When Brown Eyes Get Blue: Dealing with Holiday Depression

OK, so I don\'t have brown eyes. They\'re blue.

But their not always brilliant blue. In fact, sometimes they are a little bloodshot from crying. A "blue mood" makes my eyes lose their sparkle, as my mom used to say. And she was right - whenever something upset me, it cast a shadow on an otherwise pretty good disposition.

The same can\'t be said for someone dealing with something over the holidays that creates their own "blue mood". Maybe it\'s spending the first Christmas without a parent who recently passed, or maybe a relationship has soured. It could even be a lost job that brings on a cloud of despair - and it doesn\'t seem to want to go away, no matter how hard you try.

Emotional wellbeing during the holidays isn\'t always easy, and reaching out for help can be even tougher. But there are people willing to listen if you give them the chance. Here\'s what to look for in yourself or others you care about:

  • headaches
  • excessive drinking
  • trouble sleeping
  • over-eating
  • not wanting to socialize over several days

These are all signs that may indicate something is wrong and worth checking out. The bottom line: you know yourself and your friends pretty well. If something doesn\'t feel right or seems off kilter, check in and talk.

Once you know help is probably needed, there are lots of options:

  • Reach Out. A new place to turn is the Crisis Text Line now operating across Ohio. With a simple text message (4hope to 741741), you can connect with someone who will spend some time listening and helping you through that rough spot. It\'s also free and won\'t show up on your cell bill. And there\'s also the Crisis Hotline (877-695-6333), where you\'ll find someone any time of day or night who can listen and offer some help.
  • Acknowledge how you feel. It\'s normal to feel sadness over the loss of a loved one or a job, for example. It\'s OK to be unhappy sometimes, even over the holidays.
  • Be realistic. Families grow and change, and so life will take some different turns, too. That\'s OK. Traditions can change or evolve a little over time.

It\'s OK to ask for help, and it doesn\'t even mean you have a mental illness. We all go through tough times in our lives, and some of us need a little extra help. It\'s fine. Just know when it gets to be too much, help is at your fingertips.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa. And here\'s to a prosperous and joyful 2017!