CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WCAV) -- The Christmas season is recognized as the most most wonderful time of the year, where families come together to exchange gifts and spend time with one another.
For some, however, all that Christmas cheer and the bright holiday lights can bring them to a very dark place.
'"For people like me who are already predisposed or prone to depression, the holidays can be very very challenging just based on expectations," said Myra Anderson, who suffered from depression and is now a mental health advocate. "It could even be a strained relationship with family."
Anderson says she battled depression for more than 20 years. She said that she wanted to help people, because depression is often misunderstood.
"There is a common misconception that people can just pull themselves up or snap out of it," said Anderson. "And that's not really the case. I feel like since I've been through it myself, I'm more empathetic and understanding to other people."
Sometimes the holidays can get hard, but she tries not to over commit herself.
"I say it's OK if I want to go over my family members house, and I don't stay for four hours," said Anderson. "I just tell myself I will stay for one hour."
She uses exercise as an outlet for days she's feeling down.
"I exercise every day, but it becomes a top priority during a time when I already know that I'm more prone," said Anderson.
She says this Christmas isn't as challenging as it has been before. This year, what makes her the most happy is that Christmas falls on a Sunday, and she can worship in the house of the Lord.
"So if nothing else, that makes this Christmas a little less depressing, knowing that I will have a strong connection to my faith on Christmas day," said Anderson.