How I Dealt With My Depression At Christmas

How I Dealt With My Depression At Christmas

Last year, I had to put my beloved dog Sophie down on Christmas Day 2018. 

Christmas has never been the same since my brother passed away tragically in 1990 at the age of 25. 

And for me, Christmas has been a hollow shell of itself since my mom passed in 2013. 

In fact, I've literally only decorated for Christmas ONCE since 2013.

Yes, it's safe to say that Christmas is a hard time of year for yours truly.  And this year it was even more difficult because a bout of depression hit me just as the Holiday Season was coming upon us.

So how did I, Thomas Detert, mental health advocate, regulated health professional, father, son, entrepreneur, and student of personal development... how did I handle Christmas 2019?

Allow me to elaborate...

Earlier this December, I was invited to spend Christmas with my son Mathieu, and his family in London, ON -- a 7 hour drive from where I live on St. Joseph Island.  I also had an invitation, while in London, to visit my good friend  James & his family.  

I graciously accepted these invitations.  Made travel plans. 

And then, that nasty unwanted foe DEPRESSION showed up.

Let me start with my visit to James.  I wasn't faring well against depression on Christmas Eve morning.  But I had made the plans and I owed it to everyone, ESPECIALLY MYSELF, to honour the commitment.

When I got there, it didn't take long for my friends to notice I was off.  But between their efforts to reach me, and my efforts to break through the thick mental fog that depression enshrouded my brain with.. we managed to have a very nice visit.

As for Christmas itself.. for me it was high time to change up the celebration.  I attended Midnight Mass.  I stayed up until 4am with my son, his fiancee and his mom, socializing and doing the gift exchange.

I'd be lying to you if I said it was easy.  I'd be lying to you if I said it was all smiles and sunshine. 

But compared to the alternative of caving into my feelings, caving into my instincts.. staying home alone, lonely and depressed.. compared to caving into that nasty and vindictive foe known as DEPRESSION.. 

I had an AWESOME Christmas!  

When it comes to the battle against depression... you owe it to yourself, to your loved ones, to you family and friends to give it all the effort you can muster to stand up to this evil demon.  Don't let depression win.

I am so glad I stood up to depression this Christmas.

Because I did, I was rewarded with joy, love and witnessed some very special tender family moments.

Thank you Mathieu.  Thank you Stephenie.  Thank you Corrina.  Thank you James & Danielle.  Thank you for helping me in this difficult Holiday Season!

If you are severely depressed and/or having suicidal thoughts, get to your nearest hospital or emergency department and tell them you are in crisis.  

Do NOT let yourself become a STATISTIC.  There are people counting on you!

Thomas Detert is a mental health blogger and advocate.  He is the founder of Defying Depression: an online self-help movement that encourages those suffering with anxiety and depression to learn how they can help themselves. 

You can email the author at [email protected].

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