We’re putting our show about depression on the air again this week. It’s been over two years since it has been broadcast, and, as always with rebroadcasts, we went in and refined and hopefully made it better. But this is essentially the show we created six years ago, which people discover all the time online.

Some have told us it has helped keep them alive. This kind of effect of our work is humbling and amazing beyond words. But in every way this show is unusual. It is more personally revealing for me than anything else we’ve done. I feel vulnerable knowing it will be out there in the ether again in coming days.

In my journal this week, as in the program script, I “disclose” that when we first created this program I took the making of it as an occasion to walk with some trepidation back through the spiritual territory of despair. I have a bit of the same sense now, airing it again, because that dark place seems a bit closer to me this February than I’m happy to admit. It’s a long, cold, depressing month in a frankly depressing moment in time, and I’m very tired.

As I prepared for those interviews years ago, and conducted them, I worried that peering down into that abyss again — even in memory, or vicariously through conversation with others — might send me into it. It did not. It was a clarifying, strengthening experience; one that made me grateful to be at a remove where I could in fact learn from depression rather than be enveloped by it. But I will stress here — as much for myself as for anyone reading — that we are not in a place to find spiritual enlightenment when we are in the throes of this illness.

Just in recent weeks, I had a new conversation with Parker Palmer, in which we both found wisdom on economic depression in some of the ways he had talked to me about clinical depression all those years ago. But hearing this show again right now, I’m personally most held and strangely comforted by Andrew Solomon and especially Anita Barrows’ insistence that emerging from depression — “healing” if you will — doesn’t mean leaving darkness behind. It means being aware and whole enough to accept dark months and dark times as expressions of human vitality.

Those of us who have struggled with depression live imprinted with its reality — and the terrifying possibility of its recurrence — ever after. It is a gift, albeit an uncomfortable one, to live on this side of health where I can accept darkness as a companion, not a teacher when it is as close as this, yet an essential thread of the life that is mine.

Share Your Reflection




i respond with admiration for your honesty on this issue.
this particular program has been a profound source of help to me, and i was so pleased to see it being rebroadcast, in the hope others might benefit.

recently my life came to what felt like a complete halt after a sustained depressive phase... during that halt, i gave this program repeated listens, even as i retreated from life and the world...

while i agree that in those times when coping with mere living is a feat enlightenment is near impossible, i somehow managed to find what i needed in it allthesame...
i found Palmer's lines about depression being "exhausting" and, "the hand of a friend pressing one down to a ground on which it is safe to stand" consistently pulling at me to listen deeper. i could agree on the exhaustion. but with little sense of will to survive, something in me felt frustration at waiting for the perspective that comes with time. with trepidation, but i'll probably look back on as more like defiance, i found myself giving myself up to the idea of the "hand of a friend" as being as true as my exhaustion. no fanfare, no dramatic revelation, but simple trust that Parker Palmer had learned a lesson and maybe i didn't need to wait a decade to see it proved right. i guess in my own way i threw in all my chips on it... a last ditch pitch...

and i began to feel my way through the experience as if the hand were present in the darkness. daring to ask the hand what it was pressing me down to. only time will allow me the opportunity to look back and see it all with perspective, to have any sense of enlightened meaning, to understand the gift of the dark companion...

but, it helped me turn to the safety and solidity of family and close friends over isolation, and pulled me forward into something like hope.
and so from what feels like a tiny, but nonetheless solid, patch of safe ground, for this program, and the others i listened to through the darkest days (including the L'arche pilgrimage, the jean vanier interview, the spirituality of addiction) you, Palmer, the other interviewees and the SoF crew, all have my sincere gratitude. as do those close to me who are helping to tend & protect this patch of safe ground.


I am glad that you -- 1LB -- really love to fly.

Genesis 2: 7

My mother is 80. She has many serious diseases in her body: from heart problems (she serves others), emphysema (she never smoked), depression (she has been always happy and singing with a beautiful voice), to colon cancer (she has assimilated life like it is). They appear and disappear. She says she is not feeling bad, or pain in her body, and knowing she is going to die, is unbelievable lucid to want to live until 90.

I told her last week: "Mother, you are so healthy." Her voice had a sonorous YES!. Her emphatic confirmation about that reality of feeling "good" in the middle of all her affections, kept our conversation active and fertile. She just want to learn how these "health issues" are going in her life. Getting ready with the questions for the physicians is a therapy for her: "I have some moments where I don't know how to breathe." "Why, sometimes, when I drink something, it is coming out from my nostrils?"

