When Holidays Aren’t Merry and Bright


Tidings of comfort and joy. Be of good cheer. Have a holly jolly Christmas. May your days be merry and bright. It is the season of giving thanks. We hear these sentiments almost daily this time of the year. Too often we fail to realize that the holidays are a difficult time for many people. Life situations, like those listed below can influence how happy our holidays will be.

  • Loss or death of a loved one

  • Estrangement from family

  • Financial difficulties

  • Life stressors (even happy ones like moving, starting a new job, or getting married)

Too often in today’s cyber world, the words sadness and depression fill our phone screens, especially this time of year. Everyone has an opinion, a similar story, or a recommendation. "See a therapist." "Go talk to someone." "Get some meds for your depression." Unfortunately, share a problem or an ailment on Facebook and everyone becomes a doctor or a therapist.

The IHCRC Behavioral Health team does their best to help people understand when therapy or medication management is necessary. Having strong emotions is not necessarily a bad thing. Emotions are helpful in navigating the world because they provide feedback about activities to engage in more often and activities to engage in less often. Emotions can help people experience things like empathy. Some emotional reactions are reasonable responses to situational factors, such as those included in the list above.

Bottom line, there are situations where having strong emotions do not necessarily mean that therapy is needed. Not all emotional reactions require psychotherapy or medication management. Grief is a natural response to loss. Stress is a natural response to financial difficulties. Emotions sometimes simply mean that we are alive.

And sometimes, emotions become so strong that we need to seek the help of a professional. You might need to see a therapist if you have…..

  • Suicidal thoughts

  • Been depressed for a long time and no longer finding any joy in life

  • Uncontrollable crying

  • Panic attacks

  • Feelings that your life is meaningless

  • Trouble completing daily tasks

  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness

  • Addictive behaviors, drinking more or gambling

  • Lack of self-care (not bathing or getting dressed for example)

  • Been withdrawing from social interactions

  • Been hearing voices that frighten you

We are always here to help, to guide, and to listen. Instead of posting publicly on social media, why not contact someone privately who can truly help you determine if therapy is right for you

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