In The Pipeline

In The Pipeline

Fractures of light on the edges of the clouds.

I’m always watching for it.

The light.

Watching my boys taste tiramisu for the first time.

Getting a letter in the mail.


I’ve been meditating on the idea of light in the darkness this week.

For me, often darkness = depression + despair.

Which is the theme my links are running along this week…depression.

Confession: Sometimes I just use this space as a place to curate things for my own benefit and hope it’s helpful to someone else.

If you’re not feeling glum this January, consider yourself blessed and maybe bookmark this post for a darker season.

(I will update this page as I find other links and books, so if you have one you love, please share it in the comments.)

Links on Depression

Our pastor preached a sermon a couple of weeks ago on Psalms 42-43 called Despair, Delight and Deliverance. Be assured, I will return to this eloquent meditation on these psalms again and again. (Bonus: David’s beautiful Northern Irish accent.)

Two exquisite pieces on depression in January, written by my dear friend, Sarabeth.

A two part piece from the NY Times Book Review from a few years ago. Really long and technical, but super informative on the history and current state of medicating mental illness. Part 1. Part 2.

I’ve written a bit on the subject myself. The most depressed I ever remember being was in December of 2002, which I wrote about in 2008.

Five book where depression has a starring role: Sights Unseen, Lit, Darkness Visible, Freedom, The Road.

I believe that depression and anxiety are often two sides of the same coin, so I very much appreciated this essay on Surviving Anxiety from Scott Stossel, who has just published a book on the subject. In reading all six pages of the essay, I was rewarded with this brilliant closing paragraph:

In his 1941 essay “The Wound and the Bow,” the literary critic Edmund Wilson writes of the Sophoclean hero Philoctetes, whose suppurating, never-healing snakebite wound on his foot is linked to a gift for unerring accuracy with his bow and arrow—his “malodorous disease” is inseparable from his “superhuman art” for marksmanship. I have always been drawn to this parable: in it lies, as the writer Jeanette Winterson has put it, “the nearness of the wound to the gift,” the insight that in weakness and shamefulness is also the potential for transcendence, heroism, or redemption. My anxiety remains an unhealed wound that, at times, holds me back and fills me with shame—but it may also be, at the same time, a source of strength and a bestower of certain blessings.

These words are true of all the bits of our character that we call weakness.

If you feel kind of sad after reading about depression, I’m so sorry. Maybe consider going for a walk?

I wish you sunshine all weekend long. Even in January.

See you back here on Monday with the first of #48walks or on Tuesday with a story about some rather unexpected art.

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6 Responses to In The Pipeline

  1. Love this – especially adore that quote. It’s so true; our weaknesses are the shadow sides of our gifts. I miss you, and wish I was there to give you a hug. Thanks for posting, I can’t wait to listen to that sermon.

  2. Alison, I wasn’t planning to comment because I haven’t been depressed in years … but then I remembered who helped me climb out of my deep, dark hole “for good” (I hope and pray). It was your mother.

    One day nearly 20 years ago, when I was at my lowest point, I prayed, “Lord, let someone reach out to me because I can’t bring myself to reach out for help.” Within hours of that prayer, your mom called me and asked if I was OK. Obviously I wasn’t, and beginning a few days later, she met with me one morning a week for four months, going through a book and accompanying workbook with me: “Inside Out” by Larry Crabb.

    Julie was vulnerable, honest and gentle as I journeyed through my thoughts and feelings. I’ll never forget her care for me. She and that book forever changed how I look at myself, and I haven’t been depressed since. Your mom made the difference for me.

  3. Melody says:

    I too deal with major depression. I have since I was a child. The winter months are extremely hard for me. I read everything I can about depression because for me knowledge is very helpful. Thanks for the suggestions. I have never told anyone except my family. I have a wonderful doctor and my husband is very understanding. That is another reason I joined your Facebook group.

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