Then we concluded: "How important is to be aware about our breathing. It indeed heals us. It is a vital sign to cope with in the final decision of leaving this physical world. It surrenders to the ultimate human resource: God.

Have you had a chance to read Acedia and Me by Kathleen Norris? A must for anyone living in any century. She often quotes Andrew Solomon. I was actually expecting her name to show up on the lineup of guests on the Depression show. maybe some other date? I haven't listened to the show yet but am downloading now. Thanks for all yo do.

Denise Klitsie

There is a program on CBC Radio One called "Tapestry", hosted by Mary Hynes, that did an interview with Kathleen Norris. Listen here:


As a health professional....I listened to this program in the car and thought it was the most intelligent and at the same time spiritual conversation that I have heard in a long time....and it gave me hope that we look at depression in this manner.....as a place....to sit .....an invitation....and be present when He reaches for you......
The part of Palmer Parker where he talks about the friend who massaged his feet and just sat with him....was so touching. That also happened to me....Someone who I did not know well...did this for me...and it comforted me in a way no one else could ....or tried. It did remind me of the biblical story of Jesus washing the feet of his disciple....It was humbling...it was a gift....and as a nurse and as woman...to receive....I don't know the bible well....but there was some significance to the act ...that I cherish to this day....just to sit and be present....Wonderful....do more of this....Love it.

I'm not sure what to make of this program. While I can see the value of a certain vision imparted by the melancholic disposition, I have great difficulty seeing my bouts of clinical, suicidal depression as edifying in any respect, from any perspective.

I hear a good bit of romanticizing of depression in this program that puts me in mind of Keats' claim to be "half in love with easeful death." If it's not outright romanticizing, it feels like a re-narrativizing whose silver lining must corrode rather rapidly when depression eventually recurs, as it usually does for those who have a serious episode of it.

Is the lesson imparted by depression something we need to learn more than once? We don't make such claims in recurrence of other serious illnesses.

My interpretation was that the program didn't so much romanticize depression as... validated it. To say that, after the suffering has eased, there is some benefit of wisdom that is uniquely the result of that suffering. That tends to be what we want out of any kind of hardship -- to find some good that came with it. I did hear a couple times the guests and Krista emphasize that no insight can come while in deep depression, so I thin k the guests would agree with you on that point.

I myself have been fortunate in only having one finite experience with a depression that quickly dissipated after I left the job that caused it. I can't say I'm glad I felt so wretched and did so little that felt productive for those six months, but it was humbling to know that it could happen to me -- to understand that, even with a loving supportive family, an acutely logical brain, and a sincere relationship with God, I could become so overwhelmed as to not be able to file a piece of paper. ... It helped me to understand my own limitations, and helped me to respect and understand my friends' depression and why logic couldn't get them out of it.

I listenened to the program today, my birthday. A time of reflection and of looking ahead. I have lived and dealt with depression in myself and in family members. I, also, have sound no solace in those people who try to lift us out, (however well-intentioned), because it makes me feel even worse; guilty that I am in the state I am in at that time. I have been on medication for several years, which is invaluable. However, there still exists that tendency to be melancholy and "overly sensitive". Maybe that is a gift.
I work as a massage therapist with cancer patients and the comment made by Parker Palmer gave me reassurance about the work I do. Sometimes there is only the touching of the feet or body; but it is intimate in that it is accepting and loving. I try to channel the love and compassion I feel into my hands and being. It is like a quote from the book, Stranger in a Strange Land, "Thou art God". He is in me and my hands and being. If I can transmit some of that acceptance and grace to another during a difficult time, it lifts us both up.

I woke up in bed listening to Krista's re-run of this program for the first time, and I thought it was excellent. I blogged about it:


Thanks for it.

Our mind is our worst enemy or our redeemer.

All illnesses appear and disappear. All human beings appear and disappear. The universe itself appears and disappears. Also, truth appears and disappears. Good and evil appear and disappear. What or Who is going to be omnipresent? In the lung run, God is the ultimate human resouce.

When we are living the illness of depression, and fall in the fetal position, we face (1) reborn again, (2) death in life, or (3) death. Depression is the right place and the right moment to find spiritual enlightement in each individual life of believers and unbelievers. When we as faithful people forget our faith, when we as humans forget our beliefs, ideals, ethics, opinions, thoughts -- a moment that depression brings to us clearly -- the desolation is full. You cannot look at the sky for consolation: the starts of heaven fall to your head, This is a final judgment in our lives. It is the apocaliptic relationship with the creator of our own life. And of course, the crucial moment of revelation of the truth.

