The purpose of depression

I was asked recently what the spiritual purpose of depression is.


“What is the spiritual purpose of depression?” is a really useful question. There IS a spiritual purpose for everything - for our lives overall, and for every specific discomfort we feel.

I know so many many people who have depression, that is, they are more than just sad sometimes, over something specific; they suffer consistently dark days like I used to. The kinds of days when breathing hurts; when the floor is the best place to be; when taking a shower is a triumph and a tragedy; when eating is a necessary evil; when crying is too much effort.

I “have depression” myself. My DSM-V diagnosis is chronic PTSD (which for me includes depression and anxiety and a few other threads), and alcoholism (in “complete, sustained remission”).

But I don’t experience those horrific, filthy black days anymore. I spent 40 years making my way out. I’m serene and joyful a lot. So let me tell you the purpose of depression and the path I took to escape.

(Sadness and) depression is telling us that we feel deprived of Love due to events that happened in the past.

When I say Love here, I mean Pure Love - not being “in love”.

The absence of Love is fear…. a person being abused is likely feeling fear not Love; a soldier killing a person is probably not feeling Love or they probably wouldn’t be able to do their job; a rescue worker running in to a burning building may be very afraid of dying or seeing people die.

I say probably and likely, because it IS possible to do be beaten, to kill, and to walk through fire with Love and be unafraid - but most humans walking the earth are not enlightened yet; that’s why we’re here! That is why we are presented with these situations - to test this stuff out.

We come out of these situations in which we were afraid with our brain chemistry altered. Our neurons have become highly sensitive to any input similar to the traumatic (lack of Love) experience. So, we experience the fear over and over again, we get ‘triggered’. The more times we feel fear, the more angry and resentful we become and the less effective at daily life. Depression settles in to protect us - to numb us to the suffering.

From experience, I know that medication can help to adjust the brain chemistry, thought work can help to change our perspective, and spiritual work enhances both. Spiritual work also gives us the answer to the ultimate question - why did this happen? And leads us to peace.

The spiritual purpose of depression is to alert us to the lack of Love in our past. The spiritual remedy is forgiveness…. we are depressed because our assignment is to practice forgiveness. Forgiveness leads us to enlightenment.


To forgive means to live in the present moment - free from the past. It takes practice. Me, I live in the present moment almost all the time. When I feel depression creeping up, I know it’s about the past and I stop and bring myself back into alignment.

For me, writing my book, The Art of Forgiveness, was the final step into the light. That is how I finally realized the purpose of the abuse (and depression) I went through.

I only realized it after I had forgiven, but you have an advantage because you know the reason and the remedy now! Grab a free copy of my book and try my simple method (Chapter 6) for forgiveness. I give very clear instructions. I am also always here for you for private lessons in spiritual growth (your spirit guides and loved ones on the other side usually pop in, too).

Much love and joy to you,

Reverend Steph