Festive Fun or Frustration?
By Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network Staff
Holiday stresses are inevitable. They might be expected – the always-hard-to-buy-for Aunt Gertrude on your gift list – or unexpected – a snarled string of lights when you flip the top off the decorations box. Regardless of what or how you celebrate, the stresses are always there, just as sure as the holiday season.
Sometimes the pressures can sink a person into the holiday blues, a normal occurrence if it’s occasional and fleeting. But when depression, stress and anxiety continually eat away at your festive plans, it can signal depressive disorder, a common yet serious mental illness with life-disrupting symptoms that last two weeks or more.
Keep the sparkle in your season this year. Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network (ADMHN) offers free depression screenings on its website, with counselors ready to offer holiday-blues-banishing advice. Their chief tip? Don’t strive for perfection.
“Have realistic expectations during the holidays,” says Laurie Elliott, LCSW. “Things will probably never be perfect, and they don’t need to be. Remember the true meaning of the holiday spirit. Instead of striving to do it all, slow down and keep it simple. More than anything else, your family and friends just want to spend some memorable time with you.”
Take the anonymous self-assessment at http://www.admhn.org/ by selecting “Free Mental Health Online Screening.” The series of questions can help determine if you are suffering from depression and could benefit from talking to a health professional.
Many people with depression never seek help but thanks to dedicated research, proven treatment methods are available. As with most diseases, the earlier the treatment begins, the more effective it is and the better the chance for recovery.
Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network, founded in 1955, is a private, non-profit organization that provides comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment services to individuals of all ages. ADMHN has multiple locations throughout the south metro area.