What Happens When The ‘Holiday Blues’ Don’t Get Better

If holiday melodies are to be believed, this should be the most wonderful time of the year. Holiday festivities are abundant, families are arranging seasonal get-togethers, and retail merchandisers want everyone to be full of holiday joy.

Yet this rosy picture is certainly not everyone’s reality.

For many, the December holiday season can instead be an incredibly difficult time. Planning those family get-togethers can mean rekindling uncomfortable relationships, or encountering family members that you’re grateful to only see once a year. Holiday shopping is a barrage of consumerism, with advertisers glossing over-bloated spending and overstretched credit cards. And while holiday treats are delicious, typical holiday weight gain leaves most of us feeling tired and sluggish heading into the new year.

Most of us will perk ourselves back up in January, with lofty New Year’s resolutions and expensive gym memberships. However not all ‘holiday blues’ are seasonal, and it does not always magically go away with the flick of a calendar page.

Depression is a serious medical illness, and for a number of Canadians, it is an unpleasant reality. While still sometimes misunderstood as just ‘feeling sad,’ clinical depression can present with a variety of accompanying symptoms, many of which have little resemblance to one’s disposition. Often, patients will visit their doctor complaining of a variety of physical, unexplained ailments only to be diagnosed with depression as the underlying cause of their issues. Patients are surprised to learn that their aches, fatigue, or difficulty focusing may be caused by a mental illness – which does not make the symptoms any less physical.

While some living with depression try their hardest to maintain a ‘normal’ routine, working full or even part-time coping with depression is not easy. Employees with depression can often be lethargic, can be easily distracted in meetings, may have difficulty with concentration, and their moods may be fluctuating and unstable.

Even though human rights law requires employers to be accommodating, the reality is that some individuals with depression may simply be too ill to work. In fact, they may not be able to return to work in the immediate future, and sometimes, not at all.

What happens next can quickly become a blur. Employers are very often at a loss for how to support employees suffering from depression, and what options may be available to each of them. Benefits providers usually offer short-term disability (“STD”) and long-term disability (“LTD”) coverage, but navigating the benefits process is complex, especially for someone who is already unwell and having difficulty focusing.

Depression is often an invisible illness, and sadly can be invisible to insurance companies as well. Too often, individuals making insurance claims for depression have their benefits denied, with companies often saying that they have insufficient medical information on how one’s disability impacts their ability to work. Without this evidence, insurers claim that they have difficulty understanding the restrictions and limitations that would prevent someone from working at full capacity. Fighting an often invisible illness like depression is so often a battle to have one’s symptoms taken seriously, and these denials during a health crisis only serve to add insult to injury.

But a denial is not the end of the road. Disability lawyers make it their mission to go to bat for you when your insurance claim is denied, and fight for the benefits you deserve. They will work with you to gather all of the facts and evidence in order to assess your case, and advise you on the best method to get you the results that you deserve.

Remember, the holiday blues aren’t easy, and they don’t always magically disappear in the new year. But if your depression requires you to take an extended leave from work, disability lawyers are there to make sure that you can make getting better your primary focus.

If you wish to discuss these options with a lawyer, the lawyers at MK Disability Lawyers have decades of specialized experience dealing with disability cases. We would be happy to provide you with a free consultation, during which we can discuss these options and answer your many questions. Please contact us at info@mkisabilitylaweyers.com. We are here to help.

The preceding is not intended to be legal advice. This blog is available for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog, you understand that there is no solicitor-client relationship between you and the blog publisher. The blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed lawyer in your jurisdiction. If your employment has been terminated because of your disability and you need legal advice, contact a lawyer specializing in disability law.