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Monday, December 09, 2002
      ( 1:37 PM ) Jackie  

'Tis the Season...No, Not THAT One

Is it the Winter Blahs,or perhaps alienation from Christianity, or even Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Any one or combination of these can really ruin the month of December, not to mention large chunks of November and January and beyond. And for someone already suffering from a depressive disorder, these can really knock you down if you're not prepared with some simple coping strategies.

Indeed, this is a time when many people contemplate, and commit, suicide. If you are among them, please make a call to a friend or family member, an acquaintance, the suicide hotline (1-800-suicide). For all of us, this is a good time to listen to others who may need our support.

One piece of advice for those with S.A.D.: Don't move to Alaska, the U.K., or those other northern climes where the reindeer really do cavort -- or at least graze in the tundra.

My personal response to alienation from Christianity, which I apparently share with such luminaries as St. Augustine--though for him it was more of a phase than a way of life -- is to celebrate the Winter Solstice.

The solstice has become my antidote not only to the Santas and the sacraments but also to the waning light. The shortest day is over. The light is returning. And I hold hope in that, even in this political time that does not seem very hopeful.

The solstice section on the religious tolerance website made me laugh, with it's ad for a group claiming you can lose 10 lbs by January 7. We can tolerate many religions but not fat! Fortunately, those ads change over time -- as does the season, as do depressive moods.

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Words and photos from Jackie in Oakland, CA. More I cannot tell you ... I won't know what it is until I do it.

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