January 2002

Holiday blues
It is January and the holidays are over. For many, the holidays generate mixed feelings of joy and pain. The hustle and bustle of the season can cause considerable stress and anxiety. Family get-togethers evoke powerful memories - both happy and sad - of earlier times.

When the holidays are over, some people become depressed. It is common to feel a little 'let down' after all the anticipation and excitement are over, but some people become quite sad. This can be especially true for people who have lost a loved one around the holidays.

Kurt's father died of brain tumors, and Christmas marked the last time he was able to leave his bed. His children visited for the holiday, but celebrations were muted.

The grandchildren ranged in age from 1 to 12 years old. They asked many painful questions, and everyone was forced to admit that Grandpa would soon be dead.

Several years have passed since Kurt's father died. Each year at Christmas, Kurt and other family members drink a toast to their father and recall the good times they had when he was alive. However, Kurt still misses his father and Christmas is a painful reminder of their last days together.

If you are feeling down after the holidays, you may need some help. Symptoms of depression include persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, recurring thoughts of death or suicide, lack of concentration, withdrawal from friends and activities you usually enjoy, missed time from work or school, a feeling of worthlessness, low energy, and drug or alcohol abuse.

Check with your primary care provider and request a referral to a mental health specialist. It can be helpful to talk through your feelings. Asking for help does not mean you are crazy; you just need a little support. Make the call - help is available.

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Check back next month for more Personal Stories.

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Past Stories 2003
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