I have recently been in the midst of the most severe bout of depression of my life. That’s saying a lot, for those of you who knew me 6 or 7 years ago. Part of how I have been helping myself is to draw almost every day. I’m not sure I’d call it art, but it is therapeutic.
When we are depressed, our bodies and everything around us seem consumed with darkness. But, because of my previous experiences of depression, I believe that hidden deep in the blackness is beauty that is growing and waiting to emerge. (It took me about two months and a hospital stay to start believing this again, so I’m not saying hope comes naturally in depression.)
In my first significant experience of depression as an adult, I experienced a deep knowledge of God accompanying me in my suffering. In my second depression, which also marked the beginning of what I would call the Dark Night of the Soul, I found all the foundations of my life unravelling. But most significantly, what unravelled (and still is coming undone, honestly) was a lot of unhealthy and unhelpful ways of relating to God. This period of time started opening space in my life for new appreciation of mystery, a reluctant willingness to face uncertainty, and a new practice of courage and authenticity both with myself and with others. These painful periods of my life have changed me for the better. And I’m beginning to believe that good change is on its way this time too.
That hidden gestation of beauty in the darkness is what I was trying to capture in my sketch this morning. And I wondered if it might give hope to someone else as well. I would love to hear in the comments if it means something to you.
From my heart to yours,