As a professor of Sociology at Boston University, David Karp describes in his book SPEAKING OF SADNESS his spending time interviewing 50 men and women about their own personal depression experiences. The following are some of his thoughts about those persons whom he interviewed and who saw a connection between spirituality and depression.
I too found that this connection also provided me with a solid and healing plan for leaving my own depression.
I found a spirituality that produced my own personal transformation by using the 12 Steps of Depressed Anonymous. These steps are based on the spiritual principles of the 12 Steps and take the depressed person through a process of incremental healing actions which gradually can loosen the bonds of their sadness.
Here are some of the findings Karp shares with the reader of his own feelings about those who spoke about the power of a spirituality which provided them hope during their depression experience.
” I was leaving many of my interviews awed by the courage and grace with which certain people faced unimaginable pain and loss. I was especially impressed with those who spoke of their depression as a gift from which they had learned valuable lessons. While I could not relate emotionally or intellectually with visions of reincarnation or explanations of depression as central to a God -given life mission. I left many interviews with a sense that spiritually engaged individuals were in touch with something important. The issue was not a matter of evaluating the truth of their particular brand of a spirituality. What I felt was a measure of envy of those who displayed an acceptance that seemed to me incongruence with accounts of exceptional pain. The people possessed or knew something that I didn’t.”
SPEAKING OF SADNESS by David Karp. (1996), Oxford University Press, Inc. pg. 191..”
And K. Duff shares with us that
“…illness is an opportunity for enlightenment, that, seen the right way, we do not cure illnesses –instead, they have the potential to cure us. This happens when we realize that illness is “not so much a state of being as a process of transformation.” In K. Duff, The Alchemy of illness(New York):Simon and Shuster, (1993). pg. 191.
In our Step Manual , Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition,( 2011)Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville., a work which includes many stories shared by those who use the spiritual principles of the 12 Steps for their own recovery and transformation. Also, this book is written by those who were depressed and graciously share their stories on how Depressed Anonymous transformed their lives.
Like Karp states in the section quoted above how I too see my depression as a gift, as for the last 30 or more years my life mission has been to bring hope to those still suffering from depression. Almost every day I speak, write to someone , or continue to get the message out with our DA publications how I have been and continue to be transformed by putting to use in my own life the spiritual principles of these Steps. For this reason we continue to establish mutual aid groups for persons depressed.
In some of our next blogs I will continue this most important discussion about depression and its connection to the power spirituality.
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