Since the beginning of time, people have made sense of the rhythms of life through natural metaphors. One of the most famous passages describing these connections comes from Ecclesiastes 3:1 (and following): “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…”
Depression is common, yet little discussed within churches. This passage from Ecclesiastes can provide a helpful framework for talking about depression without putting people on the defensive. If we can talk about grief, we can talk about the melancholy without meaning that defines so many people’s experience of depression. But we have to commit to conversations that go beyond superficial chatter about how awful “wintery mix” is. The first step is to recognize the symptoms of depression. It’s also important to know that there are populations more vulnerable to depression – the young, old and women.
When we begin to examine the complexities of mental illness by talking about the weather, we quickly see how interconnected we all are. The seasons are a universal experience and an easy starting point. “How’s the weather treating you?” starts the conversation.
This message is excerpted from “Tis the season! For seasonal affective disorder…” by Mary Beth Button from the February 12, 2015, blog of the Women of the ELCA.
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