I was listening to a cd the other day about the Advent season, and the presenter mentioned the large number of people who suffer from depression during the holiday season.
In fact, these days, which should be filled with joy, show a marked increase of suicides. How tragic.
In his spiritual exercises, St. Ignatius wrote that we all experience times of consolation and times of desolation. The holiday season should be times of great consolation. But for those who feel depressed and down, St. Ignatius would say we are experiencing desolation.
Times of desolation are marked by, among other things, negative feelings, withdrawal from things that normally make us happy, and a lack of energy.
Not that there is always an easy fix to such feelings, those who might be feeling a bit down during this time of year might try some of these suggestions, which are rooted in Ignatian Spirituality:
- As God to help you.
- Get outside and take a walk.
- Seek out the companionship of others.
- Be quiet with God.
- Seek out professional help if needed.
- Bring to mind happy times, and the joy you experienced.
- Look for ways you can help someone else.
This is a very simplistic list, but I’m sure doing at least one, if not all of them can do a great deal to lift your spirits.
Sometimes, when we’re in a dark moment, it’s hard to think of the light. But we know from experience that better times will eventually come, just as the sun rises at the end of every night.