5 Ways to Survive January — the Most Depressing Month of the Year


The Scottish Borders in January 2010 during the worst Winter weather conditions in 20 years.January 24 is on record as being the most depressing day of the year. It’s not hard to figure out why. The bills come in from all those generous gifts you gave back when the holiday spirit had you feeling rich. The resolutions you made on December 31 are, well, broken. And it’s cold, dark, and dreary—the roads wear the kind of brown slush that is unbecoming.

However, my mood dips long before the 24th. It does a dive the Monday after the New Year—the first full week of January. I call it Yuck Monday or Yuck Week.

This week is Yuck Week.

I prepare to be down this week because it’s like clockwork. It has happened for as long as I can remember. Last year, it was especially severe. I was just emerging from a very deep and scary depression. The stress of Christmas numbed me, much like a sedative; I went into holiday gear—which is do, do, do, don’t think, think, think. However, hosting a family reunion proved to be too much. The dysfunction of my family of origin and the unresolved childhood pangs that I feel when I’m with my sisters and my mom was enough to break me.

Once they left, I couldn’t stop crying.

You’d think I’d learn from the mistakes of last year and be a bit gentler to myself. But the definition of insanity—doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results—applies here. Not only did I host a family reunion, but I launched a new community for persons with treatment-resistant depression. I am proud of the end product, but the stress involved in building it broke me.

On Yuck Monday, once again, I couldn’t stop crying.

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Therese Borchard
I am a writer and chaplain trying to live a simple life in Annapolis, Maryland.

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5 Responses
  1. Shanti

    Therese May God bless you always. May you keep on your good work educating us about depression. I am still trying to reach out to our daughter. She remains in denial.

  2. Deborah Meintel

    Therese I finally figured out how to sign up for your blog. I want to thank you for your book, The Pocket Therapist. I keep it available and re-read entries ongoing. I am so grateful for the support of your writing. I bought a copy for my friend as well. Just thank you so much for your clarity and love. Deborah

  3. john

    hi therese;

    not be a pain. lol but, suicides are actually highest in april and may. wouldn’t that make them the most depressive month(s)? i am too lazy to find a link, but i have read that info quite a few times.

    if i get motivated (doubtful) i’ll post some studies/statistics that show this.

    before i got depressed and knew really nothing about it, i thought the holiday season was the peak time for depression and suicide. as i mentioned i learned that this is not the case.

    i do know now as well about S.A.D., yet personally i struggle more as the days get longer. i think many with depression do.


    summer used to be my favorite season before all my stuff went down.

    thanks for your site.

    keep up the good work and fight.