How can God help me when I'm in the midst of depression?

Written by Parker J. Palmer

When one is in the middle of severe clinical depression, it is difficult, even impossible, to experience God's reality, let alone God's help. At least, that is the way it has been for me.

But, at the same time, I have found myself in the middle of depression crying out for mercy with some of the most earnest prayers I have ever prayed. So I find it hard to know whether I do or do not believe in God when I am deeply depressed!

Perhaps the answer is that my ravaged mind rails against even the idea of God, but something deeper in me calls out as if God might answer. "There are no atheists in foxholes," I guess, and depression is the deepest and deadliest foxhole I've ever been in. It may be the "dark night of the soul" that the mystics talk about—but in depression it is not so much that one becomes lost in the dark as that one becomes the dark. I have never been able to "do theology" when I am in that state; the best I've ever been able to do is to hang on. Only later, in the light of day, am I able to understand that God walked with me in that darkness even though I could not feel God's presence at the time.