As the holiday season’s spirit and cheer kick in, it can be hard to imagine feeling glum.

But for the 3.3 million Americans suffering from anxiety — plus millions more suffering from related conditions like depression and OCD — the expectations of joy and merriment can backfire, triggering hopelessness and causing symptoms to flare.

That’s because the mere thought of trying to meet these expectations can be overwhelming, explains. People with anxiety and related mental health conditions imagine that others have found “perfection” in a special day, meal, gift or moment and that they are experiencing immense, unbridled joy.

Not experiencing this joy themselves, those suffering feel frustrated, flawed, ashamed and left out. Which in turn aggravates the symptoms of depression, anxiety and OCD.

But there’s a way to help, we’ve asked our special guest: Dr Amandia Speakes-Lewis to join us.

* What can people do to alleviate the stressors of the holidays?

Dr Amandia Speakes-Lewis
Chair, Social Work