Seeking for help is a cautionaty word. Breathing is a simple, frugal, gentle healing process to put you calm and recover your lucidity in that moment of darkness, when you don't find anybody, nothing, nada, that comes to your mind to help you. Breathing is the connection with the life source one that breathed into our nostrils the breath of life, and, thus, we can become a living being again.

I want to thank you for the rebroadcast of this particular subject. Both my wife and I (former CSI, Ptsd survivor) as survivors found this program to be invigorating and restorative. My daughter on the other hand who thankfully has not experienced depression found the whole program very depressing and repulsive. I explained to her that the program has both my wife and I thinking Wow! I am not alone in this everyday struggle and that is reassuring and rehabilitative.

Thankyou for your look again at this program.

Thank you so much for this program. It truly describes that which I have been unable to put into words. Fortunately, I've been properly medicated for some years now, but I still live in dread that the shadow of depression will return and spoil my life again.

Your conversation with Andrew Solomon was one of those "driveway moments" for me. I stopped the car and sat listening. I then went straight to my computer and searched for his book and read the first few pages - then "one clicked" on it. It is such a relief to find someone who in a few paragraphs goes directly to the core of what I've dealt with now for years. I don't suffer from the "collapse" of major depression, it has been an adulthood of mild, "what's the use" feelings. I can't help but wonder if like Andrew, my inability to grieve after the death of my mother (I was 16) led me into this place of aloneness. I've sought help over the years, used Wellbutrin (it pulled me from suicidal musings), but I avoid reaching out to friends because I feel toxic. Why should I burden them? What if my morose outlook brings them down?

This is one of those subjects everyone seems to have an opinion about . However, only those who have experienced depression's destructive power really understand this terrible condition. Unfortunately, few people in the medical profession understand this problem. What's worse? Many so called psychiatrists or psychologists are properly trained to help those in dire need. I can go on and on about on the subject but that won't help those who are suffering. I highly recommned reading "Feeling Good" by the renouned expert in this disease, David Burns. I wish you peace. peace.

Dear Ms Tippett - I found your program moving, and wholly agree with the inadequacy of the word depression as an all-encompassing term. I went through the worst depression of my life in 2008, and I realized that if I had met the myself of 10 years earlier, he (me then) would have NO idea of what I was going through. No wonder is nearly impossible to explain the experience to others, even if they themselves have suffered depression.

This time, I had the most profound self-validation of my life, thanks to a book that fell in my hands when I was well on my way to recovery. This book is a gift to humanity, but I'm afraid that it will fall on deaf ears; some may even find it offensive to find all the neuroscience in it. However, it (the book) allowed me to silence the crap that a couple of psychiatrist dumped on me, it allowed me to understand the origin of my depressions, and it gave me the hope and the tool to change this. It
doesn't mean it'll be easy; it will be VERY hard, but the books shows it is possible.

The book is called "My Stroke of Insight", by Jill Taylor. Please don't watch a video of her presentations; this is a book to digest slowly. The neuroscience checks with all I know, which is not just a little, but I'm not an expert in the field either.

Ms Taylor was a Harvard, research neuroanatomist, who suffered a massive stroke on her left side of the brain. She understood what was happening to her, and my knowledge of neuroscience allowed to expect that she was recounting the experience from emotional memory and images. This amazing woman recovered completely, and made a choice as to what she wanted to keep of her previous self.

This book made my beloved inner peace a cognitive reality, as opposed to a feeling or faith. It exists, and I made myself the promise to guard it. The only person in this world I would sacrifice it for is my son. Just as one of your guest described a vitality of life as the opposite to depression, for me it is inner peace.

Thank you for your program.

