Fighting the holiday blues

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Michael Hunsaker
  • National Air and Space Intelligence Center Public Affairs

The holiday season can create a wide variety of feelings in people. While this means happiness and joy in some, for others it can bring feelings of depression or being alone.

“Depression may occur any time of the year,” said 1st Lt. Danielle Dockery, the designated Mental Health representative for the National Air and Space Intelligence Center. “However, individuals who are normally happy and content can also experience ‘holiday blues’ which are depressive symptoms throughout the holiday season.”

For some, these feelings have the possibility of negatively impacting their work and personal life.

“Some contributors to holiday depression are financial stress, unrealistic expectations, gloomy weather, not being able to be with family members for the holidays, missing loved ones who are not around anymore, and high end of the year demands at work,” Dockery said.

Regardless of the cause, there are ways to cope with the depression of the season.

“It is important to think about starting new or different traditions for the holidays,” said Dockery. “Lower expectations, and talk to someone you trust about what you are experiencing.”

If changing expectations or starting new traditions is not working out, consider the help of a professional like Dockery.

“It is important to seek professional help before the depressive symptoms begin to negatively impact your work and relationships,” said Dockery.

Dockery does not currently have an office at NASIC, but members can visit her or her colleagues at the Wright-Patterson Medical Clinic.

“Currently, there are many providers who see NASIC personnel, myself included,” said Dockery. “The best way to reach me is by the [Mental Health] front desk at 257-6877 just in case I am out of the office or I am with a patient.”

Dockery also advises people to educate themselves on the signs and symptoms of depression in both themselves and others.

“A person may experience some symptoms of depression, but that doesn’t mean they are clinically depressed.  Sadness is a normal human emotion,” she said. “A person who feels depressed doesn’t necessarily require a difficult event or situation or change of circumstance as a trigger. It is important to remember that there are going to be some difficult times throughout life but it is how you cope through those difficult times that will assist you in the right direction.”

Dockery wants to ensure everyone gets the proper help they need as soon as possible to prevent any effect on a personnel’s security clearance.

“No one’s clearance is effected unless their performance due to mental health symptoms has already impacted their functioning at work or personal lives,” she continued. “A person who presents to the clinic can be provided skills to help with reducing their depressive symptoms before it interferes with their level of functioning and before their clearance is affected.”

Even after the holidays, depression may linger. Dockery expresses that it is still important that one seeks help if needed.

“There are other community resources that can be beneficial to everyone such as The National Alliance on Mental Illness groups, Military One Source, and the Military and Family Life Counselor,” said Dockery.

This time of year can be stressful, but knowing the signs of the ‘holiday blues’ can help ensure everyone has a happy holiday.

For more information contact the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Mental Health clinic at 937-257-6877.