Yesterday I posted on the "crisis" of the past year. In some ways I feel quite shy about it. I have no intention of giving specifics, or describing the triggers, or speculating on what I think may be the underlying personal stuff from which the crisis grew. But I do want to say a bit more generally.
My first thought was that I had walked up to the edge of possibly a major depression. Since then I've read a book recommended by a friend: Kathleen Norris, Acedia and Me. Acedia is the sin of sloth, one of the seven deadly sins. You can check Wikipedia's definition here.
Norris suggests that one test for whether one is experiencing acedia (the lack of caring; a sort of massive indifference) or depression is to see what helps. Acedia, she suggests, is not amenable to therapeutic counselling, but does respond to spiritual care. Depression, she states, is not helped by spiritual care, but does respond to therapeutic counselling.
Some bits of what I walked through fit her description of acedia; other bits fit what I know of depression. Certainly the two, acedia and depression, mimic each other. And certainly, whichever one a person experiences, the body, mind, and soul are all involved. But my own journey as I reflect on it was a spiritual journey, not a therapeutic one (in a counselling sense). Healing there was, but healing that came through prayer and an experience of God's grace.
I have walked closely enough with clinical depression to know that it does not yield to advice from well-meaning friends to "pray more." This brush with acedia suggests that for some of us -- Kathleen Norris and I share at least this much -- acedia is a lifelong companion, and spiritual discipline is a necessary part of life lived in defiance of such torpor.
It is a good journey, and at this stage I am glad to be on it.