A bit discouraged


#1

[Protracted whine alert: readers who may be offended by lengthy self-centered complaining are advised to turn back.]

I’ve mentioned in a few previous posts that I’m engaged and planning a wedding for next year. The problem is, I’ve begun to doubt whether that’s a good thing.

Everyone I mention it to seems to tell me the same thing: “you have lots of suffering to look forward to”. From horror stories about childbirth to complaints about sleepless nights to recounting fights… the only thing I hear about marriage is how it’s nothing but hard work and sacrifice and slogging through metaphorical mud your whole life.

Now, this doesn’t really *surprise *me. As a lifelong pessimist, I’m only too happy to agree that this life is a vale of tears and that one should never think one deserves good things from it. But I also realize that dwelling on this attitude only makes me paranoid, grumpy and morose, which isn’t a good thing for anyone.

Not to mention, I’m having serious scruples about whether or not it’s even allowable for us to get married next year. Since I have a LOT of student loan debt and both of us will still be finishing grad school, it might not end up being prudent to start a family right away - we’ll be really poor and I’ll have to work even if I do have a baby. Or everything might end up being all right. But since there’s a lot of pressure on me from my family to set a date and begin making arrangements (and frankly, I don’t want an engagement that stretches off into eternity either) I don’t really know what to do. A year from now is a long time away, and everything might be sorted out by then. Or it might not. And I can’t figure out whether or not it’s okay to get married if you know you’re going to have to use NFP for a while and not start popping out babies right away, so maybe the safest thing to do is push the whole thing back. But that might mean pushing it back as much as another whole year. Which would be undesirable for a whole host of reasons.

On top of all that, since I seem to be reacting so poorly to all this stress, I wonder if maybe that means I’m just not meant to get married at all? What if I end up going insane when faced with the endless suffering and frustration that marriage and family apparently consists in, and let everyone down? Doesn’t the fact that I feel like complaining about it already mean I’m too selfish and weak-willed to be trusted?

Retiring to a hermitage on top of a crag somewhere sounds more appealing by the minute.


#2

If you marry the right person, marriage is a wonderful blessing. I have been married for 9 years and I couldn’t imagine life any other way. Not everyone has a negative view of marriage. Yes, there is sacrifice and compromise and struggle along the way, but isn’t that true of anything worthwhile? Even getting an education or a good job require those things! The difference being that marriage is a 24/7 commitment. And childbirth is difficult but totally survivable and you really do forget about any pain the second they hand you the baby. I promise!


#3

Dear Aetheria

What struck me is that in all this there was nothing about your fiancé. I also found myself wondering if you really have much faith in him as a future husband. And it does seem, that such a generally negative outlook, doesn’t seem a healthy way to live a relationship or begin a marriage. I hope you can find more of a positive outlook, and more faith in yourself and your fiancé/future husband, and be able to focus on these things rather than on so many opinions around you.

I really hope you begin to find more fun and enjoyment in each day, and in present time and reality, rather than live in a host of fears for the future. I really hope for you a more wholesome and happy living out of each day as it comes, with wise decisions for the future, but not living out in your mind every negative possibility that others (and some depressed and negative thinking) somewhat unkindly present to you.

Remember that when Jesus taught us the prayer we call the Lord’s Prayer,
Jesus didn’t say, "always give us bread for every day of our lives,
only “give us this day our daily bread”.

God grant you happiness, wisdom, wholeness, and peace!


#4

There are going to be challenges no matter what life you lead, married or single. Life sucks, and then you die with either one you choose. So cheer up already and stop the pity party. :p


#5

Life is all about choices and consequences. If you don’t have a cross in your life, pray to Jesus and beg that He send you one. Seriously! Without a Good Friday, you can’t have an Easter Sunday! We need to offer our suffering up in this life so that we can be united with Christ in the next life.

That being said, are you sure marriage is the vocation God has in mind for you? Perhaps he really is calling you to the religious life. I have a first cousin who is a Dominican nun at St. Cecelia’s in Nashville. When she took her final vows, I went there for three days. I observed the 150 nuns there and not once in three days did I see anything short of glowing happiness and smiles on every one of them! They’re expanding like crazy because they’re doing God’s will. The nun in charge of formation told my aunt and uncle that their job there was to make Saints. One of the old nuns died while they were visiting. She was in her 90’s. When they take their vows, the write them in a hand-written letter to Jesus. Then, they store that letter in the archives of the basement (building was a pre-Civil War hospital. HUGE and beautiful). Well, this old nun had died and they put her in a plain wooden casket in full habit. And they put the letter she had written as a teenage girl to Jesus with her vows in her hands in the casket as testimony that she had remained faithful her whole life! What a way to go!

Anyway, try to discern God’s vocation for you. That’s where you’ll be most happy. :slight_smile:


#6

I don’t know what kind of friends you have, but with those friends… who needs enemies? Seriously, I don’t know people who complain constantly about marriage and no one tried to tell me about all the pain and suffering I would endure when I was engaged.

Get new friends. Stat.

It sounds like you might have some mental health issues that need dealing with before marriage. Your overall outlook sounds like it needs working through with professional help-- whether you get married or not, that’s just not a normal way to look at the world and go through your life.

Also, where is your boyfriend/fiance in all this? What does he have to say?


