Holiday Blues

By: Summer Knowles
By: Summer Knowles

December 7, 2005

The holiday season is here, and for many people, along with all the gifts and shopping come high expectations. If you're not careful, those expectations can invite a spell of depression.

When you think of the holiday season words that normally come to mind are fun, peaceful, and happy, but a lot of people say it can also be a very taxing time.

"It definitely can be stressful, especially if you have a large family and you're trying to balance everybody's interests and happiness," said Resident Catherine Albano.

"The holidays can be stressful because there is pressure put on people to actually buy gifts, and buy expensive gifts," said Carolyn Politis.

Australia native Carolyn Politis, is in town visiting relatives for the holidays. Over the course of her stay in America she says she was surprised to see the emphasis placed on holiday gifts and shopping.

"It's much more commercial here," she explained. "[Especially] the emphasis on sales and people getting up at four a.m. to go to the sales."

"The commercialism of the holidays has set, often an almost impossible to meet template about how things are supposed to be around the holidays," said Dr. John Shemo, the Medical Director of the Psychiatric Alliance of the Blue Ridge.

Dr. Shemo believes those expectations are often the cause of frustration or even depression during the holidays.

"If people aren't able to meet this often artificial template of everything being perfect it leaves them feeling very deficient."

Dr. Shemo adds that can be avoided by setting and even simplifying expectations of yourself and others during the holiday season.

If you've noticed yourself experiencing spells of depression every year around the same time, and you don't think it is related to the holiday season, it could be what is called Season Affective Disorder.

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