Your depression can serve as a gateway to strong spiritual growth and change in your life. Depression can ultimately lead to a search for higher meaning. Creative expansion, spiritual depth and increased emotional sensitivity often entail a journey through fear and pain on the way to genuine growth. The terror and discomfort may feel like you’re going backwards and that you will be stuck in this state forever. But it is generally temporary and the growth, on the other hand, if you can stick with your path, will be permanent and unshakable.
Underneath the pain of depression, you are a spiritual being, intact and unscathed by anything. We are not human beings having occasional spiritual moments; we are spirits having a temporary human experience. Our recovery from depression calls for caring and nurturing of our spirits as well as our minds.
You are not permanently damaged. Your hopelessness will pass. Don’t expect to believe it right now, but this is the truth. Don’t berate yourself for being morose and cheerless or even feeling totally separated from God. You don’t expect that a cold will disappear within a day and you don’t expect to escape a runny nose or a scratchy throat. You know you’ll have symptoms and you know it’s going to take time for them to go away. Hopelessness, self-criticism, social isolation, and spiritual alienation simply go with the territory of many depressions.
I find it helpful to believe that my essence, or my soul, which I value as the best part of myself, is always weathering the storm intact. While I try, I can’t always hold fast to that belief while I’m in the midst of a depression. On the other hand, I am always amazed at its veracity when I am healthy again. I have so often witnessed this deep inner resilience in myself and others to know it is true. In the same way, soil can be washed out of most materials because it is not the cloth. We are not our feelings and we are certainly not our depression – our soul sails above the storm.