The (Clarksville, Tenn.) Leaf-Chronicle , WXIA
December 24, 2016
"They believe no one can understand their situations unless 'they have been there.’ Some suffer survivor’s guilt about why they survived but their buddy was killed in action." Rev. Jodi McCullah
For some people, Christmas is not all sweetness and light. (Photo: Getty Images)Society has great expectations for people to have the perfect house, bake perfect cookies and show off the perfect family in Christmas letters, Facebook posts and Instagram photos.
But look more closely at the people you meet, and you might see expressions of grief and depression.
Sometimes, Christmas is a holiday to soldier through, and some people would rather escape from it.
“Christmas is normally a family time. It might be the only time for some people to get together,” said Henry Moore, a social worker and grief counselor at AseraCare Hospice in Clarksville, Tenn.
“If you are grieving over the death of a loved one, you might think being around lots of happy people would make you happy. That’s not how it works," he said. "Happy people only remind you of what you no longer have.”
While everyone deals with grief differently, Moore said a lot of common emotions come up at the holidays, and they often revolve around family traditions.
"A sense of hopelessness and despair are not uncommon," he said. "Sadness can be overwhelming at times when you see people or places once special to you and your loved, but now that person is gone.”
Grief isn't always about death. It can come from a divorce, losing a job or trying to adjust to life after being deployed in a combat zone.
1. Start new traditions but don’t throw out the old ones. Keep as many as you can.
2. Accept invitations to events and then attend them. Interacting with people can be difficult but important.
3. Be honest to close friends and family about how you're feeling about the holidays.
4. Include a place at the dinner table for a missing person.
5. Don't use alcohol or drugs to deal with emotional pain.
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