Of the numerous SOF programs I have heard in the past number of years it is this one I've perhaps most "leaned into". I too struggle, like so many, with depression. What i want to express here is really more of a question than a comment, though, yet still perhaps relevant. I have struggled with depression most of my adult life. I am a 44 year old male and first experienced a clinically diagnosed bout of depression at the age of 28. Ironically (to me anyway) the first year of a masters degree in seminary. My emotional life, my faith, and unfortunatly a marriage, all crumbled. Fifteen plus years later I am still trying to understand the many and varied nuances of depressions effect on my life, and my faith journey. For me depression (and it's various counterparts) have been the fork in the road of my life and Christian faith from which I still find myself mostly lost. Yet at the same time the mystery that I believe is a part of depression does remind me of this mysterious thing I call "my faith journey'. I once believed I knew God and God's calling on my life and into ministry. I now question, and am trying to understand and integarate into my life and faith, how what I once was so certain of has because such a puzzle. And I can't conclude it was simply all pure naiveté. I also wrestle specificlaly with the role(s) of shame and guilt in conection to depression. Perhaps in the context of such a rich and wonderful program as this weeks SOF I wish this one piece could have been touched upon. Perhaps fodder for a program and/or conversation down the road! I'm grateful for SOF, Krista Tippett, and those whom her gift and talent bring to so many through this venue. Even in the enigma of depression it is these thoughts and ideas and people who remind me of the truth that I am not alone and that I can yet hope in God of salvation and redemption.

I've observed that the responses of "religious people" to depression can be quite damning. I'm prepared to claim, in fact, that organized religions may be detrimental as often as helpful in ameliorating people's depressions. We should not have to explain our temperament or disorders to God, who presumably knows about all this, but we may have to deal with some judgmental counsel along the way. In the throes of my own recent multi-year clinical depression, I told a doctor that I was depressed. He told me, in no uncertain terms, that St. Paul tells us to rejoice in the Lord always and that I "shouldn't be depressed." Ah - thanks so much, I thought sarcastically - it's all clear now. And lest we think this is just an issue in Christianity or the Abrahamic religions, I recall reading (I think in an account by B. Alan Wallace) about a conference in which Sharon Salzberg, a Buddhist teacher and therapist, asked the Dalai Lama what she should do when a student did not like themselves enough to depend on their inner resources. The Dalai Lama was flumoxed; he consulted with his translator and replied, finally, that he couldn't understand how that could be. In retrospect, it was probably best for me when I did not attend closely to religious counsel or common practices in the midst of my darkness. I needed to find comfort, somewhere, anywhere, in the here and now, the visible - petting my cat, walking in the sunshine, starting and finishing even the simplest of tasks, forgetting to fret about what hadn't been accomplished.

And being able to find comfort anywhere in the "visible" makes the connection to the invisible force or spiritual enlightenment. It is simple, and you don't need religion (of course it helps) or permission (understanding) for that. It is there waiting for your permission to heal your life. It does not matter whether or not you like the sun to depend on your energy levels. It is there anyway (the sun comes everyday for depressed and not depressed people). If you are alive, you get its benefits anyway too. The risk is evident when you try to avoid the sun (death in life): darkness and weakness. Also, it can burn you if you expose to it like if you were in a lunatic fringe. Moderation is the key when we are walking on trouble waters.


3. Satisfaction of Needs. The Theory “G”

I decided to be happy in my life on earth. This is a malicious attack against troubles, problems, and difficulties everyone has sometime, or always, because life is a bunch of problems to resolve through that unknown device known as the brain, which is a problem solving human tool. Obviously, to avoid feeling depressed, stressed, worried, fearful, unhappy, negative, whatever, I just decided to be the opposite. My motivation is the unknown level of the human brain that I have named Theory G, and it is connected with my heart. I have no idea what God is about, but I am living in a state of bliss, and peace opening miracles like doors and windows, liberating a positive force that mysteriously intermingle, and otherwise fight it out. I know it is hard to explain. In other words, it is giving without receiving. The theory “G” of motivation has its reality only in my imagination, and it is that part of my heart that thinks and gets the visions right, the dreams that come true, without more than the pleasure to be myself in my own reality.

I too suffer from depression and have been on medication for years. My now teen-aged daughter also suffers. She had her first major depressive incident when she was 9 and has been on medication ever since. Recently she decieded to get off the medication and discover her true self. She tells me she is commited to living an authentic life and can no longer continue to live as the false Eve (i.e., medicated Eve) THe other day as I was driving her somewhere your program "coencidently " came on the car radio and Eve laughed as the friend of Andrew Sullivan described how she coped with her depression by shedding her home, boyfriend and friends. While she recognized part of herself in the portraial she insisted she was fine. Meanwhile Eve has curled up in the fetal position sucking her thumb insisting on living her life as her truer self. It remains very difficult that the mainstream media doesnt want to recognize depression as a true illness and instead understands it as a character flaw. I too struggle with the definition as others tell me to tough it out. As the world becomes more compelx and our bodies and psyches try to adjust I wonder how we will evolve to cope.

