‘Try not to isolate’: Experts share how to cope with grief during holidays

South Texas Mental Health Experts share how to cope with anxiety, grief and depression during end of year holidays.

SAN ANTONIO – What is referred to as the most wonderful time of the year can be the most difficult for others.

South Texas Health System Director of Assessment and Referral, Linda Cantu, says the end of year holiday season can possibly bring emotions of reoccurring sadness, depression, or anxiety.

“This time period is a time of joy and celebration and people want to experience that but, at the same time, they’re feeling guilty about having that sense of wanting to be joyful,” Cantu explained.

For nearly seven years, it’s a feeling Janie Edwards still experiences after her son was murdered at The Preserve at Westover Hills apartments on the 1500 block of Northwest crossroads near Interstate Loop 410 on San Antonio’s westside.

“There was a black SUV that drove up and fired twice. My son…hitting him once…my son passed away,” Edwards shared.

The person responsible for pulling the trigger is still on the run. Sometimes that feeling alone forces Edwards in a space of grief and anxiety.

“It’s very hard because my son should be here with his family. He should be here with his mother. He should be going on with his life,”

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) three in five people feel their mental health is negatively impacted by the holidays. CEO and Executive Director of the Ecumenical Center, Mary Beth Fisk, says avoiding setting high expectations helps.

“Allow yourself to be where you are…be around other folks. Be around your loved ones as well,” Fisk said.

She says it’s comforting being around close family and friends.

“Participate in what you feel like you can and try not to isolate,”

Edwards is not waiting for time to heal the wounds of her grieving heart. She is using health copy skills daily.

“Just the memories that I had with him, the Christmas that I spent with him, that God gave me with him. I think about it and that’s what gets me going,” Edwards said.

If you have any details that could assist San Antonio Police Detectives and Janie Edwards, contact SAPD Crime Stoppers at 210-224-STOP (7867), text CRIMES (274637).

About the Authors

Adam Barraza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12 and an El Paso native. He interned at KVIA, the local ABC affiliate, while still in high school. He then moved to San Antonio and, after earning a degree from San Antonio College and the University of the Incarnate Word, started working in news. He’s also a diehard Dodgers fan and an avid sneakerhead.

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