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  • Writer's pictureJohnson Behavioral Health Group

Abigail Johnson Talks about Grief During the Holidays with KSLA

Updated: Feb 21

credits to: KSLA News 12

The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and giving thanks to family and friends. However, it is also a time when many people experience depression, grief, and isolation. The holidays can be difficult for individuals suffering from grief, trauma, or other mental health conditions.

Together with KSLA News 12, CEO of Johnson Behavioral Health and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Abigail Johnon, discussed the importance of mental health and the impact of grief on some people during the holiday season.

“While many people are definitely excited about the holiday season, there are those who find this time of year very difficult, whether it be from the loss of a loved one, loneliness, or any other type of trauma,” stated Kori, KSLA News 12 Anchor.

Grief can manifest over the holiday season, but what does it really look like, and how can we recognize this emotion in someone?

Johnson conveyed that “grief is the body’s natural response to loss. It can result from an end of a relationship, whether that’s divorce or separation, or the end of someone’s physical presence here on earth. Whether that’s a loss of a loved one or a dog—that is considered grief. Oftentimes holidays can be a trigger for grief as we associate holidays with family traditions. Holidays are a reminder oftentimes that the person is no longer here with us.

How can someone identify that someone might be experiencing grief during this upcoming holiday season?

Grieving symptoms are often difficult to identify from the individual’s perspective as most of the time, when someone is grieving, it manifests slowly with a gradual onset that other people could notice before the individual notices. It is often easier for others to notice changes in an individual’s mood and behavior before the individual does.

Symptoms someone might be experiencing Grief

“They might not be answering the phone, they’re canceling events, or someone might actually start noticing they’re feeling sad, crying, guilty about being here and the other person not being here. There can even be anger and irritability as well. Those can all be some symptoms that they’re struggling with grief during the holiday season,” Johnson elaborated.

Suggestions for someone that might be experiencing grief as the holiday season is fastly approaching.

Individuals may not always be aware of how their presence and kind words affect the people around them. Being self-aware, sensitive, and accountable to others when you are going through a difficult time is vital. Knowing how your behavior affects other people is important, especially when they are trying to support you. Ideally, consider seeking professional help during this time to avoid such a situation so that you can also evaluate your condition and set proper expectations for what might happen and how it might affect you and the people around you.

This subject is also relevant to the family, friends, and loved ones of those who suffer from mental health conditions like grief, trauma, and depression.

Indeed, people with grieving-related issues or struggles may experience difficulty interacting during this time of the year. It is because the holiday season often triggers memories of past losses or painful events. Getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season can be easy, but we must take a step back and remember that we are still loved, understood, and supported by our family, friends, or someone who always cares. Remember never to let holiday blues prevent you from taking care of yourself, especially during this season that only comes once a year.

Mental health is a topic that is often overlooked during the holiday season. It’s vital to be aware and sensitive to how other people might be feeling and to take steps to ensure that we are thriving. It’s important to take action to protect our well-being and to be aware of how we feel and its impact on others.

“As the holidays are coming, I want to encourage others to be sensitive to what others may be experiencing. Be intentional in reaching out and checking on loved ones, family, and friends. Invite someone that might be lonely during the holiday season over to eat,” Johnson addressed to conclude the discussion.

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