Ah, the holidays: a time for love, joy, family… and depression? Despite all the holiday cheer in the air, holiday blues are REAL, affecting a whopping 64 percent of those polled by the National Alliance on Mental Illness in 2015. For individuals who already struggle with depression, anxiety, grief, or addiction on a daily basis, the “the most wonderful time of year” can hit even harder: Just ask Kesha.
The songstress has made a massively powerful comeback this year after a long road of mental, emotional, and physical abuse she says she suffered at the hands of her longtime producer, Dr. Luke Gottwald, with a slew of healing new music that snagged her her first two Grammy noms ever. She’s also taken control of her life off the charts, vowing to “live free” and seeking treatment for a serious eating disorder.
But her journey wasn’t an easy one, and the the “Praying” singer is looking to inspire others during their most difficult times, penning a real and raw essay about the realities of coping with depression and anxiety during the holiday season for Time magazine. The piece, titled “The Holidays Are Hard If You Struggle With Mental Illness. Don’t Blame Yourself” is part of the outlet’s effort to commission “essays from influential people who have struggled themselves” to share “what has helped them during difficult holiday seasons in the past” in conjunction with OptionB.Org (a platform “dedicated to helping you build resilience in the face of adversity”).
Opening her 490-word piece, Kesha declares, “The holiday season is supposed to be the most festive and fun time of the year but sometimes it can quickly become a stressful and emotional time. All those plans and expectations of joy can turn tougher than they sound. This is especially true for those of us who struggle with mental illness — be it depression, anxiety, addiction, or any other challenges.”
The 30-year-old offered some insight as to why it’s so tough, saying, “When you have a routine, it’s easier to manage whatever mental struggles you may be faced with, and when that routine is broken, it can trigger things you may not be ready to face. I know it has for me. It was during the holidays when I hit a low moment and with the help of my mother decided to seek help for my eating disorder.”
She also let readers know that it was okay not to do too much if it’s causing you stress, saying, “Around the holidays, I often feel like I’m supposed to be everywhere, with everyone — all with the added guilt that it’s the season of giving,” she said, also sharing her personal mantra: “It’s not selfish to take time for yourself.”
The mental health advocate concluded by advising those struggling not to “ask yourself things like ‘It’s almost Christmas, why am I not happy?’ That can turn into a shame cycle. It’s just another day — don’t put unrealistic expectations on it, and don’t beat yourself up… And most importantly just remember to give yourself a break!”
What do you think of Kesha’s TIME essay? Tweet us @BritandCo.
(Photos via Jeffrey Mayer + Amanda Edwards/WireImage/Getty)