Depression as a Wilderness Experience: Theological resources for depression in the wake of trauma
with Jessica Coblentz, PhD
In the wake of traumatic events, many survivors experience psychological distress, including conditions like depression. These traumas and their psychological aftermath frequently engender disorientation and difficult questions: What is happening? Why is this happening? And what is one to do amid such pain? Depression sufferers and those who accompany them sometimes turn to faith communities for answers, and though some find solace in the theological and practical responses they receive, many Christians are left searching. Coblentz’s book, Dust in the Blood: A Theology of Life with Depression (Liturgical Press), adds to the Christian theological resources available to depression sufferers and those who accompany them. This lecture will introduce one such resource—an understanding of depression as a wilderness experience—and explore its implications for Christian interpretations of and responses to life with depression. (Art: Gesture of Grace by Jan Richardson)
Jessica Coblentz, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies and Theology at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana. Her teaching and research focus on Catholic systematic theology, feminist theologies, and mental health in theological perspective. She is the author of Dust in the Blood: A Theology of Life with Depression (Liturgical), and the coeditor of The Human in a Dehumanizing World: Reexamining Theological Anthropology and Its Implications (Orbis). In addition to her contributions to numerous academic journals and essay collections, her writing has been featured in the National Catholic Reporter, U.S. Catholic, America, and Give Us This Day.