Winter is touted as “the happiest time of year.” It’s filled with holidays and beautiful lights, snow that sparkles in the sun and time off from school and work. You would think with all these factors, winter really would be the happiest time of year, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. In reality, winter can cause a lot of anxiety, sadness and loneliness for thousands of people. The holidays may bring up bad memories, stress and sometimes people just feel like they have to fake being happy because it’s that time of year. The cold weather and early sunfall can cause normally happy and productive people to feel exhausted and despondent. Celebrating at the end of the year is always bittersweet, but especially so for those who may have lost a loved one in the past year.
Personally, every November and December is a battle with myself to stay alive. While my regular depression meets my seasonal affect, it can be hard to even get out of bed. I’m more tired than I would normally be, I’m less motivated to do the things I know must be done, and I get so anxious that it affects my physical health.
When I was younger, I loved this time of year. It was a magical time where family got together and had food, shared presents and stories, and nothing bad could ever happen. As I grew up and got older, the real world set in and winter didn’t seem as magical anymore. And that’s okay, it’s just hard sometimes.
If you or anyone you know are struggling this winter, don’t be afraid to reach out. The national suicide prevention lifeline’s number is 800-273-8255, and if you are in the Mattoon area you can call the Lifelinks crisis line at 1-866-567-2400. When you call, you will be connected with a trained crisis clinician. There is no charge, and the line is open 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.