a gathering or event if they don't feel up to it emotionally (and maybe sit out with them), offer to go shopping for them/with them if they find seasonal crowds too overwhelming, or look after another responsibility for them so they can have some time away from the constant busy-ness.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the great tips! I feel more confident already. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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Holidays are wells to the past, and memories are not always warm. Remind those in pain that the present and future are equally important. Happiness is eager to embrace us wherever we may be.
 
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