Ironically, taking antidepressants is making me more aware of my depression. Or perhaps making it worse, I don’t know yet. Travis is keeping close tabs on me and will make me go to the doctor if I get any worse, don’t worry. Meanwhile I’ve found my thoughts turning to a favorite book of mine. It’s called Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation by Parker J. Palmer. In it is one of the best descriptions of depression I have ever read. So I am going to share a brief passage from the book here for you, because right now I have no words of my own.
“…depression demands that we reject simplistic answers, both ‘religious’ and ‘scientific,’ and learn to embrace mystery, something our culture resists. Mystery surround every deep experience of the human heart: the deeper we go into the heart’s darkness or its light, the closer we get to the ultimate mystery of God. But our culture wants to turn mysteries into puzzles to be explained or problems to be solved, because maintaining the illusion that we can ‘straighten things out’ makes us feel powerful. Yet mysteries never yield to solutions or fixes–and when we pretend that they do, life becomes not only more banal but also more hopeless, because the fixes never work.
Embracing the mystery of depression does not mean passivity or resignation. It means moving into a field of forces that seem alien but is in fact one’s deepest self. It means waiting, watching, listening, suffering, and gathering whatever self-knowledge one can–and then making choices based on that knowledge, no matter how difficult. One begins the slow walk back to health by choosing each day things that enliven one’s selfhood and resisting things that do not.”
There is much more in the book that digs into depression, but to pull out just samples would be too little, and I think sharing the entire chapter is too much. So if you come across the book, please pick up a copy and spend some time in it. There is a great deal of wisdom in the pages, not just about depression but about life.