It is a good time of year to review how depression affects people.

If you were looking at a textbook case of depression, you would see an individual suffering from at least five of these symptoms (DSMV):

  1. Depressed mood nearly every day for most of the day

  2. Less interest in pleasuremerry on demand

  3. Weight loss or gain

  4. Evidence of insomnia or excessive sleeping

  5. Physical movements appearing slower than usual or evidence of more agitation than usual

  6. Fatigue, loss of energy

  7. Feelings of worthlessness, perhaps excessive guilt

  8. Loss of the ability to concentrate, indecisiveness

  9. Recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts (usually without much of a plan to carry it out)

Everyone has low moods from time to time, but true depression affects the quality of your life and the ability to live it in a way that allows a sense of accomplishment or forward movement.  It is extremely difficult to get oneself to want to do anything, and even more difficult to feel any sense of joy in the process.

Depression can take a lot of forms. It can be endogenous (a heritable tendency towards depression one is born with), the result of attachment problems or abuse, situational or stress induced, or it can be post-traumatic depression—the after effects of accidents, injury, natural disasters, sexual trauma or combat related trauma. The main point to remember is that those who suffer with this may feel it even more intensely during the jolly season when everyone else seems to be making merry.


By being attuned to these souls and simply asking of there is any way you can help, most especially if that is simply to be with them without expectations that they perform or behave in some ‘acceptable’ manner. Remember that people feel even more keenly the loss of loved ones during holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. People do not choose to be depressed. That would be akin to saying people choose to have cancer–it just doesn’t work that way.

By all means celebrate the season as you choose. Just save a little grace for those who are unable to turn up the volume of their joy on demand.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *