January is Suicide Prevention Month, and suicide has been heavy on my heart the last several weeks as I know so many people deal with depression during the month of January here in the northeast. In our neck of the woods, the world is cold, the days are short, and, as holidays end, people are feeling the lost sunlight and lost joy. I begin seeing the “heavy hearted” come through my office at the end of November when sunlight reduces and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) rises. It’s a powerless place to feel the heaviness of sadness and feel trapped by it. I can remember one winter years ago when the sadness of depression kept me glued to the sofa, powerless to make choices because my brain was so full of foggy thoughts. I, too, understand what depression desires to rip out of our heart: our joy. So this month has become the month I challenge people to fight for joy. To fight to find joy they fail to see as the fog of depression attempts to roll in and steal their sightline. I tell people if they feel the depression fog trying to roll in they need to change position so they can continue to see joy. This is the month to have indoor picnics, plan trips to the art museum, do crafts, try the new Thai restaurant, etc. You need to plan your driving route through and around the fog. It takes careful planning and careful driving to be aware of where you are driving through fog. As the fog of winter depression attempts to roll in, plan careful road trips with destinations of joy all through the next several months and invite others to join you. There is no greater medicine than the laughter of friends also trying to find their way through the fog with us and we need to reassure each other as we drive this path.
Dear God, In the next several months show us where to direct our eyes, show us who to travel with, and show us destinations of joy to move toward so that we don’t let the fog mess up our sightline.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10New International Version (NIV) 9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.