Festive season not fun for all

2015-12-09 06:00

FAMILY GATHERINGS, great getaways, no deadlines to meet and just kicking back and relaxing this festive season . . .

While some of us are counting down the days, others are dreading it.

The holidays may be the happiest time of the year for some but for others, it is a time of sadness, loneliness and stress.

Some people experience feelings of despair or pain so deep during this time that they resort to suicide. Others become so frustrated or angry that relationships end in divorce or separation. Many people do not understand why a person experiences unhappy thoughts or emotions during the festive season.

Henning Jacobs, the trauma support co-ordinator at ER24, said there were a number of reasons why people go through intense negative emotions at this time of the year. “People with depression for example ‘battle internally’ and feel alone.

“People with depression usually hide their depression in their jobs. People hide all sorts of problems in their jobs. When they are on holiday there is nowhere to hide. Their feelings cannot be ‘worked’ away. They are forced to deal with their depression or problems and they often cannot handle it.

“During the festive season, some people with depression are also reminded that others are happy while they are not. The festive season is a time to spend with loved ones. It is the worse time for those who have lost loved ones,” he said.

Jacobs said that financial problems also contributed to depression or stress. During the festive season many people spend vast amounts of cash on holidays and gifts for example.

“Some people might commit suicide during or just after the festive season due to depression, stress or financial problems. Most suicides involving men, in general, are a result of financial problems,” he said.

Jacobs urged people to support where possible, and be more understanding towards those who are depressed or stressed.

“Supporting those who are depressed is vital. Try to find ways to help even for those who push family and friends away. Convince those who have not had the help of a professional to seek assistance. Appropriate treatment and coping skills can help most people with depression,” he said.

He urged those in need of help to seek assistance from a counsellor or psychologist. ER24’s trauma counsellors can be reached by calling 084-124. – ER24

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