Editorial: Help in a dark time

Janus, the Roman god for whom the month of January is named, is most often depicted with a double- faced head. This is appropriate, since it seems January is a month you can either love or hate.
It’s a long, cold, dark month. For people who enjoy winter sports, it’s no problem. You go out in the fresh air, you get some exercise, you come in and indulge in some comfort food.
But for many people January can be a rough patch. With the lights and festivities of the December holidays in our rear-view mirror, January can be a difficult month to get through. The shortage of daylight contributes to seasonal affective disorder, which can make people feel sluggish and depressed. Those coping with personal difficulties — particularly illness or the death of a family member — can find it particularly trying.
Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County is offering two programs next month for people in especially stressful situations. A seven-week support group for caregivers begins Jan. 12, and will meet every Tuesday afternoon from 1 to 2:30, through Feb. 23. Caring for a loved one who is ill can be stressful to the point of debilitating. Being elderly, having to work, or having the responsibility of caring for a family adds to the difficulties a caregiver faces. Often, those who care for someone seriously ill find they have no life of their own when their calendar is filled with doctor and therapy appointments. It can be a struggle to accomplish routine tasks such as food shopping, laundry, and the like.
At this support group, caregivers will be able to talk with others who truly understand what they are faced with every day.
Adults who are coping with the loss of a loved one may partake in an eight-week bereavement support group that meets on Tuesday evenings from 6 to 7:30, beginning Jan. 12. The feelings that arise with the death of a loved one, be it a spouse, parent, sibling, or close friend, can be complicated. It can be difficult for people to understand why they feel the way they do, but being with others who understand the depth of their loss can perhaps validate those feelings and help begin the process of healing.
Both groups will meet at the nursing agency’s offices in the Health and Wellness Center at 761 Main Avenue (Route 7), on the Wilton-Norwalk town line. Both groups are free, but registration is required. Call 203-834-6341, ext. 255.