“It is probable that the commonest of human ills is depression, and almost invariably depression has its roots in a field of vision entirely circumscribed by self. There is no cure that is better or quicker than the application of humour, which reduces what is seen to its right proportions, and extends the vision to a wider and more wholesome view.” (Morgan, Edmund R. Reginald Somerset Ward: His Life and Letters. London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., Ltd, 1963, p. 105.)
I don’t think Ward is talking about what we would see as chemical causes of depression. He speaks of the variety that is the fruit of a certain way of thinking or perspective. I have suffered often from such depression. In this place, Ward’s counsel proves helpful to me.
I become depressed when my field of vision is limited to my own thoughts, feelings, or experiences. In that small, self-conscious space, my thoughts often become more negative and dark. Humor has often been a way of opening up my perspective a bit to realize that my negative thoughts are not, in fact, the universe. They are simply thoughts. (I have not reached Bernard of Clairvaux’s fourth level of love in which we love ourselves for God’s sake. I long to think in such a way so as to see and value myself through the loving eyes of Jesus).
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