Adrian Plass is a well-known and widely respected Christian writer and raconteur who suffered a breakdown and major depression in 1984.
Adrian Plass became aware that something was wrong when he hit a level of tension at work which did not ease. He was already doing stressful work in residential care for youths. His tension and anxiety continued to worsen until it became almost unbearable.
In his case, the signs of depression were fairly standard: severe tiredness and wanting to sleep all the time, an inability to deal with people, and random patterns of thinking. He felt deeply adrift and alone in life. Adrian Plass cried out to God in anger and desperation for a real encounter with the living God. He did not want just another book to read or seminar to attend, he wanted to touch and experience real life.
A number of things helped Adrian Plass beat depression:
Time and space to reflect and heal
Often people think beating depression is about working, doing more and trying harder. More often than not it is about learning to properly rest to allow stress and tension to wash away.
For Adrian Plass, having the time and space free of responsibility was extraordinary and deeply healing. Guilt free time to do what you want can be very therapeutic. Don’t put pressure on yourself and simply take the time and space to enjoy the world.
Plass also began to write, which was a therapeutic release for him. Writing is a healing process, whether it be journalling emotions or pursuing some sort of fictional writing, like short stories and poetry. Writing is another form of expression. Any outlets of expression are healthy when trying to beat depression, because depression is fundamentally a problem of true expression. Other forms of expression include music and dance.
When he began writing Adrian Plass noticed a Japanese cherry blossom blooming in his backyard. From my own experience in living in South Korea I can attest to the beauty of the blooming cherry blossom. For him it was a symbol of new life emerging from the old. Many people mention how important it is for nature to heal one’s soul. When the anxieties and depressions of life become overwhelming, the raw beauty and force of nature has a power that speaks truth, light and grace into undernourished and empty souls.
Friendship – the key to mental health
Plass says from his own experience that you need a friend. Friendship is the key to mental health. In our article on loneliness we mentioned how imperative true friendship is. We mean quality friendship, not vain online social connections. A real friend loves you and doesn’t judge you for faults, failings or misgivings. Friendship humbles us and makes us real and alive again and it really helped Adrian Plass beat depression.
We commend Adrian for coming forward in his soft and gentle way sharing his heart and giving hope for people in depression.