When the Holidays Turn Out Not So Happy

Worth Living Ambassador Linda Dias Menezes

My name is Linda Dias Menezes and I have epilepsy, I have a loving supportive husband and a little boy that is 3 years old.
I am also a mentor, an ambassador, a support group facilitator, a Psychology Honors Student at the University of South Africa and an advocate for mental health and epilepsy. I have my own NPO aimed and spreading epilepsy awareness in South Africa and plan to open a second NPO with fellow psychology students called Mental Health Profession Advocates for Change.

Here in sunny South Africa the mental health care is all but sunny. Mental health and the stigma attached to mental health are not seen for what they are. Instead, some communities have a belief that if you have epilepsy or a mental health problem you are possessed or deranged.  I educate my audience in every presentation I host about what epilepsy is. People in general are not educated on the myths and stigmas related to mental health as soon as they hear the word mental, they think of THE “Arkham Asylum”. I discuss the mental health issues that go along with Epilepsy for example.

I recently joined with Worth Living to launch Worth Living South Africa.

When the Holidays Turn Out Not So Happy.

Happy Holidays!

December is here and Christmas carols play in the malls and on the radio. Christmas trees are up and tinsel decorates shop windows and counters.

At the moment, most people are celebrating the festivities and looking forward to the excitement of wrapping and unwrapping gifts. For others though, this time of the year brings anxiety of shopping for the ideal gift for loved ones and friends, when their bank balances aren’t looking that great. The anxiety of spending money on credit that you don’t have, just so you don’t turn up empty handed. The anxiety of going to the mall and looking for a parking spot and eventually when you find a parking spot, someone cuts you off and takes the parking you been waiting for. Not to mention waiting in queues with groups of people who have no sense of personal space!

I do understand this time of the year can get a bit much. Buying gifts online helps and the anxiety of making that trip to the mall or shopping center is avoided. My favorite sites are takealot.com and Amazon.com and some items are a lot cheaper than the stores! Making a Christmas budget also helps, try not to buy on credit. At the end of the day when giving or receiving a gift, all that really matters is – it’s the thought that counts. It might sound like an overused cliché although those nearest and dearest to you will appreciate any gift you get them.

The loss of a loved one also becomes a  prominent subject this time of the year. When a person of significance no longer celebrates Christmas or the holidays with you, it can take a toll. Even more so when you planned to spend it with them and they are no longer here. It really hits home when it’s the first Christmas without him or her. Suddenly Christmas is not so magical, and the good cheer that everyone feels around you is all but cheerful. You don’t feel the magic of Christmas and you just want to be on your own away from everyone and everything. Worst of all, people around you don’t understand why you cannot be happy or get into the Christmas spirit.

Depression is real, just because its Christmas doesn’t mean depression goes away. Depression doesn’t disappear when the Christmas decorations come out and people start making their holiday plans.

Please read my previous blog: (http://worthliving.co/2017/11/19/exam-pressures-suicide-and-depression) to recognize signs and symptoms of depression.

P.S. Please drive safe, don’t drink and drive. Get a designated driver or UBER. I look forward to hearing from you:

Kindest Regards, Linda Dias Menezes Twitter: @diaslr Instagram: epilepsyawarenesssa Facebook: EpilepsyAwarenessSA Email: epilepsyawarenesssa@gmail.com   Website: www.easa.org.za

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