The Other Side Of Christmas
At a time of year when people are singing Christmas Carols, shopping for loved ones, wrapping gifts, listening to Christmas music, drinking hot chocolate or whatever tradition people have for the holidays, there are also, hundreds of people who are depressed. Depression is a serious situation that if goes unnoticed or untreated can result in suicide. This particular holiday season is unfortunately when suicide rates are at an alarming peak. This season is also when people who deal with depression feel the most hopeless.
I am, unfortunately one of those people who battle depression, even more so during Christmas. I have been battling depression since I was a little girl. My mom Committed suicide when I was only nine years old just after Christmas, leaving me extremely sad and alone. As a result I experienced feelings of hopelessness and wanting to end my life. I felt like life wasn’t worth living, I felt like I had no purpose, or direction which was of course not true in fact, it was the furthest thing from the truth. Although, at the time I was feeling those things they were my truth. It took me well into adulthood, years of therapy, biblical study and prayer before I learned what triggered my depression as well as how to change my hopeless thinking.
Fortunately, I had people who reached out to me, praying for my well-being, and I had access to professional help. Some people are not as fortunate. Depression is often times suffered in silence and isolation, so you may not know your friend or loved one is suffering. Therefore, I would urge you to check on your friend or loved one if you have not heard from them in a while, or if you have invited them out and they declined more than twice. It may be time for a house visit, to let them know you miss them and love them. Often times depression makes you think no-one cares about you or loves you, that’s why it is important that you not only call, but go visit as well, that way they certain about your sincerity.
Although I now know my triggers for depression, and have the tools to combat the negative thoughts associated with it, at times those thoughts still get in my head. I’d like to share some things that have helped me, and I hope will help you as well. An attitude of gratitude is very helpful. I write down everything I’m grateful for, which is very difficult in the middle of depression. It’s hard to think of anything positive, but if you could just push beyond the pain and focus it can be done. At first you may have one thing and that’s enough at first, then one becomes two, then three then four. Before you know it, you have ten things written down on paper. The exercise simply takes your focus off the negative and puts it on the positive. The positive then becomes way bigger than the negative, the dark cloud begins to lift, you start to want to get out of bed, get dressed, socialize with others, and enjoy life.
Bonus, it is also important to know, understand, and believe the promises of God for our life. A lot of time depression has us unable to see a future for ourself. However when we know and believe the promises of God for our life we become stronger in the fight against depression. For example, God said he will never leave us or forsake us, he will supply all our needs, we are more than conquerors, we can do all things through him who gives us strength, He is our shepherd and we shall not want, he came that we may have life more abundantly, his plan is to give us a hope and a future, not to harm us, no weapon formed against us shall prosper. The list goes on and on. I encourage anyone who may be depressed this holiday season please use this as a guide, and if necessary get professional help.