Parker Palmer, Andrew Solomon, and Anita Barrows — The Soul in Depression
February 26, 2009

One in ten Americans, and even more dramatically, about one in four women, will experience clinical depression at some point in their lives. We take an intimate look at the spiritual dimensions of this illness and its aftermath.




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Featured Writings

Poems by Rainer Maria Rilke

Ich liebe meines Wesens Dunkelstunden
Dich wundert nicht des Sturmes Wucht

Poems by Anita Barrows

Questo muro
Heart Work

Psalms of the Old Testament

The following psalms taken from the Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures can be helpful examples for prayer and meditation during and after depression.

Passage from The Winter's Tale

With relation to the use of medications, Solomon describes in the The Noonday Demon the current, ongoing debate about the natural or authentic self. He says this is not new, but an age-old debate:

Pertinent Posts from the On Being Blog

The vulnerability of revisiting this conversation reminds Krista to embrace "dark times as expressions of human vitality."

Krista finds liberation in the graceful transitioning instead of only the outcome.

If you've had a long day and are looking for a moment of reflection, watch Carolina LaBranche's lovely two-minute homage to her mother.

Researchers are finding that students who show signs of depression clearly have different patterns of Internet use.

About the Image

"Anziano alla stazione"

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The gods are unkind...

As someone of faith who has been living with clinical depression for the past six or seven years, I appreciate thoughtful resources such as this.

This is so utterly timely! thank you, Krista Tippet!

There is an unfortunate tendency in this interview--especially in last guest-- to spiritually exalt depression. the dark night of the soul is more like white noise, elevator muzak, furniture polish, a shopping mall, sunday light on an overstuffed house. it shrieks and scratches. its shrill or drones. it is not an experience of depth. that is sadness not depression.

I'm curled like a shrimp...holding my innerds....the pain. I haven spent so many tears in yearslllll I'm older and definitaly not wiser I hear what you say...Listening to TED talks... and Krista you've saved me more times than you can imagine.I will keep on keeping on my dog and mother assume I'll be here...but I keep alone. What I would give to be in a Friends feel the silence..the space My dx depression...tried too many meds. It's just my life.
how do I send this. I need to reach out even through email but am stuck.

Thanks for this program. I appreciate hearing others talk of their experiences dealing with depression.

I've suffered most of my life with depression, anxiety, and bi-polar disorder and spent 16 years on various pharmaceutical cocktails. Three years ago I stopped taking all my medications and began practicing Theravada Buddhism. True, I feel depressed and anxious much of the time, but I am thankful for the clarity that I've gained from seeing myself as I am rather than through the veil of chemicals. I appreciate the seconds (sometimes minutes) during meditation, where patches of sky appear behind the dark clouds, when I can take deep breaths and turn towards the suffering and see it soften. This is finding ground in groundlessness, knowing that the worst is endurable, and that I've made it to the other side, however briefly, with the support of the teachings and the practice.

Voices on the Radio

is author of The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, which won the National Book Award in 2001.

is an educator, activist, and author of Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation.

is a poet and psychologist, and translator of Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God

Production Credits

Host/Producer: Krista Tippett

Managing Producer: Kate Moos

Senior Producer: Mitch Hanley

Producer: Colleen Scheck

Associate Producer: Shiraz Janjua

Associate Producer: Rob McGinley Myers

Associate Producer: Nancy Rosenbaum

Online Editor/Producer: Trent Gilliss

Associate Web Producer: Andrew Dayton

Production Intern: Amara Hark-Weber