CULLMAN, Ala. – Although for most, the holidays bring many fun events and family time, for others, they can be reminders of loss and loneliness. The bat of seasonal depression often sweeps in when the days get shorter and the night appears earlier each day.
Cullman County Coroner Jeremy Kilpatrick said as of November 1, 2021, in the county there have been 24 overdoses, 19 suicides and four homicides. The winter months and holidays are often a time of painful memories of loss, often triggering loneliness. It’s a pivotal time to check on your neighbors, loved ones and those who might struggle with seasonal depression.
Cullman County resident Jessica Wynn experienced suicide firsthand at the loss of her husband in 2016, She said she struggles herself with seasonal depression.
“One of the main ways it affects me is by being tired all day, with no energy or will power to do anything,” Wynn said. “I absolutely feel worthless most days. A lot of people would never know the struggle going on inside of other people because many hide it so well with a smile, including me.”
She said she may be overly emotional, but hides it from those closest to her, and often, the holidays are the hardest.
“After losing Nick, we still celebrate Christmas with his family and keep in touch,” Wynn said. “We eat with his family every week and even though we enjoy it, there is still a dread about going. Being around everyone is a constant reminder of what we lost. There is always that thought why we were not enough for him to stay. My kids struggle with social anxiety and depression. During the winter and holidays, there’s always a guilt of moving on or catching yourself having a good time and feeling guilty. It’s really important to check on those around who struggle with depression because it’s a daily battle.”
“The Cullman County Sheriff’s Office would like to encourage everyone to remain diligent this holiday and winter season,” Sheriff Matt Gentry said.
“Enjoy the time but do your part to keep yourselves and your loved ones safe. The holidays can be a very trying time for some. Please reach out to your family and friends and check on their health and well-being during this time. We, here at the Sheriff’s Office, would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.”
CPD Public Relations Officer Adam Clark said to remember to check on loved ones who are alone.
“It is very important to remember to call and check on your loved ones,” Clark said. “Especially if they are alone. The holidays can be a very lonely and depressing time for some people. If anyone needs any help, please contact the Cullman Police Department, we can talk and/or can get them in touch with a mental health professional.”
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