Anxiety and Depression bought about by the Holiday Season

For every picture perfect family group getting together and celebrating the festive season enjoying each other’s company there is sure to be another group living the old saying “You can pick your friends, but not your relatives”. The people in the latter group would much rather be out celebrating with friends but find themselves forced to spend time with family out of obligation.

These forced gatherings are perfect breeding grounds for the re-opening of old wounds and quarrels, usually after alcohol has swept away the social niceties like a roadway in a flash flood. Sometimes all it takes is one drink too many , but the resulting name-calling, shouting and drama spoils what is supposed to be an opportunity for everyone to come together in the spirit of peace and harmony.

As a result of this behaviour, for many people this celebratory time of year is not looked forward to with excitement but with dread. The build-up to the family get-together is approached with apprehension and anxiety, and avoidance strategies are mentally rehearsed, all the while knowing that they can never be utilised.  The feelings of powerlessness, generated as a result, can be the start of a slide into depression or anxiety, unless symptoms are recognised and professional help is sought. It is better to seek help sooner rather than later as these mental health issues can have a snowballing effect if left untreated.

Be Proactive and change negative outcomes

AusPsychology specialises in helping people by providing psychological services for a wide range of emotional issues. These include the anxiety and depression bought about by that holiday season stress. As families age there can be sadness that loved ones who have passed on will not be there for the celebrations they once enjoyed. There can be feelings of emotional abandonment if family members have not been supportive over something, and resentment of the expectation that all these feelings will be set aside to keep everyone else happy.

Even making the decision not to attend a family gathering to avoid all these negative emotions can trigger feelings of anxiety and guilt. People can feel quite trapped when thinking that, either way, there is nothing in it for them. It is important that these feelings and emotions are recognised as real, and if they are getting out of control, that professional assistance is sought to overcome them. The qualified psychologists at AusPsychology will work with people who are struggling at this time of the year to find something meaningful for themselves out of these occasions.

To do nothing and hope it will all subside after the holidays is to ignore long-held and often erroneous beliefs that, if challenged, are usually found to be based on false evidence. This is a sure way to spoil many more family gatherings, when the best option is to deal with it now. Taking this step will lift the cloud over future family get-togethers and allow people to look forward to them, instead of dreading their approach.


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