The quality and type of relationships you sustain with those close to you can greatly affect your happiness and subsequent depression levels, which is why evaluating the relationships contributing to your depression is so important. Often, these critical relationships are with our family members.
Normally, the key to how we view life originates in our childhood and formative years. Our families framed our own understanding of who we are, and our belief in who we can be. Our parents and siblings set the stage for our current relationships with family, friends and acquaintances.
Families give us our first lessons about ourselves. We learn to view ourselves through the eyes of those we love and with whom we have a relationship. Each person in the family tells us more about ourselves through our mutual interaction. The family itself, as an entity, tells us about our place in this world. These lessons, over time and into adulthood, can fade from our memory. However, they continue to run in the background of our lives, often without conscious notice.
How our families perceived us, and the words they spoke to and about us, continue to echo in our self-view as the background noise of our lives. Consequently, we repeat the patterns and perceptions that we held in their presence. Their comments whisper to us in the quiet of the night and in the moments of despair. What they said becomes extremely important to your current ability to recognize, promote, and sustain optimism, hope, and joy.
During the holiday season, we often gather with our family and extended family, forcing us to confront these relationships head-on. These family gatherings cannot only surface past conflicts, they can force us to revisit the patterns and feelings caused by our families from childhood. For people trying to overcome these feelings and patterns, as they may have manifested into unhealthy patterns of depression, anxiety or addiction, the holidays can be especially trying.
In order to work through the upcoming family gatherings during the holidays, it’s important to understand the causes of your depression. It is time for you to think intentionally about how the responses to life you learned while growing up may be hindering you now. It is important in your recovery, and especially in preparation for these family gatherings, to examine these negative responses so they can be properly evaluated and placed in the context of your life. Spending time reflecting on how your family relationships are affecting your depression, or other aspects of your life, will also arm you with the awareness needed to successfully navigate the holiday season with your family.
If dealing with family struggles are beyond your own capacity, you may need to seek out professional help. Our team at The Center • A Place of HOPE specializes in treating relationship problems and depression, and we are here to help. The Center • A Place of HOPE has been recently voted in the top 10 of all treatment facilities for depression in the United States. If you are ready to regain true joy and happiness and overcome the relationships that may be negatively affecting your life, fill out this form or call 1-888-747-5592 to speak with a depression recovery specialist today.