Great article about Catholics and depression

Michael J. Lichens contributes a guest post to The Catholic Gentleman: Black Dog Days: How to Deal With Depression.  It’s sympathetic but not squishy, practical, realistic, and humble. Great read for anyone who is suffering through depression.  An excerpt:

Prayer is very hard when you are depressed. I, for one, have nagging doubts when I go through my black dog days. God seems silent and I wonder where He is and what He’s doing. All the same, I do pray, and peace eventually comes. In one case, it took me two years of praying, but peace did come. Mother Teresa’s dark night of the soul lasted several years, but she endured. You can find strength in the same faith.

If you are praying and meditating and the words do not come, then sit in silence. Find an icon or an adoration chapel and utter the words, “You are God, I am not. Please help.” If nothing else, your mind will slow down and will shift its focus to God, who sustains all life and is the source of our strength.

I know this is hard, and sometimes you will want to give up. If you can do nothing else, try to take comfort in knowing that Christ didn’t die and rise again just to leave you alone. Find the saints who did suffer from grief and depression and ask them for help. They, more than any other, are eager to come to your aid.

Read the rest here.

At the Register: Worry, and Other Unappealing Temptations

PIC snake eating itself

 

When we are tempted to fall into chronic worry, free-falling anxiety, brooding, endless guilt, and despair, we are falling for a lie. We are turning our hearts over to a false lover, an abuser who wants to control us and make us whimper, make us pay.

There are things to worry about. There are reasons to fear, reasons to dread. These things are true, and there’s no point in telling myself, “There is nothing to be upset about.”  There is plenty to be upset about, and there always will be, as long as the earth keeps rolling its tired way around the tired old sun.

But it is not the only truth. It is not the final truth. The final truth is that, after the tired old sun sets for the final time, there will be darkness for a time, and then there will be a sun that rises and never sets, never stops warming us, never stops bringing us light, and light, and more and more light. There is a lover who sees everything that we are and wants to hold us forever in His arms, never wounding, never chiding, never turning us away to spend our nights in agony and alone.

Read the rest here.

Parents who fail (and parents who don’t)

Not a failure: “My daughter is pregnant.”

Failure: “My daughter had an abortion because she knew darn well what would happen if we found out she was pregnant.”

 

Not a failure: “My child is severely depressed.” “My child has debilitating anxiety.” “My child is suicidal.”

Failure: “I have no idea how to help my child, but I’ll be damned if I let someone stranger into our personal lives. Professional help is for parents who can’t hack it, and I don’t belong in a waiting room with that trash.”

 

Not a failure: “We are totally crashing and burning in the home school/private school/religious school/public school we thought would be so perfect for our kind of family.”

Failure: “We are totally crashing and burning, but if we quit, we’ll be failures as parents/let down the community/have to admit we’re wrong/change our lives around. We better keep going, so everyone will know we care about our kids.”

 

Not a failure: “I don’t understand my kid very well, and it’s hard to talk.”

Failure: “My kid has a great relationship with my husband, or with her teacher, or with her friend’s mom. I can’t allow this. I’m the mom.”

 

Not a failure: “My kid is screwing up in exactly the same ways I did or do.”

Failure: “Boy, does this look familiar, and boy does it make me feel bad. I’ll punish her double, one for each of us.”

 

Not a failure: “Despite our best efforts to raise him right, my kid exercised his free will and is now a druggie, an alcoholic, a criminal.”

Failure: “His name is forbidden in my home.”

 

Not a failure:  “We are too broke to give our kids everything their friends have.”

Failure: “I must do everything possible to get more money, so we can be happy.”

 

Not a failure: “My child is gay.”

Failure: “I refuse to have gay children, so either the kid or the gayness has got to go.”

 

Not a failure: “My child has left the Church.”

Failure: “I refuse to speak to my child who has left the Church.  How could he betray Me this way?”

 

Not a failure: “I just said exactly the wrong thing to my kid.”

Failure: “We must never speak of this again.”

At the Register: Satan Isn’t Fussy, But Neither Is Christ

We don’t have to be completely sincere or completely profound when we call on God.  He responds as if we already love Him, in order to help us love Him.

At the Register: Desperately Seeking Spring

Not gonna write about frozen garbage today, just little green shoots in a cold world.

At the Register: Mother Church says, “Yes, you may.”

In which I remind us all that baptism is a beginning, not a trophy for winners; and in which I briefly long for an icon depicting Christ the Sneaker-Upper.

I wish I had worked this in, but do yourself a favor and read Max Lindenman’s short little jewel of an essay, “Catholics Do Not Throw People Away.”