Ms. Tippet-
I am so grateful for your re-airing this remarkable broadcast. I love your show, it is my "church"--but this piece on depression resonated. I had not heard it before, and so needed to hear it now. I recently went back on medication after a ten-year hiatus. I recognize the lessons I have learned in the depths, and also the profound impact my parents' depressive selves had on me as a child. The voices in your show were so welcome, and I was most gratified by your generous and gracious acknowledgment of you own struggle.
Peace to you,

The more medications I took for my depression the worst I felt. So I struggled along
for years feeling half alive. Some one gave me a book called The Divided Mind by Dr. John
Sarno and my depression lifted very quickly. I have never felt as good as I now feel for the
past year. No pills, no therapy. This may not be everyone's route...but it was the key that
opened the door to my depression.
Depression is an awful affliction. I hope I've seen the end of it... It is so good to feel good again.

I love your programs and download most every one and make CD's to listen again and again.
This really is a wonderful addition to the world.

I know your comment about Dr. Sarno is over three years old, but I'm curious to know what part of his ideas helped you the most? Was is the idea of rage? If you happen to read this, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Best regards.

Many thanks to you and Palmer. I went out and got his book. Very helpful. A door has closed on my life and because of your program and his book I should be able to see the new way in a much different light than had I not heard the program

God Bless


1. Free Attitude and Responsibility

Human beings are not yet prepared for the responsibilities of freedom in an age of complex technology and interdependence, because the immense majority of us are slaves to ourselves, technology, progress, and liberalities such as money, sex, material things and comfort in a world that exchange education, life orientation, and the power within us for living the moment, profits orientation, and the desire for those material power.

We lost the connection with our liberty through many examples of the human attitude throughout history, and our lack of responsibility within ourselves telling us that once we were liberated from slavery we become libertine many years ago. A clear and contemporary example exists in ghettos areas where the youth living there are perceived to have liberty now, but where a big segment of these young people have created three ways of follow rules living in their society: 1. Die. 2. Go to jail. 3. Be a drug dealer; and we can generalize this attitude with this human nature to all races because of the overall strong desire for monetary rewards instead of a worthy ethical liberated self. We must try again and again to make a new connection with that term called freedom by showing ethical responsibility.

Too much light can blur our vision if we are not protected or prepared to receive it, where education is the key, discovering in all senses our capabilities and dreams, letting us move to profound truths in our human landscape, making those dreams true, and keeping them alive between generations.

Dear Krista,

Over the past months, which have been ones of personal transformation and great spiritual growth for me, Speaking of Faith has been something I look forward to, return to, look to for guidance, and delight in. One of the first programs I downloaded was your show on depression, since I was quite depressed this past summer. I have listened to it twice, and wrote down some of Parker Palmer's comments, to read again and again, as I grappled with depression. Things are better now, for the moment. I am coming to recognize that depression may be a pattern that will continue to recur in my life, but one hopes with lessening impact, and for shorter periods. Buddhist teacher Sylvia Boorstein talks about our yogic patterns as like a stain in a t-shirt - it never goes away, but it fades. I think depression may be one of those patterns for me.

I was saddened to read that you are tired and feeling a bit closer to that dark place of depression. However, I guess I am not too surprised. In the unedited cuts of your recent interview with Parker Palmer, I heard you express your stress and fatigue. I related to it - I am something of a driven overachiever myself, whose personal journey over the past year has been one of slowing down, taking care of myself, and learning to look inward to find the divine within and love myself. An ongoing process that involves feeling pain, and also learning to feel great joy, equanimity, and contentment.

I could tell in that recent interview with Parker Palmer that you were driving yourself too hard and not taking care of yourself. I recognized the syndrome. So I just wanted to write to do whatever I can to massage your feet, as it were. I know you remember this wisdom from Parker Palmer's therapist, but I will repeat it to you again, because it has offered me such solace and wisdom over the past six months or so since I first heard it. Can you see your depression, not as the hand of an enemy, holding you down, but as the hand of a friend, pressing you down onto ground on which it is safe to stand?

You won't be a failure, or unlovable, if you give yourself a break, don't live up to every single expectation, don't fulfill every single responsibility, or meet every demand that is made of you. What I have learrned from giving myself a break and deciding that I don't have to be perfect, is that I can slowly regain myself, but a better, kinder, wiser self. I am facing the challenges of the economic climate with greater equanimity than I would ever have thought possible, and all because I made a decision last summer, as I realized that I felt life was more trouble than it was worth, that this was profoundly not true - and if I believed it, then I needed to make some pretty radical changes to get to a different place. My survival, and getting to a place where I valued it, HAD to be my priority. Now, months later, I am slowly healing, and find myself having the strength and energy to help others.

