The lights are twinkling in neighbors’ decorated yards, and as you drive down the street you can see Christmas trees shining bright through living room windows. Stores are busy and parking lots full. Mail boxes are filled with cards and letters recounting happy days and well wishes for the days to come. Calendars are crowded with holiday events from Christmas parties to holiday concerts and tree lighting ceremonies. Music on the radio and in stores offer hopes of merriment, peace, and joy. Even normal television programming is usurped by shows about reindeers, snowmen, and families reuniting to live “happily ever after.” Yes, it is that time of year that is festive and bright.
But not everyone experiences “holiday cheer” during this time of year. For some, it is a very lonely and sad time. The holidays are not always a happy time for people, and depression is a very real experience for many. Even in the classics like “A Christmas Carol” to “Frankenstein” depression is a common theme. Great men of the Bible, including David, the author of Psalms, suffered from depression. In the United States, approximately 30,000 people die by suicide every year, and many more people attempt suicide. It is, however, a myth that more people commit suicide during the holidays than at any other time of the year. In actuality, more people commit suicide in the spring.
Depression is quite prevalent, and for that reason, I plan on taking the next several blog posts to have a very real discussion about depression. I invite you to submit your comments and questions. Perhaps you have never experienced depression, but statistics suggest you know someone who has, and you probably know someone who is suffering with depression right now.
There are several factors that may contribute to depression, especially during the holidays. I will discuss many of those, as well as ways to consider combatting them. While I agree that “knowledge is power,” I more strongly believe that applied knowledge is power. I hope you will join me.