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Advisory:?Holidays approaching

October 29, 2012
By CATHY BROWNFIELD - Family Recovery Center , Salem News

LISBON - Nobody wants to hear it, but we'll make these announcements anyway. Forewarned is forearmed.

Halloween is Wednesday.

Thanksgiving is four weeks from this Thursday.

Christmas is in less than nine weeks.

2013 tax season begins in 10 weeks.

Are you ready for the holidays? We'll overlook tax season for now. The holidays can be stressful enough. And we are looking to get a jump start on the holiday season so we can reduce stress and depression and enjoy the holidays more because today is the first day of the rest of your life.

What is depression?

Everyone gets "the blues" from time to time. But when you are 'down' for more than a couple of weeks, that is depression. Depression changes you. You may be angry, anxious, irritable, sad. You may feel empty, numb, void of emotion. You may feel hopeless and helpless, guilty. And your depression doesn't just affect you. It also affects everyone you love and who loves you. It may affect how you work-or if you work. It clouds your thinking and blocks your emotional well being. Depression is common during the holidays.

"Experts say one of the fastest routes to holiday depression is unrealistic expectations," according to the National Mental Health Association.

You may recall your long-ago holiday memories and be disappointed that they can't be replicated. You can't change that. And you don't have to be perfect. Your decorating doesn't have to be perfect. The foods you prepare don't have to be perfect. Life isn't perfect. Aspire to do your best. Pace yourself. Then enjoy the party! Plan ahead and be realistic.

Fatigue is one of the major reasons for the blues, or depression. You may be rushing around to holiday parties and stressing over money and how you will pay for those holiday gifts. A lot of folks will be simplifying things this year, although merchants will not like that idea much.

Maybe you are having a difficult year because of loved ones you have lost. Maybe there's been a split in the family tapestry that has knocked you for a loop. Maybe there has been a separation or divorce, complicating how time and visitation will work for everyone.

Family traditions bring a family closer together. Sometimes it's good to create new traditions. When you can't be with your loved ones, there are some things you can do that will lift someone else's spirits and might just be the magic elixir you are looking for to uplift your spirits, as well.

Depression is not a character flaw, any more than asthma, diabetes or a broken ankle are. Depression is a treatable condition. If you have experienced five or more of the following symptoms or if you have suicidal thoughts, please talk to someone and get the help you need to recover your well being. You are the only one who can take that first step for yourself.

- persistent sad, anxious or 'empty' mood

- feelings of hopelessness, pessimism

- feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness

- loss of interest in things you used to enjoy, including sex

- decreased energy, fatigue, being 'slowed down'

- difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions

- insomnia, early-morning awakening, over-sleeping

- appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain

- restlessness, irritability

- persistent physical symptoms that don't respond to treatment (headache, digestive disorders, chronic pain)

For more information about depression and how to cope, contact Family Recovery Center at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, FRC promotes the well being of individuals, families and communities with education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and other mental health issues. FRC is funded, in part, by United Way of Northern Columbiana County.



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