Blue Butterfly Glow
Page Title Tear

Section Home

General Information
Acute Responses to Loss
Assessing the Risk for Suicide
Holiday or Anyday Blues
Sudden, Accidental or Traumatic Death
September 11th Resources

Warning Signs & Symptoms
Complications of Grief
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Grief AIDE
How to Help a Grieving Person
How to Help a Grieving Child
Ways of Coping
Poems & Quotes 
Site Map

JofH Ethics Logo This website
follows the HON Code of Conduct
Leaving Site , the AMA's
Guidelines for Medical & Health Information Sites on the Internet Leaving Site
and the eHealth Code of Ethics Leaving Site.

Site created with Zope. Zope Logo

. .
~ The Blues: Holiday or Anyday ~
I met a girl who sang the blues and I asked her for some happy news,
but she just smiled and turned away.
Don McLean

"The Blues" tend to be a short-lived response lasting only a few days to a few weeks around the holiday season or a particular life-changing event e.g. birth of a child, graduating from high school or college, sending a child off to school. Characteristics of the Blues is that the emotions—sadness, loneliness, depression, anxiety—although intense and unsetteling, are generally short-lived and usually subside within a few weeks once a daily routine is resumed.

The Blues can occur during or after the holidays "Holiday Blues", or after the birth of a child "Postpartum Blues." The Holiday Blues often a result of a mis-match between high expectations for the perfect holiday combined with memories of holidays past and loved ones no longer present and the reality of the present holiday. Postpartum Blues may occur following the birth of a baby, as the mother adjusts to a life forever changed. The "Empty Nest Syndrome" could also be viewed as another variation of The Blues.

Blues vs. Depression
A person experiencing the Blues, especially symptoms of hopelessness and depression consistently for more than two weeks or if the feelings intensify, a simple case of the blues may in reality be a serious case of depression. With Depression, the symptoms are present nearly every day and persist for the majority of the day for at least 2 weeks, occurring together during the same time frame, and causing a level of distress or impairment that interferes with important aspects of daily life e.g. work, self care and social activities.

Concerning symptoms include:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or empty mood.
  • Sleeping too much or too little, middle-of-the night or early morning waking.
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased appetite and weight gain.
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities, including sex.
  • Irritability or restlessness.
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating, remembering or making decisions.
  • Fatigue or loss of energy.
  • Thoughts of death or suicide.
  • Feeling inappropriate guilt, hopelessness or worthlessness.
Someone experiencing the "blues" for more than two weeks weeks should seek professional help from physicians, mental health care providers, clergy, crisis lines, support groups, or mental health centers. Talking with a professional or taking a mental health screening test can help assess whether it's the "blues" or depression. Those with suicidal thoughts or ideation need to seek immediate care with their physician, crisis line or the nearest hospital emergency department.

The Blues & Grief
With many losses, the pain never entirely departs, rather it becomes a part of the bereaved, tucked away in a corner somewhere in the deep recesses of the heart. What happens is that over time the intense initial painful emotions lessen to a level that allows the grieving person to function. There it remains at a constant low level ache, which with time may be overridden. The grief is no longer a daily all-consuming emotion.

One of the side affects of the grief response is experiencing periodic bouts of "The Blues" triggered by old memories and sudden, unexpected reminders that can bring the intensity of the grief feelings back anew. These are referred to as "STUG" responses by Therese Rando or "Subsequent, Temporary, Upsurges of Grief." In her book Treament of Complicated Mourning Rando describes a STUG reactions as "brief periods of intense grief which occur when a catalyst reminds one of the absence of the loved one or resurrects memories of the death, the loved one, or feelings about the loss. It is important for the grieving person and their healthcare providers both to recognize that such reactions are usually healthy and understandable, but are often incorrectly diagnosed as "pathological" responses.

For More Information
This site has a variety of articles written about the Blues—Holiday or Anyday. There are also articles with information pertaining to some of the complications of "The Blues" namely depression and suicide. Finally several links are included for ways of dealing with the blues. Some of the resources are new articles, others are links to information from the original version of Journey of Hearts.™ Fortunately, much of the information on grief and loss is timeless so the main content on grief and loss created for the original version of the site is still accurate, informative and relevant.

        Time does restore to us our quiet joy
        in the spiritual presence of those we love,
        so that we learn to remember without pain,
        and to speak
        without choking up with tears.

        But all our lives we will be subject
        to sudden small reminders
        which will bring all the old loss back, overwhelmingly.

Elisabeth Watson

See the Emergency 911 Page for links to immediate resources
if you are feeling helpless, hopeless, overwhelmingly depressed, or suicidal.

Home | A Healing Place | Loss & Grief | Emergency Pick-Me-Ups | Condolence & Sympathy
What's New? | Resources | Transitional Medicine | Butterflies & Blazes
About this Site | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
Information on this site is designed to support, not replace, an existing physician-patient, provider-patient relationship. We regret that we are unable to answer any specific medical, mental or health related emails. Please contact your health care provider if you need specific questions answered. Terms of Use and Privacy Statement.
All material, unless otherwise specified, is © 1997-2003 by Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, MS of Journey of Hearts. Information on this site may be shared with others, but not in for-profit ventures without permission.
For more information see our full Copyright.

To contact the Domain Designer regarding the website or to use materials on this website send email to
Blue Butterfly Tear

Last update Sept. 11, 2002