Deck the halls with boughs of holly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Tis’ the season to be jolly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Tis the season to be jolly, right? Yet in times past, the month of December was reported to have depression and suicide rates peaked. However, as I’ve researched this topic, I’m finding that what was previously reported is now being deemed as a myth. It seems that depression and suicide attempts (or actually committing suicide) rise during the Spring and Summer according to about half of my sources.
Honestly, I can’t say that I agree with my collogues’ recent discovery of declining numbers among the depressed and suicidal in the winter months or around the holiday season. On the flip side, other sources and collogues agree that there is a definite increase in cases of depression and suicide during this time of year. This won’t turn into a debate of who’s right and who’s wrong, my goal is to help snuff out depression and suicide altogether.
Through personal experience and knowledge gained by working with the depressed and suicidal I can attest to the multi-facets that are attached with the holiday season – The good, the bad, and the ugh.
The Good: Don’t’ get me wrong, I enjoy the holidays. It’s the time of year when we come together in celebration of our Savior’s birth. During this season we tend to be a little more open to receiving Christ as well as sharing Him with others, more giving to those who are less fortunate, and more caring to our fellow man in general. It’s a time to gather with loved ones (family and friends), remembering those we’ve lost along the way while reminiscing about the good old days. We eat (boy do we eat) and we are merry. In addition, some of us are more excited about giving than we are about receiving during this time of year.
The Bad: The holidays also trigger a temporary “feel good” sensation, and for those of us who struggle with depression – that’s a welcomed feeling (even if it doesn’t last). However, if you battle with depression or feelings of prolonged sadness (or worse) without apparent reason (and I use that term loosely), you are painfully aware that temporary good feelings simply won’t cut it.
Please understand that the holidays will no more cure (or contain) depression or suicidal tendencies than a Band-Aid will cure (or contain) a deadly disease. Don’t be duped by the holiday hype because it will not last. Santa will never be able to do what the Savior has already done, there is actually no comparison whatsoever between the two.
Now, although Christmas is the most popular and widely celebrated holiday, the meaning of Christmas has been diluted with sugar-plum visions that give false hope based on materials. If your hope is in anything outside of Christ it will be dashed.
The day we celebrate the birth of the Savior has been reduced to a mere profit making opportunity which also happens to be the largest revenue generating contingencies in the industry. The Christ in Christmas has been replaced with the commercial instead.Our media outlets are flooded with countless advertisements bombarding us with innuendos that a product (disguised as a “gift”) will bring us some level of instant gratification and happiness, when in fact it will never satisfy our needs. No object can fill the role that was solely meant for God. Note that the ultimate gift is Christ Himself – He gave His life for us to live. He is truly the gift that keeps on giving (all year round).
The Ugh: Bah Hum B-ugh! If you or someone you know is fighting with depression or is suicidal your/their demeanor during the holiday season may be sort of *shrugs* blah. Sometimes, it’s hard to pretend to be jolly on the outside if you feel like everything is falling apart on the inside. The expectations add pressure to the person who may already feel like they’re about to break under the weight of it all. Also consider that some people are hiding tragic situations they are facing and are suffering in silence. The simple act of getting out of bed is like pulling teeth and the holidays alone cannot penetrate the walls created by their present dire circumstances. However, there is One who has the power to annihilate every wall with His amazing love. It is He alone who is able.
In spite of the good, the bad, and the ugh that are sometimes accompanied with the holidays, be comforted in knowing that our faithful heavenly Father is our emotional stability. He wavers not. No matter the rhyme or reason, He is the same in every season.Praying that you remain steadfast in Christ, both in and out of season, Takiela