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Depressed or grieving this holiday season? Mental health advocates say 'It's ok'

Posted at 6:49 PM, Nov 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-29 19:53:43-05

BRAZOS COUNTY, Texas — It’s the holiday season, and for many people, it’s a time of joy and excitement. But for others who are living with depression or have experienced a tragedy, this time of year can be the most difficult.

Mental health advocates urge that it’s okay not to feel okay during the holidays.

Michelle Jeter is a facilitator for the local bereavement group known as Compassionate Friends of the Brazos Valley.

She herself has experienced Christmases in recent years that felt simply unbearable. After Jeter's teenage daughter Sydney was killed in a 2013 car accident, Decembers were no longer merry and bright.

“The happiness that is put on you that people expect of you... you want to give them what they want, but you just can’t help that you’re just not feeling it inside," said Jeter. "So it does become a little burdensome.”

Pastor Daryl Hay, rector of St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Bryan, counsels his congregation through grief on a routine basis.

He’s seen just how grief, seasonal affective disorder, depression, isolation due to the pandemic – all those things have robbed parishioners of joy at a time when they’d otherwise be singing praise.

"I think now we’ve kind of acknowledged through the last year-and-a-half that things have been tough," he said. "They’re not as happy and cheerful. I try to acknowledge that during the Christmas season, that it is a tough time.”

Both Hay and Jeter dedicate themselves to reaching out to the broken-hearted during the holidays.

“It is very important to let everybody feel what they feel, and not pressure them to feel any other way," Jeter advised.

Both individuals encourage those suffering right now not to feel guilt over their yuletide sadness. They urge that sufferers be upfront about their emotions, and reach out for support from others – even those who aren’t feeling that same sadness.

“This is the time that the tendency may be to retreat and isolate, but this may be the best time to be engaged and be a part of the community," Hay pointed out.

Compassionate Friends of the Brazos Valley can be reached through their website at the following link:

TCF of Brazos Valley - Compassionate Friends in College Station, TX

Jeter also recommends Mending Hearts Grief Center in College Station.

Mending Hearts Grief Center

Brazos Valley MHMR can also be reached through the following link:

MHMR Authority of Brazos Valley (mhmrabv.org)

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