Depression, Suicide

Blue Christmas in the Face of Depression and Social Isolation

The lights and decor, the music, the invigorating chill in the air.

This used to be my favorite time of the year. 

At some point, it’s become my most depressing time of the year.

  • The death of my little brother.
  • The breaking up of a 20-year marriage.
  • A year of social isolation due to Covid19.
  • Loss of income.
  • And, clinical depression.

I’m alone, isolating.

I’m having to receive financial help in the form of moving in with my parents at the age of 45 in order to survive. I visit my son and my dog on Saturdays because they can’t live with me unless I have a place of my own. Saturdays have become the only day I look forward to. I soak it up. Then, at night, I often cry myself to sleep.

The normal feelings of depression?

The “normal” feelings of depression seem to be intensified in the face of the increased joy of the season for others. People are decorating, shopping, enjoying festive activities with their children and families. My depression becomes heavier, more excruciatingly painful. There have been so many days recently where I want life as I know it to end. I’m in too much pain and anguish.

I have an intense feeling of loneliness. 

In a time of social isolation, texts, phone calls, Zooms, etc. don’t seem to help as much as they did in the early days of the pandemic. Nothing can truly replace being with people.

Suicide rates are up.

As we’ve heard, “more people in Japan died by suicide in October than have died of COVID-19 during all of 2020.” I have no doubt that suicide rates are up in every country this year.

According to Dr. Vivian Pender, president-elect of the American Psychiatric Association: “We’re in the midst of a mental health epidemic right now, and I think it’s only gonna get worse.” 

Julianne Holt-Lunstad, PhD, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University states “Being connected to others socially is…a fundamental human need—crucial to both well-being and survival.

Even the CDC (centers for disease control and prevention) states that “loneliness [is] associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide.

The daily battle.

Personally, I’m battling suicidal thoughts nearly every day right now, and it’s impossible for me to see an upturn anytime soon. I’m desperately hanging on.

I know I’m not the only one who feels like this. Mental illness is still something many don’t want to talk about. Family and friends want to understand, but they can’t. For someone who hasn’t experienced such despair before, it’s unfathomable to them. Not being understood is a very lonely feeling and can exacerbate the effects of depression.

Not being understood is a very lonely feeling and can exacerbate the effects of depression. Click To Tweet

You too?

It’s only online that I have connected with others who “get it.” That’s the only minimal relief I can find. So, if I can be brave enough to share online my experiences with depression, bipolar, and anxiety…then perhaps others can too, if not for a simple response of “me too”.

If you’re having suicidal thoughts or worried about a loved one, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 (TALK). The free, confidential phone line is available 24/7 to connect you with a trained counselor. You can also chat with someone online

Copyright © 2020 Alicia Rust. All rights reserved.

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