I never know when it will hit, but I do remember struggling sometimes as a teenager -- amid the love and light of the Christmas season, I became depressed. How could that be? I had a family and friends and lived in a safe, secure environment without want. I never did figure out what triggered the overwhelming feelings of emptiness and sadness that crept into my heart back then, and I still can't figure it out today.
So.....what is it like to be depressed during the Christmas season? I'm sure it's different for everyone, but for me, it's something like this:
*Depression is staring at the bare tree in the living room and not having the energy to decorate it and not caring if it ever gets done.
*Depression is looking at a stack of beautiful Christmas cards and not having the energy to address and mail them and not caring if they ever go out.
*Depression is holding an Advent calendar in your hands and realizing you're days behind in lifting the flaps and not caring because every day is just another major effort to get out of bed and get dressed.
*Depression is watching the available shopping days fly by and not having the energy to figure out gifts for everyone and hoping they'll graciously accept gift cards this year.
*Depression is listening to Christmas music and weeping because your father is no longer on Earth to celebrate his favorite season and your elderly mother is hours away and alone.
*Depression is not baking any cookies or making any crafts or attending any parties or concerts and being relieved that you don't have to engage.
*Depression is forcing yourself to attend church and to put on a sweet smile even though you usually love worshipping and fellowshipping with your brothers and sisters in Christ and even though your heart is out of tune.
*Depression is wanting to lie down and sleep until it's January 1st when you no longer have to see, smell, or hear all the festivities taking place around you but without you, even if it's your choice.
*Depression is thanking God for your precious little cat because making sure it has food and water and a clean litter box is pretty much your only reason for needing to be alive right now.
Please remember to pray for those who are struggling with depression this Christmas season. In spite of all the love, light, family, and friends, being jolly is just not on the agenda.