All this to say: take care of yourself, would you? :) You are precious.

O Julia, thanks for your kind words directed to "Krista", but spreaded to everyone who may read them. I guarantee that your depression is far away for relapse. You are free now! and I am so glad to welcome you in this blog.

Other important "light" of the "syndrome" of our host in her introduction to the subject of "depression" was: "But I will stress here — as much for myself as for anyone reading — that we are not in a place to find spiritual enlightenment when we are in the throes of this illness." This was the main motivator to me to make a connection and help about the topic.

Not seeing gain in a pain is what brings to desperation. This kind of depressive vision needs to be addresed with understanding and patience. Understand that Krista approached the topic with her inner self. It biased the benefits of spiritual enlightment in the middle of the "chaos and darkness" that indeed exist for many people who have cope with depression. Actually, spiritual enlightment ultimately determines the way to overcome depression. Undertand, also, that Krista could intend to separate herself to the mision of her business "speaking of faith".

As one who is currently experiencing the darkness of clinical depression, it gave me great hope to read that "We are not in a place to find spiritual enlightenment when we are in the throes of this illness." To keep searching for it only leads to further discouragement.
I had two bouts of major depression in my 20's was "well" for over 20 years and then had another bout after being with my mother through a grueling battle of cancer that ended in her death. I did not use medication in my 20's. I meditated, exercised and ate well. The depressions painfully ran their course, and not without leaving scars.
I decided to try medication this past time and was pleased with the result. After 20 months on Paxil I chose to go off the meds, sure that prayer, meditation, exercise, fish oil and maybe a little St. John's Wort, were all I'd need to stay well. After my best friend died of cancer (another grueling period of grief) the darkness returned with a vengeance. I am now trying to get stabilized on another medication.
My brother, who also has spent time with the black dog, describes depression as teetering on the edge of the Grand Canyon. "I just want to get a little further from the edge," he says. (We lost our sister to substance abuse probably due to self-medicating.) At this point that is what I am looking for in this apparently family disease-- a way to get a little further from the edge.
It does bother me when people imply that medications are not necessary. I spent four months trying the no-med route, convinced that my efforts would tame the monster. I tried everything only to find myself teetering closer and closer to the edge. I finally took a lesson from my diabetic husband. While exercise and a healthy diet are essential ingredients in controlling his diabetes, without insulin he would be dead.
As my brother states, "Some of us have a hole in our bucket and it drips faster than we can fill it." A dear bi-polar friend says, "I look forward to taking my medication. It allows me to live the life I love."
My heart goes out to all those who suffer. Never give up.

It seems the term "spiritual enlightenment" needs a definition. Spiritual terms: love, faith, belief, hope, or any kind of human virtue: responsibility, discipline, understanding, perseverance, silence, happiness, freedom . . . have meaning of our lives.

"Speaking of Faith" is focus on religion as: faith, ideas, ethics, and meaning. What it really matters is when those terms interact dynamically with our human relationships - like the direction of the program is successfully achieving: that is enlightenment.

Knowing that you, Cindy, found a great hope and resonated with the words of Krista is a hope to me too, because that is spiritual enlightenment. A hope that one day you two, and more people who don't find spirital enlightenment in the moment of darkness and desperartion, could see its "light" at the end of the tunnel. A hope that we may believe we understand the term (spiritual enlightenment) as an invisible force which is always flowing energetically, offering healing, learning, peace, with such as impetus, that it includes also the spirit of skepticism in our thought.

Cindy - thank you for sharing something that can be very painful and embarrassing as we believe everyone else is fine. I well remember my worst bouts with depression. I am a fanatical golfer so the world is very dark when I cannot even bear to walk on the green grass. We would all like to be off the medication. I now see them as necessary and a basic way for me to be able to produce the happy cells. There are many medications for many things. Few of us avoid them all. I am happy to live in a time when I can get the help I need to live a wonderful life.


Please, do not avoid the medication if you think you need it. What we should avoid is the "feeling" that we can't get any spiritual enlightenment in the middle of a crisis of depression.

