Saturday, December 01, 2007

Depression and the Holidays

As you enter the fast-paced portion of the Christmas Season, you will encounter many in the who do not exhibit the holiday spirit. In fact, a lot of them will be depressed or manifest sadness.
For some, that feeling can easily be traced to the loss of a loved one or some memory of past yuletide seasons. For others, their depression will emerge due to finances or broken relationships. There will be those who find the pace of the season so hectic they fail to cope effectively. Many will be overcome with the thought of the relatives they must entertain, or church activities that take their families away. The point is — whatever the reason for radical mood swings or erratic behavior, they must be addressed or the whole meaning of the Christmas Season can be lost. That could even happen to you.

You think I'm kidding? A study by the Mental Health Administration (2004-2006) found that nearly two out of ten of us who serve in the personal care and service profession reported being depressed.

Major depression strikes 17 percent of Americans and government figures show about 30,000 a year commit suicide, according to USAToday.

How do you help the sorrowful or depressed person? For sure, pray for them and help that individual trace back to the cause of his or her situation. If the condition is ongoing or persistent, they will need to get professional assistance. Offer emotional support and, whatever you do, please do not just sweep that person's feelings "under the rug." They most likely are not faking and in time will get better, but you can't just say "snap out of it" — and, like the swipe of a magician's wand, expect everything to be better.

Here is a list of scriptures that might be helpful to you as you guide people back to wholeness:
  • "The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit" (Ps. 34:18).
  • "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones"(Prov. 17:22).
  • "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed: perplexed but not in despair" (2 Cor. 4:8).

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