When “Happy” is Missing from “Holidays”

By: Dr. Tiffany Culver, Associate Professor of Psychology

Christmas is the season of giving, but giving presents may be the least of concerns for some. Many individuals find the holiday season stressful. This may stem from family dynamics, financial burdens or loneliness. We need to give attention by offering emotional support to those under duress and focusing on appropriate outlets for our own stress.

Stress is a natural experience in life; however, for some it may also trigger anxiety and depression. This is highly common in our society, even in individuals who appear carefree and charismatic. Many that resist seeking help for their anxiety and depression resort to self-medicating in an attempt to cope with stress. Alcohol, drugs, smoking, and overeating are commonly used to reduce stress. Sadly, these methods often lead to more serious problems over time. Seeking professional help is the best method to treat anxiety and depression when stress becomes overwhelming. Yet, this is often resisted for fear of being labeled “crazy” or unstable. Situations are further complicated by family members who erroneously believe anxiety and depression can easily be controlled and/or treated by a fun day out on the town or through “self-medication.” It is vital that we understand the origins of anxiety and depression are both biological and environmental. In many cases, anxiety and depression are caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. This imbalance can be treated using medication, counseling or a combination of the two resources.

Many resources exist for those suffering from anxiety and depression. Sul Ross State University’s Counseling Center offers free counseling services for faculty, staff and students on the Alpine campus. The Eagle Pass, Del Rio and Uvalde campuses offer free counseling to faculty, staff, students and all members of the surrounding communities. Individuals can also reach out to their general medical practitioner for medication and referrals to counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists. Most insurance plans cover counseling services. If left untreated, this mental state may lead to thoughts of suicide or self-harm. If you or a loved one has thoughts of suicide, do not hesitate to dial 911. You may also receive help from the Suicide Hotline or Crisis Text Line. Never minimize a loved one’s message of self-harm. This represents a life or death situation and assuming an individual is attention seeking could result in irreversible harm.

Sul Ross State University – Alpine Counseling Center 432-837-8203

Sul Ross State University – Uvalde, Eagle Pass, Del Rio Counseling Clinic trussell@sulross.edu 210-253-0884

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Crisis Text Line
Text 74174

1 thought on “When “Happy” is Missing from “Holidays”

  • This article speaks volumes for those that feel these emotions within the holidays. There are many individuals that suffere from unexplained phenomenons that others can’t understand. Hearing someone’s voice can make a great difference in a person’s life! There are countless individuals that are here to help, students should be aware of all the agencies that are there for them! We care for all of you’ll, we are here for everyone!!’ Reach out, we are here for you!

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