I have been listening to a wonderful audio interview with author/educator, Parker Palmer produced by a company called, Sounds True. Check out their website. Its catalog of authors address wellness, meditation, spirituality and personal growth is simply amazing.
Parker is currently 70 years old and a Quaker. In the interview, he recounts the three major episodes of clinical depression he went through during his life. He said some insightful things to say about those experiences. He doesn’t believe in “formulas” or “How-to-Lists” to cope with depression. He speaks about depression in the context of his spirituality:
“Perhaps, the answer is that my ravaged mind rails against even the idea of God, but something deeper in me calls out as if God might answer. ‘There are no foxholes,’ I guess, and depression is the deepest and deadliest foxhole I’ve been in. It may be the ‘dark night of the soul’ that the mystics talk about but in depression it is not so much that one becomes lost in the dark as that one becomes the dark. I have never been able to ‘do theology’ when I am in this state; the best I’ve been able to do is hang on. Only later, in the light of day, am I able to understand that God walked with me in the darkness even though I could not feel God’s presence at the time.”
Later, he talks about how he survived his depression: he “slogged through it.” And maybe, sometimes, that’s all we can do. While we may feel that a depression will never end, it’s important to remember that it always does and we can use that knowledge to slog through it.