Coping with Depression

Why do we need to help loved ones with depression during the holidays? While the holiday season takes a toll on everyone to varying degrees, it can be an especially tough time for those of us struggling with depression and other mental health issues. If you have a friend or relative who's struggling, there are a lot of ways — both big and small — to provide just a bit of extra support to help get them through the season.
I've been rereading "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens, and it has occurred to me that depression brings its own ghosts of the past, present, and future. Just as Ebenezer Scrooge had to confront his ghosts, so must we. 
Being unproductive during depression is common; depression has a way of depleting us of energy, motivation, and momentum. Productivity requires of us all three of these things. Productivity is also an effective method of combating depression, meaning the very thing we need to feel better is the very thing that we can't have until we feel better.
Some of you may immediately be turned off by the mere thought of having depression and being thankful during the holidays, but hear me out. I'm not talking about gratitude here. Rather, I'm talking about using the word "thankful" as an acronym to remind us to practice healthy coping skills, which will allow us to better manage our depression throughout the holiday season.
Depression takes its toll on us, and our brains certainly deserve a break. While we know this to be true, how can we put this knowledge into practice?
Can you be saved from depression? Many mainstream films and TV shows about mental health push the concept of the "savior" figure. A character suffering from mental illness meets another character and, through their relationship -- often romantic in nature -- comes to find recovery and health, or at least a happy medium. While certain relationships can help enhance our personal wellbeing, we should be careful when evaluating them for signs that we are falling for the myth of the savior figure. Being saved from depression is a myth.
Comforting ourselves as we cope with depression is an important skill. While others may offer us comfort and want to help, they are often unable to truly do so. Only we understand our own needs for comfort completely, and we need to work towards being able to meet these needs. It's a process, though, so don't feel rushed.
There are many feelings of depression. Yes, there is a feeling of sadness, but there are also other feelings, too. These feelings may include numbness, anger, irritability, extreme tiredness, stress, worthlessness, and guilt. These are typical feelings for someone with depression, yet we shouldn't ignore these feelings nor wallow in them, either. So, how can we cope with these feelings of depression in a healthy way?
Mental illness is never our fault, but we need to take responsibility for our mental illness. The cause of mental illness is still debated among scientific communities, with the general consensus being that it is some combination of genetics, environment, and biology. We are not at fault for the type of parenting we grew up with or our family's medical history. We are not at fault for being born into poverty or developing certain personality traits. But none of these things excuse us from taking responsibility for our mental illness.
Discussing our depression can be beneficial; however, we should use discretion when deciding with whom we choose to discuss our depression. We also need to be mindful of how much detail we go into with people. Not everyone can be trusted with the most painful details of the lowest points of our depression.