Scott’s Thoughts: The Longest Night

“Just when I think I have learned the way to live, life changes.”

- Hugh Prather, (January 23, 1938 – November 15, 2010), American self-help writer, lay minister, and counselor.

Image of winter scenceLast week we witnessed the winter solstice. For those of you unfamiliar with the winter solstice, it is the precise moment the Northern Hemisphere is tilted its farthest from the sun, and usually occurs near the day when there is the least amount of daylight and the most darkness.

While the holiday season is a joyous time for many, for others it can be a dark time. The longest night of the year is a pretty apt metaphor for the type of depression which can settle in out of nowhere. Suddenly, all the light is gone.

The underlying causes for depression can be complex, and I urge anyone who is feeling depressed to seek professional help. Depression is widely regarded as a chronic, manageable disease, and while there are sophisticated prescription options available from healthcare providers, there’s a lot you can do to help cope with the darkness should it arrive.

The University of Michigan Depression center operates an online “Depression Toolkit” with a great deal of helpful advice. If you or someone you know suffers from depression, the site is well worth your time:

Depression toolkit

Finally, if you are feeling acutely despondent and need help now, please know that there is free, immediate assistance available from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255).

No matter how long the night, please know that you have value in this world, and that the daylight can and will make a return, however gradual.

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