For comedian Chonda Pierce, humor can be used to subtly point us to the truth, even in dark situations like when she was depressed. Chonda wrote about her personal walk through depression in her book Laughing in the Dark: A Comedian’s Journey Through Depression.
She recognized she was depressed when she on a weekend retreat with some of her female friends.
“You can feel when depression hits the back of your head and it begins to roll up and it feels like it weighs 500 pounds. And then you’re sweating and you’ve got this panic feeling that you can’t catch your breath, you can’t breath in deeply.”
When she returned home she couldn’t eat, she was in a weak state of worry and sickness. She visited a doctor who recognized that she was depressed.
The diagnosis caused more concern for Chonda. She worried that there was something wrong with her spiritual life. She quickly saw that too many individuals in the church were judgmental about depression.
What she found most helpful in her struggle were Christians who sat beside her, walked with her and read God’s word to her.
“The thing that helped me as a depressed Christians was a believer who was willing to go, ‘You are in a dark place, this will not last forever. Let’s just sit together, let’s just have a word of prayer, but then I want to sit and do a puzzle with you.'”
Friends were a unique blessing for Chonda during her time of struggle.
Another strategy that helped her cope with depression was taking out a sheet of paper. On one half she would write what she was thinking and feeling and on the other half she would write actual facts.
She suggests this exercise for others who are struggling with depression.
Also in her discussion with Susie Chonda talks about her roots in the Holiness tradition and about having a “Mary” friend and a “Martha” friend.