The cruel meaning of taking prescribed anti-depresants for some people is that we are out of any spiritual reality. Nothing far from the truth - in my opinion: when we are in the throes of depression, we are having spiritual growth and envolvement even though we don't realize that in the moment of desperation. Our character makes a decision: to go with or without medication. Both are equally significant in our moral or spiritual connection. Both ways create a person's ability to experience and enjoy life.

Clinical depression is caused by a chemical imbalance, not a spiritual failure. Thus, taking medication is not a sign of weakness, lack of spiritual enligtenment, or avoiding problems. It is a sign of humanness that shows qualities as rationality or fallibility: a human act.

Medication, prayer, counseling, and meditation can have an amazing effect in our different kind of situations or changes in life. Only you can make the decision that is right for you.

Let there be light (Gen 1: 3).

A lack of spirituality in the darkest moments of our existence enervates our character to the levels of skepticism. The effort to overcome that point of disbelief and desperation is inhumane and cruel, and most of the cases require medication. Be gentle with yourself. I believe in human greatness in spite of our atrocities.

Hey, Everyone

I just want to start off with stating that one in TEN Americans, and even more dramatically about one in four women will experience Clinical depression at some point in their lives. Some people find it to be a lesson of the human Soul. Karen who is doing this broadcast talks about how she had depression and how she spiritually came out of it. Death has a lot to do with suicide. It talks a bout a guy Andrew who was going to commit suicide :(. He said he wasn't a religious person before, but when his mother died he was so depressed. Andrew said though that it wasn't "sadness". He said that he find it difficult to eat, to go outside, and being afraid all the time. He said it isn't a primary sadness kind of thing. He is on medication and will be on it forever. He says he is on too many pills. (He wrote his own book on it). He said taking pills are like going to make sure your teeth are still in your mouth. He knows he is okay he just fall into place again. He didn't really change though. I understand how he is explaining this. He said he still the same person, the same personality. His medication just brings him back to himself. He said he feels comfortable around the Old Testament. He finds basic lesson in them, and he finds them helping. Andrew Is a Jew, "depression is the flaw in Love" that was his quote. He explains that the feeling of love couldn't be here without the feeling of lost. I think he got this from his mother passing away. He still misses him mother a lot you can tell when you hear him talk about his mother. He said when he is depressed he doesn't even know who he is. That is very scary to know that someone can face this in depression.

I have never been depressed like this so I don't know how it feels, but I study it a lot since I am going to school for counseling. He said he didn't want to right a religious book but he is not very religious. Karen says her conditions were classical. The normal Symptoms. (Loss of hunger, sleepiness, sadness etc) Depression is absolutely tiring, that’s why people commit. Suicide. Some people come out of it and come spiritual. It talks about a guy that thought the spiritual life was like climbing a mountain to reach God. Some people can come out of it. So where is called in all of this? He said he thinks of god now not up there anymore in the mountain, but down here next to him. He said Depression is a full body experience. He said that he knows God wants him to live a good life this guys name is Parker. He just said this is how he felt. He said that his psychologist helped him when she said "Parker you seem to look upon depression as a hand of an enemy trying to crush you do you think you could see it as a hand of a friend pressing you on ground which you are wiling to stand". He asked why I fill Full of death. She said you fill more dark before you get better. So you have to suffer before you get better. He said at first he didn't understand that but later he does just like the other quote. This is just some of how Parker felt He said he felt worse when people asked him WHY you are DEPRESSED. You are such a happy person. This actually makes a depressive person more depressive. So beware of this when you are by a depressive person. You shouldn't ask why? You should be present and hang in with them. You don't know how they feel. Depressions Runs everyone, even in poetry. In this Broadcast it talks a bout this. There am a lot in this broadcast and If I were you I would Listen to it. It helps you understand People. It makes you clear of how they feel and how you can MAKE a difference in someone life. If someone even says they want to kill themselves. Take it serious, don't just sit there and watch it. Like some of the people in this broadcast said Depression is very tiring. You get tired and want to give up. Only some people come out to the light of God. Depression is something most people go through. I would love for some other people in my group to do this broadcast So i can get more insight to it. It's such an informing broadcast its hard to get everything. It really talks about how some people face it. I know I haven't faced hard depression, but I know I want to make a difference for those on the "dark side". It can be dangerous, especially in clinical depression. Death is a main source of depression. Depression doesn't do it justice, its almost like dismissing it. I just wanted to add that poetry is one source to go to for depression. A lot of people go to poetry when they feel Depressed. It's a good way that if you are depressed to go to. The Soul in depression is so much more than what people think. People face so much when they are depressed just hearing a few people it makes you have insight; however Depression can Make you have maturity and growth. You can come out of it on a better spiritual side of it. There is light after darkness

Aloha e Krista,
Hearing the program about the depth and mystery of depression, our human experience, the words of Parker Palmer about the soul in the wilderness brought to mind a gift I received in the midst of three days where I could not rise from my bed. I somehow scrowled these words.

