Welby shares his struggles with depression

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The Archbishop of Canterbury used the first episode of his radio show to discuss his battles with depression. Speaking with author Elif Shafak in the first airing of The Archbishop Interviews broadcast over BBC Radio  on 20 April 2022,  the Most Rev. Justin Welby said his Christian faith had served as a “safety net” when he was overcome by depression. 

A christian living depression was faced with the competing realities of a “very deep sense” of the love of God, whist also having “a real, vicious sense of dislike of oneself”.

Archbishop Welby stated: “My own experience of depression – one of the symptoms of it – is self-hatred, self-contempt, real, vicious sense of dislike of oneself. “And that seems very odd when it combines with also a deep sense that I’m loved by God. In my life, that expressed itself almost as a safety net.”

“I would say in my prayers, I may be this terrible person, this failure as an Archbishop, whatever it is, but I know you know me better than I know myself and you still love me,” he said, adding: “And by that I am held.”

The archbishop also discussed his adult daughter’s troubles with depression, stating: “She had a breakdown and very severe depression and still suffers from illness, and she’s married now with two children.”.

Out of this experience she wrote a “beautiful book called ‘I Thought There Would Be Cake’. In other words, when she was grown up, there’d be cake. And how different it was.”

In her book, the archbishop’s daughter urged those suffering from depression to speak up and speak out. “And so I did. I went to get some help and that has made a huge difference.”

The episode of The Archbishop Interviews can be found here.