As the holiday season approaches the pressure seems to take a sharp rise. Exactly what the pressure is I am not sure. Perhaps the pressure is caused by the expectations I place on myself. For the last few years the holidays have brought a feeling of emptiness. Yes, I am with my wife and children and am thankful. Many years ago there was a bit of magic associated with this time of year. I often blame the blues I experience on the extreme commercialization that takes place months before the holidays. When I was a child there was not a sign of Christmas until after Thanksgiving. Now it seems to be unusual for Christmas displays not to appear before Halloween is over.
I have experienced depression for many years if not all of my adult life. Recently I participated in a depression and anxiety group. I learned that as bad as I thought my depression was it was pretty much minor league. There are some who have crawled into a hole and have begun to pull the dirt in on themselves. At least these individuals recognized their depression and sought help. I learned that depression is a downward spiral fueled by one’s own thoughts. In the group we were given tools to recognize depression and what triggers it. We practiced techniques to fight and help prevent depression.
There is a well-known prayer that asks for the strength to change what we are able to and accept what we cannot change. Acceptance is not always pleasant or easy. I can change my perception of the world and the people around me. Life is not waiting for the storm to clear. Life is learning to dance in the rain.
I am aware that I will never be completely free of depression. I do know that I will be okay. I also know I am loved and for me, that is enough.