"Post Santa Syndrome "
Do you see this kind of condition in your practice?
Not really. Maybe ours could be more appropriately titled post Diwali syndrome – where women believe that the end of festivities have come and they have to now wait until March of the New Year till the new season of festivities beginning with Holi starts again. And this could be attributed to the fact that Christmas is not really a big festival for most Indians.
But at the same time there are year-end blues, something that women have a tendency to get into as the year draws to a close. Taking stock of where they are, what dreams and aspirations they had started with at the beginning of the year and what gaps remain between the desired position and the actual position is what can set them up for despondency.
Who would be prone to it?
Women who have a high NEED to excel, to achieve, to prove to themselves and the rest of the world that they are worthwhile, would be very susceptible to year-end emotional distress. Women who are severe on themselves because they believe that they have to ‘earn’ their happiness can set themselves up for serious self-flagellation when self-imposed targets are not met.
Of course reminiscing about what could have been, a missed opportunity, loss of a loved one in terms of death and/or divorce/separation is healthy as long as the grief does not turn into depression. Where the woman begins to wallow and believe that there is nothing to look forward to, all is lost, and a sense of despair and self-pity creeps in – we have danger signals that the person could be well heading to something more serious.
How could one know that it is coming on?
Healthy introspection and taking stock of possible errors, reasons for setbacks, causes of relationship breakdowns is needed for us to progress and to avoid repeating the same. However, when the outlook towards error making is personalized, when one begins to blame and castigate oneself severely, the line has been crossed from sadness and concern for the future, to depression and anxiety about the future.
When emotions don’t debilitate, don’t make us ineffective and inefficient, do not intrude in our functioning they may be said to be in healthy domain. But when we cannot function, find ourselves unproductive and ineffectual, it can be guessed that the emotions that rule us are now in the unhealthy domain.
What would your best strategies to avoid this?
By developing healthier philosophies of living. By altering ideas of the worth of a human being. By questioning the philosophies of success – these will contribute to an alteration of outlook and thus prevent destructive, unproductive emotions and behaviour. Superficial methods like counting the pluses and seeing how they outweigh the minuses at the end of the year will be just that, superficial. For only when the outlook, the attitude about success, happiness, contentment, well-being, are reconstructed will there be deeper, enduring and more lasting change.
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