Many view the Christmas season as a wonderful and joyous time of year filled with decorations, lights, parties, food, and gifts. However, not everyone feels this way about the holidays. While it is a complete myth that suicides increase during the holidays, anxiety and depression do, in fact, increase. I knew my article for today would focus on dealing with holiday depression. However, my research took me in a quite unique direction. I always follow my heart when I look for blog topics and I’m often quite surprised where it takes me.
As I did research for today’s article, I came across an interesting video I’d like to share with you. The video takes an in depth look at the Charles Schultz Christmas special “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and how it relates to holiday depression and the meaning of Christmas.
I just heard a great message in the men’s locker room.
No, no, I wasn’t actually in there. I watched a new webisode series on my computer, called “Locker Room Talk.” It’s hosted by National Basketball Association star Kevin Love. Sponsored by Schick Hydro, the purpose of the videos is to raise awareness and funds for men’s mental health.
The five-minute videos are geared toward men, but of course, women can watch too! I loved each interview. Kevin and his guests are open and honest about dealing with their mental health issues.
Earlier this year, Kevin Love wrote an essay, opening up about his struggles with anxiety, panic attacks, and depression. There was an outpouring of support on social media, and countless others were inspired to also speak out.
Kevin said, “People don’t talk about mental health enough. And men and boys are probably the farthest behind.”
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) says each year, more than 41,000 people die by suicide.
Last week I went to a local high school to talk with students about mental health. I’m a presenter for NAMI’s in-school program, “Ending the Silence.”
My co-presenter and I spoke to two classes, one in the morning, one in the afternoon. When our first presentation ended, we noticed the teens looked almost stunned. During the question and answer period, no one wanted to say a word. It took some gentle nudging for them to ask us anything.
Then we thought about it… These were incoming freshmen, brand new to high school. Classes started two weeks before. They probably weren’t comfortable yet with their teacher, let alone their classmates.
And they’d just sat through an hour of us talking about a subject that isn’t usually spoken about…
As a Forty Plusser you just know that not everything in life goes according to plan. Yes sometimes we are forced out of our comfort zone. Actually a lot! Sometimes you need to change direction for the sake of you own survival and sanity!!
Okay, I have depression(bipolar). So there are days that I really don’t see any future at all! Like just wanting to quit… But then again, I have lots of normal days. It is days like these that I totally embrace. Sometimes life can be a real struggle. But the fact that I am a mother and a wife forces me to find a way to “make it work in life”. This is a conscious decision I make on a daily basis, because to be quite honest…the visit to the psychiatrist only helps that much!! I have to find a constant way deep inside my soul…
You should never, ever compare yourself to others…
One of the lowest points of my life was around 2005 while I was working in the golf business. I had a decent job at a good club and I was completely miserable. I was surrounded by members who had more than me. They had better jobs, better homes, better cars and more money. And I spent the vast majority of my time looking at them with envy. I wanted everything they had, but more importantly I didn’t want what I had.
I spent many years comparing myself to others and feeling completely inadequate. Those years of comparing my behind the scenes to their highlight reel nearly ruined me. I drank heavily and lamented my lack of achievement. It was not a fun time.
What I would eventually realize was that if I continued to compare myself to anyone other than myself then I would always be miserable. So I changed my thinking.
I began to compare me to me.
I decided that I would focus solely on becoming everything I wanted to be not on becoming what other were or what others had. I realized that if I wanted something I would have to go get it. I would have to change. I would have to leave golf and go challenge myself. And that is what I did.
But of all the life changes the single most important was the changing of my mind; I changed the way I thought.
Change begins in an instant and that instant is the exact moment when you decide in your own mind that once and for all you are going to take action.
That was my experience when I decided I was no longer going to compare myself to others.
Tuesday morning I went to a local high school to present NAMI’s in-school mental health awareness program, “Ending the Silence.” You can read about that presentation here. When I got home that afternoon, my husband asked if I’d heard the big news about NBA All-Star Kevin Love having panic attacks.
I hadn’t, so I googled his name and was amazed at what I found. Kevin, who plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers, wrote a captivating, raw, and honest personal essay for The Players’ Tribune. It’s titled “Everyone Is Going Through Something.” He talked about something he admittedly doesn’t find easy to talk about — his feelings. And the panic symptoms that terrified him.
Kevin said he had a panic attack during a game on Nov. 5, 2017. His heart raced, he couldn’t catch his breath, and everything was spinning. He went to the locker room…
Last week I wrote about my son’s dissociation episodes and panic attacks. He got some anti-anxiety medication there, but they put him to sleep so they haven’t been useful to him, and the panic has not gone away. He’s been able to manage it a little better, using some mindfulness tricks, but has not been able to see a doctor yet (he will tomorrow). His two trips to the emergency room just told him what he already knew and gave him a few pills for the panic.
Since last Monday, he says he has had 14 panic attacks. Today he tweeted this:
the last 2 weeks ive been in a very dark place. im constantly afraid, never happy. ive lost all hope and happiness. i feel broken. I’m only able to focus on my faults. making choices triggers panic attacks. im so fucking scared of life itself. help me.
I have something I will be talking about in 2018 that is incredibly personal; probably more personal than any topic I’ve ever discussed on my page. It relates to something that has revealed itself in my therapy and I’m not even sure how I’m going to tackle it. I know it is a big deal for me based solely on the fact that I have found myself reluctant to even discuss it at all and, based on the fact that I talk more openly on Dream Big than anywhere else in my life, I have major reservations.
I have cried more this past week than I have over any one thing. It has rocked me to my core and has created a lot of uncertainty in my spirit and mind; honestly I feel myself going into a bit of depression. The only reason I don’t start writing about it now is I don’t think I am through the “processing” aspect of the realization. In time I’ll begin writing about it and I can see Dream Big taking a slight turn in focus for quite some time.
For now I’m going to leave it alone, I simply wanted to let everyone know what is going on and what is in store for the future. I hope all of you have a great New Year and a productive beginning to 2018!!