December is a time when the whole world is celebrating with family and friends. Whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or another holiday, the world is joyful and cheery. However, it might not always be the case for some people. It can worsen stress and anxiety. So while you might feel down during the holidays, I’m going to give you some tips on how you can manage your emotions during the winter season.
When it comes to the holidays, there are a lot of expectations that everything has to be “perfect” and these expectations can lead to stress. The idea that everything you do has to be flawless such as cooking and gift-wrapping can be overwhelming. To also add travel, financial issues and visiting family/friends is a whole other hassle.
A second reason why you could feel down during the festive time of year is because of seasonal depression. This type of depression falls upon people during the winter months which is due to daylight savings. This leads to the days becoming shorter and the weather becoming colder.
Holidays can also be a depressing time for people who have lost friends and/or family. The memory of these loved ones can upset you even more.
I’ve experienced holiday depression and there were times throughout the years where I couldn’t even celebrate Christmas due to a passing of a loved one or my mental state. There was even one Christmas where I cried at 2 am on Christmas Eve. And when I decided to go to therapy, that is when I learned to manage my depression and anxiety and cope with the pressures of the holidays.
So whether it’s one reason or another, here are five ways you can manage your mental health.
Throughout this season if you need help then please get in contact with your local helplines:
A pill that could bring you happiness. Is there such a thing? The answer may surprise you as it did me. In this article, I will be discussing the effects on antidepressants and will be revealing the truth behind the medication itself.
The main purpose of antidepressants is to fill your brain with serotonin (aka the "happy chemical") which was otherwise lacked. The pill balances the chemicals in your brain called neurotransmitters that affect mood and emotions. There are many types of antidepressants, Though SSRIs are the most popular choices given by professionals to their patients. I didn't even know there were many varieties of antidepressants until I had to start taking them myself.
I still remember the first time I started taking antidepressants. It was Friday, the 21st of December 2018. I had to leave school early but that was okay since it was going to close due to Christmas break. My psychiatrist gave me a prescription and I was on my way. Immediately upon taking the medication, I began to feel ill. Every day that I swallowed the pill was every day I felt nauseous, lost weight and experienced headaches. After a month, I told my psychiatrist the side-effects and he gave me a new prescription for another antidepressant. The new medication was worse than the first. This time, I gained a lot of weight and had to take multiple trips to the bathroom.
As they say, third time's the charm and finally I was given a medication that was effective and had no side-effects. Now I could concentrate on the benefits of the meds. However, the benefits did not last that long. Although I was feeling bright and cheery, my mind felt numb. It was like no other emotion other than happiness could enter me, which in some circumstances was not the proper mood to display. There were times where I wanted to get angry and there were times where I wanted to cry, but I could not. For Pete's sake, I had to fake cry at my own graduation. (Sorry to anyone who I went to secondary school with.) Do not get me wrong I wanted to cry because I was upset that I was leaving a lot of great people behind, but my mind would not let me.
As of right now, I have been off my medication for a year now. However, due to recent situations, I was recommended considering taking them up again. I have yet to come to a decision. Although, do not let my experience question if you are debating whether you should take up antidepressants. Everyone's bodies are different so you might not even experience the side-effects like I have. Some people experience no side effects at all, these medications are not a one-size-fits-all. Nevertheless, medication should be the last resort depending on how severe your depression is. There is an alternative way you can be treated such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). With CBT, you can manage your problems with changing the way you think, and helping your thoughts to be more positive. It also helps with balancing your life whilst dealing with depression.
In the beginning I asked if there was such a pill that would bring happiness. The answer: it depends on who is receiving it. According to the HSE, at least 50-65% of those who take antidepressants have helped through them. I do not know if I fall between that percentage due to having mixed feelings of my own but in the end, this is my opinion which you do not need to follow. Prior to what I said, medication should be the last option when dealing with depression. Try CBT or other talking therapies and see how that goes before making any other decision.
If you want to learn more about antidepressants, then I recommend visiting. https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/drugs-and-treatments/antidepressants/about-antidepressants/
Anger, fury and rage. Different words, same meaning. Anger is one of our many emotions when expressed, can invoke either hope or war. Anger is what we need in order to survive. It's tied to the "flight or fright" response. It is what helps us fight. However, anger can bring the ugly side of us when it gets out of control. Which is fine every once in a while. Everyone loses their temper. That's normal. Although if it continues to happen for an extended period of time then it can become a problem. Which I will outline and talk about within this article.
With the topic of anger issues the idea of losing control usually makes people think of the Marvel character Bruce Banner aka The Incredible Hulk or DC's character Caitlin Snow aka Killer Frost. And of course, just like Bruce Banner or Caitlin Snow, when we bottle up our anger for an unhealthy amount of time, when triggered by emotional stress we can explode similar to a ticking time-bomb. This can also likely lead to making illogical decisions and a lapse in judgement.
The symptoms of prolonged anger include; irritation, chest tightening and increase in heart and blood pressure. The consequences of an outrage can lead to damage in relationships, health (physical and mental) or substance/drug abuse.
When people usually look at me, they would never think I could get angry about anything. The idea of me being angry would be similar to an angry puppy. (Or at least that's what I've been told.) Nonetheless, I can get angry. Furious even. To the point where I used to scream into my pillow until my voice was hoarse, threw things across the room and even destroyed my entire room. (It was not a pretty sight.) And the only people to bear witness to my anger are my parents and my younger sister. Due to the fact that, just like the majority of people, I kept my anger bottled up until something triggered it, which caused me to go on a rampage. My parents and sister usually had to bear the brunt of it.
Through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), not only isn't it necessary to talk about my anger to a professional but I was even taught how to release my anger without having a screaming match with my family. I was taught breathing exercises that would exhale my anger out and I would channel my anger by listening to music. As well as having a "rant buddy" (who is a close friend of mine) where the both of us can rant and rave about our problems.
If you or someone you know are dealing with anger management then I recommend you to please seek help. Whether it’s through CBT, breathing exercises or having a “rant buddy” these methods can really help you in the long run. Although you may or may not know me, keeping your anger bottled up is never a good idea.
Anger, like all emotions, can get out of control. We can easily be overcome but the sudden emotion which can lead us to do the most atrocious actions. Resulting afterwards to feel immense guilt. Although as long as we can acknowledge our temper, we can control it. And with the newfound peace it can lead to better relationships and healthier lifestyle.
To understand more about Anger Management, you can check out: