Winter, holidays and why depression rises

We are in the middle of the Christmas rush, we are being bombarded with gift options, to do lists, planning and a sweet festive anticipation is floating in the air, promising the much expected time with the dear ones. Over the years the religious connotation of the winter celebrations has faded, being replaced by a commercial and more social approach, where we strive to buy the biggest, the most expensive and extraordinary gift of all, to show our love to the ones around us. Nowadays Christmas is transformed into a race, competition even, where the more you spend the more you care, this is a western world tendency to strive for the material at the expense of real connection… and then when the vacation is over, when the lights and decoration are put down, we are left alone in the cold dark winter, to survive until spring. It is unfortunately a well known fact that depression rate rises the most, in the first months of the year, when the high of the holidays fades and we are left to face our lives again without the sweet taste of cinnamon and ginger bread. This phenomenon is happening even more acutely in the Nordic lands, where the light of day is scarce and the weather quite unfriendly. In my practice I have come to encounter a great many cases of winter depression and exacerbated anxiety, where the roots of it all were deep embedded in feelings of disconnection and fear of rejection. As it is often the case people seek help when something hurts, when the pain is to great to handle, when they reach their limits and are almost desperate to try something, anything to make the unbearable feelings go away. As the stories unfold, and we go deeper into all those repressed emotions, we shed light into childhood events that have carved their beliefs and behaviors, there is is always the same villain: FEAR! Fear makes us oversensitive and reactive to the external environment, keeps us in a continuous fight, flight or freeze mode, tries to keep us in the familiar and away from the unknown, makes us small and stops our growth. Out of the fear of not surviving, we develop anxiety of many forms, making us weary of exposure and judgements, not wanting to be subjected to the possibility of rejection. As, ever since we are borne we have the need for connection and approval, the need for security and stability, fear is the mind’s mechanism that keeps us in hold, keeps us oversensitive and attentive to all the things that might go wrong, and creates feelings and emotions that make us avoid situations that our mind considers dangerous. This is how anxiety develops, as the mind learns by trial and error and is constantly looking for evidence to enforce the beliefs from the status quo, that is never revised or analyzed, and often is formed in our early years, when we do not have the capacity to rationalize the beliefs we adopt or learn from the grownups around us. Years after, in our adult lives we go back to those subconscious laws that our mind guides itself after, and we manifest behaviors that are in antithesis with our conscious wants and needs, but follow to the letter the status quo of our subconscious beliefs. The rules that guide us, are not only from personal experiences but also from our society’s culture, for example in the western world we tell our children stories where the dark is something to be afraid of, and to avoid, dangerous even, cold is associated with disconnection and ill hearted villains, black is bad and white is good, automatically society programs us from early on to reject and fear the cold and the dark as it is not safe. It is a social conditioning to be uncomfortable during the long and gloomy winter, to question yourself and doubt others, as this is the common belief: darkness and the cold are dangerous, unfriendly and to be feared, and our mind reacts and makes as weary of it by developing a state of unease called anxiety. Depression on the other hand is rooted in a lack of connection, and lack of hope, loosing the meaning of the greater purpose, we are isolated in a cocoon that is floating purposeless in the sea of the shallow interactions, material supremacy and meaningless work. When we experience depression we are in a frozen state, where we lack the will to do, we have repressed so much emotion that we feel there is nothing left, there is no point and we want to give up. The ‘cure’ for it is connection and compassion, finding the power of self love, of self worth, going against the programing of the current culture that tells us that ‘more’ and ‘now’ is the way, instant gratification and material possessions are the status quo that needs to be questioned and addressed. It comes to no surprise that after the Christmas and New Year’s rush, many fall in the pits of despair and feel the weight of the darkness and the cold, combined with a physical reaction to the lack of sunlight and the common social belief that you have to ‘endure’ through winter, it seems like a recipe for a depression&anxiety epidemics. Yet there is hope because this is not our natural human state, we are not born anxious or depressed, but we get programmed into it, therefor we can learn to make new programs, to form new beliefs and to question our status quo. I have helped many to change their beliefs and to loose the old conditioning, through hypnotherapy, we can rewire the brain to form new patterns of behavior and develop healthier and more empowering mental habits. Take action and do not wait until it gets to be unbearable, I am here for you, one email or phone call away, reach out as there is always hope!

My best Ioana

4 Comments to “Winter, holidays and why depression rises”

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Thank you Dear Ioana:

This blog is very informative.

best regards

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