Jean Vanier founded L'Arche Communities and his work is known around the world. In this elegant and hopeful volume, he explores depression as a wounding of the heart that sends individuals into a deep abyss of anguish, apathy, loneliness, and despair. It is an illness we cannot treat ourselves. When we are depressed, we have to rely on the kindness of others, especially those friends who are in a heart-to-heart relationship with us.
Vanier describes a few of the symptoms of depression: "The person feels overwhelmed by sadness; an inner death surges forth from the depths of their being. Life no longer flows forth in them or around them. All energy is sapped and all zest for life is lost." Although some aspects of this illness emanate from adverse childhood experiences, it can also stem from a setback, an emotional crisis, or overwhelming grief.
Vanier is convinced that it is important to put words to the pain of depression and to have faith in the sun that is shining behind the dark clouds. But perhaps the best medicine is relying upon a network of friends who love and accept us. Vanier concludes: "Depression is a painful reality, a crisis, but at the same time crisis can bring us to greater freedom if we discover how to live with it and how to move towards healing."