Depression: Traveling Light in the times of Darkness
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Cowper participated in many acts of charity. He did not have his own money, but others would send him money for the poor, and he distributed it to those most in need; another means of making a difference. Perhaps in our day medications and doctors could have helped Cowper lead a stable life. Sadly, he died in his last bout of severe depression and mental illness. He did, however, live to the age of 68, and left a legacy of poetry and letters. He taught that some good could come from suffering. Cowper wrote in his most famous hymn:. Do you agree? There can be light shining through the darkness.
The Works of William Cowper , edited by T. Grimshawe, London: William Tegg, London: Johnson, The Cowper and Newton Museum in Olney, in southern England, is a fascinating place to visit if you ever get a chance. I thoroughly enjoyed your beautifully written, informative piece on William Cowper. He is a much neglected poet who wrote some of the finest Christian poetry in the English language. Like Like.
How to Find the Light When Depression Makes Things Seem Their Darkest
Brenda, Greg and I visited Olney and were very touched by the relationship between Newton and Cowper and also the life of Cowper. Thanks, Sally! We went to that museum interested in Newton, but it got me much more interested in Cowper.
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His struggle against depression fascinates and inspires me. He has struggled, and yet he has found God to be faithful. Spurgeon, who also experienced bouts of discouragement, comes to mind …. Thanks, Laura. Yes, I can listen to that hymn over and over, and it encourages me each time. Cowper spent a lot of time in the darkness; but without the darkness, how can we value the light?
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I had reason to share this post with others, for various reasons. Please visit my Christian Nature Poetry Blog.
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This mostly has poems by others, but a few of my own. Cowper will show up! No wonder residents here eagerly await the passing of winter solstice, the psychological turning point toward spring. The sun will not rise again in Barrow for another month after the solstice, which falls on Wednesday.
For those in Barrow, a largely Inupiat Eskimo town of 4,, that day marks the countdown to daylight, which is celebrated in a three-day April festival. Winter is a drag to some extent for one out of five Americans, studies suggest. A smaller fraction - mostly women and young adults - suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of depression stemming from decreased daylight.
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Nearly 10 percent of Alaskans suffer from the disorder to some degree, according to a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. Symptoms include lethargy, a heightened desire for sleep, cravings for carbohydrates, feelings of melancholy, fuzzy thinking and loss of libido or sociability, said Suzanne Womack Strisik, an assistant psychology professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Severe cases can be debilitating, even prompting thoughts of suicide.
Experts say, however, suicide rates actually peak with increasing spring light. Strisik said. Can light therapy treat non-seasonal depression too? Content by Healthgrades. Rosenthal recommends building in time for a morning walk after sunrise to make the most of the newly available light or to get a light therapy box to use inside your home. Even artificial light or bright rooms can help keep seasonal depression at bay. The first step is for people with seasonal depression to accept it and take it seriously, he said.
It's not like a broken leg, where people will open the door for you. Because this can be common in children and young adults in the fall and winter, Rosenthal suggests placing a light box in a central place where the family can experience it together, without making it feel clinical. Winter depression, seasonal affective disorder and regular depression can range from mild to debilitating, but Rosenthal has tips that have helped his patients overcome its disabling effects.
The first step is recognizing it as a legitimate problem and realizing that you don't have to muscle through it yourself, he said. Invest in a light box or place more lamps throughout the house. Make sure to turn them on when you get home. It's good to combine exercise and light. If it's raining or dark when you want to exercise, place a light box in front of your exercise machine or workout space. Don't take a deadline just after your worst time of year for seasonal depression.
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Work on it when your mind is working well. Waking up to bright light is better than waking up to dark surroundings. The advantage is short-lived.