My soul
wild and free
forever and ever
fluid and rock
naked and sharp
rich and intangible
willing and patient
deliberate and laughing
greater and shadowy
insistent and subtle
always present

I had been reading Thomas Moore's book "Care of the Soul", which encouraged me to see depression as a gift and not an enemy. My being is much deeper as a result of coming to appreciate depression-melancholy, the darkness, the depths.
Thank you for a wonderful program.
aloha pumehana,
(warmest love),

As I listened to the first part of this, I heard a definition of depression as "not the opposite of happiness, but the opposite of human vitality." This made me think, not of depression, but of acedia.

Depression hurts badly. Click on my username to get treatment from Elisabeth Constantine, (MA in Mental Health Counseling, Rollins College) the best psychotherapist and hypnotherapist in New Jersey who has been helping people with mental illness for many years :-)  


My name is Robert West and I sent a message to you the other day. I clicked the link to find a phone No. where someone at L'Arche could be reached. If I remember I was able to locate a phone where I could speak with someone from L'Arche. Could you help me out here. Where and how can I contact someone to find out more about L'Arche. I lost my reference point as to finding the number.

Robert West

I've listened to "The Soul in Depression" at least once a year since I first heard it in 2006. I was eighteen and in the middle of my first major depressive episode. I read Krista's journal about it years ago, but I somehow never discovered this blogpost until today when on the site to send the episode's link to a friend. In February 2009 when this was written, I was on the brink of a complete breakdown that involved a handful of hospitalizations for my depression. The experience was more traumatic than anything I could have ever imagined. Now that it's over five years later, I can't begin to express my gratitude for it having happened. Part of me wishes I would have discovered this blog then, when it was posted. I might have felt comforted in the honesty. Yet another part of me suspects that it means more now, discovering from a place of stability. I don't know if Krista will see this comment since it is posted years after she published the blog. Just in case she does, I wanted to be sure to say how much it all means to me: the show in general, that particular episode, and especially her authenticity and vulnerability in this blog post. I believe honest talk about depression saves lives. It's inspiring to see someone that so many of us hold in such high regard initiating these conversations. I'm thankful for this blog and Ms. Tippett.

Thank you for this show, and for all of the others that, over time, have served to rescue me from the desire to give up on life. I discovered "ON BEING" by accident perhaps 3 years ago, and have never listened to a broadcast that didn't enrich my life in some way. I've long wondered how Krista came to her understanding of interviewing people within this specific context,as her vocation? Also if she and Terri Gross are acquainted; the depth and quality of their questions are very similar. Thank you , again~ MaeRose Roy Topeka, KS.

How I would like to talk with you... to hear how you came to the place you are today, to have this wonderful program, to have the security of an occupation that you, most certainly, must love.

I am, once again, listening to your interview with Carrie Newcomer, whom I've met and loved through folk concerts in Lawrence, KS, where I lived until last year. I listen to you first, as I sweep the kitchen floor, now sitting at the computer to be close to the healing sounds of yours and Carrie's voices, trying to make it through my baby grandson's second birthday today, whose own voice I have yet to hear. Estrangement from my son has placed a barrier between us that I have yet to understand how to overcome.

Depression has been my shadow self for nearly all of my 64 years, inherited from both sides of the family. I've lived such a hard life that much of what has happened sometimes seems surely to belong to someone else, or to not be possible. Would you ever consider a program, talking to us about your personal journey? I believe many people would be enriched and very grateful to hear that it is still possible to experience, no matter how late in life, success in their relationships, fulfillment of dreams, peace, and joy. I know that I would welcome hearing your story. Story and music, as lifelines to the soul, cannot be underestimated.

Thank you for making this program available. And especially for this interview with Carrie Newcomer.

Most sincerely ~M. Roy

Annie Parsons's picture

Thank you for sharing this tender piece of your heart, Marilyn - I'll be sure to share your words with Krista. Sending you lots of light today.

-Annie, Community & Engagement Coordinator