For some, the holidays bring on the feeling of dred. It is just tougher for some people to make it through all the bustle without getting depressed. It could be depression due to many different things--being single and feeling alone with no one to share the holidays with, missing a loved one who passed away during the year and won't be there to share the memories. For others, it is the financial strain to buy this or that or family pressures. Some people just do not get along with family members, but holidays can force getting together with all the problems that may entail.
I was in the hospital one year around Christmas time during my 1 of 6 times spent in a psychiatric ward for being suicidal and depressed. That was a tough time. I was released on December 23rd. I have pictures of that Christmas. I got home just in time to wrap some presents for my 3 year old and wait up Christmas Eve night to set up all the goodies for her to see the next morning. My pictures tell a different story. I don't look myself in them. I see pain, vulnerability, feeling unsure, and not having much patience. On Christmas morning my daughter was wearing one of those cute onesie pajamas with the feet on them. Someone stuck a big bow on her bottom. She was SO cute! I also remember when my family got together that morning to open presents that I sort of felt paranoid that my family was looking at me to see if I was 'okay'. I was also haunted at that time that I was never going to be able to be a normal mother for my daughter--that the depression and episodes would so envelop my life that I would not be able to function as a 'good' mother. That was my biggest fear during those tough years. But God was with me through the whole thing. It was a slow process to get on the right track with the right 'recipe' of medications that suited my body chemically/physiologically.
Be patient with friends and family who want to help you, but don't know how. Let them know that their concern and caring is worth its weight in gold. Happy people want to see other people happy. But they may not understand it for someone who is depressed during the holidays. As you've been given grace; give that grace to others. There are many out there who do not understand the plight of the depressed or mentally ill, but it is far better than it used to be. The stigma is still there, but people are talking about it--and that is a good thing. More people are being touched by knowing someone suffering with it--that used to not be so. And that was probably due to people not talking about it. It needs to be in the open.
So take some time to pray for those who suffer and for those who need to understand, especially in the Christian community. I believe God wants this subject to be fully realized and understood by all believers--to embrace those of us who have been in those dark depressive trenches and all believers to take it upon themselves to understand it--showing grace, mercy and above all--love.