A new year or a black hole?
As I write this article, we are in day eight of the first month of a new year. How has it been so far, for you?
Is it all going well, with New Year’s resolutions in place and in action? Are you back to work and with a good routine, ready for the year ahead with all of its possibilities and opportunities? I hope so, as that is the wish for most of us, to be feeling positive and optimistic about the new year ahead.
What if instead of hope and optimism, you feel a sense of dread, loneliness, loss or sadness? You feel a sense of hopelessness and a lack of control over what is happening to you in life.
I am not saying the above for the sake of being gloomy, but it is unfortunately the reality for many people as they face a new year. It can almost feel as if these negative feelings and thoughts blot out any possible good things that may be in your life; squeezing the light out at a time of year when we need all the light we can get.
So for some, the beginning of a new year can slowly and steadily start to feel like falling in to a black hole.
It can be really difficult to let others know you are feeling this way, especially if you find yourself surrounded by people who are in good, psychological shape, with lots of energy for the coming year. You do not want to do anything that might make them feel bad and it can feel risky to let people know you are not coping. It is "much better to put on a brave face and see it through, as it will pass".
Of course for some, it will pass. It is important to allow time to adjust to the new year, after all we have just come through a whole year and all that entails. We have just experienced Christmas, with all of its demands on us to be ‘smiley and happy’. Spending time with families, which in itself can be incredibly stressful, not to mention the financial implications of gift buying and new year parties.
Allowing a little time for things to calm down and fall in to a rhythm is vital. Check with yourself how serious these feelings can be. Do you feel it is something you can ride out? Can you get through it, with maybe just a little help and support, either from friends or family?
If on the other hand, you are concerned about your negative thoughts and feelings and you may have a sense of falling in to that black hole I mentioned, perhaps it is time to consider seeking professional support.
You can familiarise yourself with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and with the symptoms of depression on the NHS website. Reach out to friends and family, consider talking with your GP and meeting with a therapist or counsellor, as it may help you.
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