Coping With The Holiday Blues

By Rogan Smith |
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Every year around this time, particularly heading into the Christmas season, I start to get SAD. Not sad. SAD. Better known as seasonal affective disorder.

For years, I thought it was just me. That something was wrong with me. Of course, the time change doesn’t help. It starts to get dark earlier and for some reason I get really depressed.

People think I’m weird when I say that Christmas is one of my least favorite times. Notwithstanding the fact that I love God and appreciate the true meaning of the season, I really start to feel down.

Beyond the seasonal change, I always get depressed when I see exceptionally happy people. I know I’m sounding like the Grinch who stole Christmas, but I just wonder why we can’t all be kind and cheerful all year round.

The Grinch The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

Beyond that, I always feel for those individuals who can’t afford to give in to the commercialization of Christmas.

I don’t believe I always had this condition. But, one moment in time really stands out to me.

In 2006, I was living in Atlanta. I was in college at the time and couldn’t afford to go home for Christmas like everyone else did. I remember sitting down waiting at the MARTA train station to head back to my apartment. As I was sitting there I saw a black woman sitting with two of her kids. People were filing into the station with bags filled with gifts. I don’t know why, but that lady caught my eye. I remember staring at her and her children as they were watching everyone beaming from ear to ear with their presents.

The woman’s son turned to her and asked her if she could buy him some toy for Christmas. She had the most peaceful, yet despondent look on her face. She gave a soft smile and replied, “we’ll see.” Her son, completely deflated by her response, replied, “you always say we’ll see.”

I can’t tell you how I almost burst out crying right there on that bench. I felt for the mother and her kids. That must have been the toughest thing in the world – to want to give your children everything and not be in a position to do so. Then to have a front seat to people who actually can.

Now, every time I see families shopping I think of that mother and her two young children. I also start thinking of people who don’t have a home or a job or family and I start to feel guilty that I have things that they don’t.

Hearing people talk about their holiday plans with their families makes me think of all of my loved ones who are no longer here, like my wonderful grandmother, Iva who would have been at our family dinners. Or my brother, Quentin. I think of my late aunt, Stephanie, who would have celebrated her birthday on Christmas Eve. Just thinking of my family is enough to make me want to jump from December 1st to February.

Destinys-Child-8-days-of-Christmas-GIF Destiny’s Child’s children.

To cope, I avoid watching TV too much. I don’t want to see all of the Christmas ads or hear the Christmas music. I mostly listen to CDs in my car or nothing at all. I avoid the mall at all costs and just try to stay in a spirit of gratitude for all I have.

I’m also forcing myself to enjoy the moment more. I am trying not to get too depressed about those who are gone that I fail to enjoy the time I have with the people who remain.

If you’re wondering if you’re suffering from SAD, there are a few symptoms you should look out for. If you’re feeling a loss of pleasure or interest in everyday activities, or feeling guilt or despair, you may be experiencing a bout of SAD.

If you find yourself lacking energy or sleeping during the day you may also be experiencing SAD. Now, if you’re pregnant, drunk or was out partying late last night that may explain your condition.

I find that getting out into the sun helps and if there’s one thing The Bahamas has a lot of, it’s sunlight. I also go riding my bike or listen to rap music. The latter snaps me out of my sadness and makes me angry. Just like I like it.

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