The holidays are here which means lights, mistletoe, and turkey. But, according to Marla Ahlgrimm, it also means mild to moderate depression. While this depression may be caused by any number of factors, including stress over money, family tension, or even lack of exposure to sunlight, at its worst, it can be debilitating.
Depression is not uncommon. And unlike the stereotypical teenage girl crying in her pillow, depression does not always manifest in ways that are obvious to others. It is a silent condition that many people, especially women who are expected to uphold the Holly Jolly spirit of the season, hide rather well, says Marla Ahlgrimm. One of the first signs of depression is a gradual (or sudden) loss of interest in normally enjoyable activities.
As depression progresses, feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and despair move in. This can trigger a host of sleeping pattern alterations including insomnia, extreme fatigue, and wakefulness. Anger and irritability are common as depression lowers tolerance levels, Marla Ahlgrimm explains. Eventually, a loss of energy may result in appetite or weight changes. Women who are depressed often gain or lose a substantial amount of weight within a period of a month.
Marla Ahlgrimm explains that deep depression leads to feelings of worthlessness and the sufferer will blame herself for every little thing that goes wrong. Reckless behavior, including sexual promiscuity and substance abuse, may create dangerous life circumstances.
Women are much more likely to experience feelings of guilt, weight gain, and uncontrollable eating than their male counterparts as depression sets in. Hormones and societal expectations of perfection also play a role. Approximately one out of every seven new moms experiences postpartum depression.
According to Marla Ahlgrimm, depression and suicide are intrinsically linked and women who experience severe depression are at a higher risk of self-harm than those who report contentment with life.
If you or someone you love is dealing with depression, seek immediate mental health intervention.