could depression lead to a richer spiritual life?
can answer this question only after the fact, because in the
midst of severe clinical depression I have never felt anything
redeeming about it, spiritually or otherwise. But when I emerge
back into life, several things become clear. One is that the
darkness did not kill me, which makes all
darknesses more bearable—and since darkness is an inevitable part of the
cycle of spiritual life (as it is in the cycle of natural life) this is valuable
knowledge. Two, depression has taught me that there is something in me far
deeper and stronger and truer than my ego, my emotions, my intellect, or my
will. All of these faculties have failed me in depression, and if they were
all I had, I do not believe I would still be here to talk about the experience.
Deeper down there is a soul, or true self, or "that of God in every person" that
helps explain (for me, at least) where the real power of life resides. Three, the
experience of emerging from a living hell makes the rest of one's life more
precious, no matter how "ordinary" it may be. To
know that life is a gift, and to be grateful for that gift, are keys to a spiritual
life, keys that one is handed as depression yields to new life.