Sunday, October 26, 2014

Depression and the Modern Catholic

I have lots of experience with depression. If you've followed this blog long enough, or bothered to go and read the old posts, you'll know that because I couldn't resolve having a mental disorder with being a good Catholic, I fell away from the True Faith for a short period of time. Thanks to the grace of God, I returned, more proof that Our Lady has a special care for my (extended) family.

Mental health is such a tricky situation. There is even in the world a huge battle for its recognition as something real, not "made up". As a Catholic, I fight it so much because it impairs my ability to do my duty of state. Despite wanting to take care of my household thoroughly, wanting to make balanced meals for my hard-working husband, wanting to show my daughter the love of God in the way that I think is right, I'm given the cross of doing things differently than other Catholic parents. We listen to the Rosary as I'm rocking her to sleep. I buy easy packaged meals so that my husband isn't eating chips and dip for dinner, and I make sure that there are the ingredients for lunches and breakfasts for him, even though I'm not packing his lunchbox. I choose to take a nap, so that I can make it for the rest of the day, instead of finishing up the dishes or vacuuming the floors. I let my daughter play in her swing or her rocker while I watch and read a book, instead of reading with her and talking to her. I retreat from the world with no apologies, and take whatever steps necessary to protect myself and my daughter. And I feel like I'm not taking care of my duty of state the entire time. 

My mom once said that sometimes, it's a sacrifice not to do the heroic or even ordinary acts of selflessness that others are capable of. My cross is to lead a totally simple life, only sacrificing when I'm fully rested and don't feel like crying all the time. For example, I found out that I had gestational diabetes on Spy Wednesday, and although I had been able to fast for Ash Wednesday, it would be impossible for me to do so on Good Friday; on top of this, I wasn't able to seek a dispensation, although it was medically necessary for me to eat every 2 hours, 4 snacks and 3 meals that day. I felt defeated, because I hadn't been able to fast all Lent, unlike my parents and siblings, for my daughter's sake. It seems "lucky", not to have to sacrifice, and it was the first time I realized how hard it can be to go against the flow when one is so desperate that therein lies the way to Heaven.