The holidays are supposed to be a time of merry cheer and happy tidings and for many that is the case. However, for others it is a time of loneliness and even depression. It is easy to miss the signs in friends and family members as we are celebrating the holidays, but it is important to keep in mind. Holidays can be a time of new lows.

For some the loneliness and depression are a matter of missing loved ones who have departed. It is the memories of the happy holiday seasons of the past, now soured by their absence in our lives.

For others it is a matter of being unhappy that one is not happy at the holidays. “Why do I feel this way when everyone around me is so happy,” some think.

For those who suffer from depression all the time, the holidays represent a unique challenge. The lows may be lower, and even the highs are lower.

I can speak from experience about this. Last year when I had my back problems before my latest surgery, I was depressed. I was locked in a cycle of chronic pain followed by more chronic pain.

The pain and the depression clouded my world view. It was hard to be happy when there was no relief from the pain. Everything I looked at came through pain colored goggles.

More recently, I had a bad side-effect from a pain medication I was taking. As I reviewed the side-effects after a recent refill, I was astonished to find myself acknowledging too many symptoms, including anxiety and depression.

I am not that person. I know it. And it was that realization and the information about the side effects that made me take action.

One of the biggest things I did was talk to people. I talked to family and friends and let them know of my struggles. Go to your support system and make it work for you. That is what I did.

The other thing I did was talk to my doctors and came up with a better solution for my pain.

I am still not out of the woods in terms of back problems, or derivative problems from them. However, I am in a much better place than I have been.

My glass is not half full, my cup runneth over.  If it can happen to bright cheery me, it can happen to anyone. Keep it in mind at the holidays.

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