#7

Perhaps some counseling would be good, to sort out your feelings about all of this…and even to discern whether you are really called to married life. Better to deal with your doubts and fears NOW, rather than after the ring is on your finger! Given your financial worries, it might be wise to wait until you can afford to start a family. A year’s delay isn’t all that long in the grand scheme of things. And how does your fiancé feel about all of this? Is he aware of your concerns, and is he willing to work with you toward resolution?

Remember, we all have “lots of suffering to look forward to;” it’s just a different set of sufferings for those who are married vs. in religious life vs. single. But your sufferings will be easiest to bear when endured in the context of your true vocation in life. Praying that you will find this. God bless.


#8

Well, the reason I never mentioned my fiancé in the original post was simply that the problem doesn’t have anything to do with him - he’s been nothing but loving and supportive the whole time we’ve been together. I have talked to him about this, and he always talks through it with me and tries to find ways to resolve whatever I’m worried about. It usually works, too! I have trouble bringing it up, however, because I feel guilty that I’m making him deal with all this instead of sucking it up and getting over it on my own.

The real problem, I think, isn’t that I’m not called to marriage (I’m pretty sure about this) but that I have spells where I’m convinced that no matter what my vocation is, I’m going to fail miserably at it. Heck, if God told me my vocation was to go boil an egg, I’d probably find some way to screw that up too. :rolleyes:

I do have something of a history of depression (starting from a very young age), and were I to be totally honest, I’d say that this is probably just more of the same. I don’t think counseling is something I can do right now, though. I’ve got no way to pay for it, and my family wouldn’t believe I needed it. Most of the time I don’t think I need it, either. It really seems like I should be able to control all this negativity just by being a better person - I just don’t know how.


#9

It's beyond me why people choose to share horror stories to others about their experiences with marriage, childbirth, and parenting when someone announces their own impending marriage or pregnancy. :shrug: What is the context of these conversations you are having with people where they tell you that marriage is all drudgery and childbirth is horrific? Do you question them? Do you ask them if they are happy, overall, to be married (or parents)? Do you find others to question along this line of thinking?

For every unhappy married person there is a happy one who would not have it other way. Decide which one you are going to be, because a lot of it is in your attitude. If you go into marriage thinking it's going to be tough and horrible and just plain ugly, then it will be. If you go into marriage with a realistic view of the challenges you will likely encounter, but with the conviction that the grace of the sacrament (as well as your solid relationship with your spouse!) will carry you through, then you will emerge from any challenges you encounter strengthened and really, truly happy.

Deciding when to get married is a tough question. I married my husband at a young age (I was 22; he was 21) when we were both finishing our undergrad degrees. Many people thought we were crazy and that we should have waited, but for us it was "perfect" timing. We were (and still are) dirt poor, and we've had our ups and downs and challenges of discerning when we are called to have kids (we've both tried to achieve and avoid pregnancy at different points in the last two years--no kids yet). But we're both happy, we love our life together, and we can't imagine living any other way. We truly are blessed.

Marriage is not suffering, though it does introduce new ways of suffering that perhaps are outside the realm of a single person's experience (while doing away with other kinds of suffering). Learning to live with another person, worrying about establishing a secure future, compromising on career and life goals, deciding when to try to have children...all of these questions can introduce anxiety, and yes, suffering. But if we are living according to God's plan for our lives, there really is no time in our lives that is "carefree" and free of suffering, so those who tell you that it all goes downhill from the wedding day are just plain wrong.

God calls each of us to a life of suffering, to a life of grace, and to a life of joy; no vocation involves happy-clappy feelings day in and day out, but every vocation should lead us to true happiness. If you and your fiance have prayerfully discerned that God is calling you to the vocation of marriage with one another, and if you are committed to following God wherever He may lead, you do not need to have these worries about misery. God has a plan, and He will guide you even through suffering to greater joy and to holiness.

Think about the words of Christ to Peter, and how they might apply to your own life or to the suffering you might encounter in the future: "Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." (John 21:18)

Finally, as others have suggested, I would really recommend seeking out some counseling. If sitting down with a therapist is not feasible, why not try talking to the priest whom you have asked to preside at your wedding?


#10

Really, the stories aren’t as bad as I made them sound above - I was feeling worse about it last night, and when I’m really depressed everything sort of gets distorted to look more grim than it really is. Mostly they’re just people trying to say “don’t expect it to be all lollipops and butterflies, there are hard times too”, and reminding me that I need to have a good prayer life, etc., but I can’t stop myself from just seizing on the bad things and worrying that I won’t be able to deal with those.

I just don’t think that any sort of counseling would work - I have a very hard time talking about this sort of thing in person, and in any case I can’t take myself seriously long enough to set anything up. My first year of college I did try going to the student health center for counseling, but I didn’t find it very helpful and haven’t been back since (and in any case, I’m done with college now so I can’t go there for free any more).

Hmm, I wonder if I should contact a mod to ask whether I can edit the original post with a warning to take everything I say with a grain of salt? I wouldn’t like to make anyone think my life is terrible. It’s just my personality that’s terrible. :rolleyes:


#11

Just from reading your posts here, your personality sounds a bit similar to mine. Something that really helped me to be able to start recognizing the good instead of just dwelling on the bad constantly was to pray more. It's tough, tedious, and sometimes a stretch to find something to be thankful for, but it does help to change your mindset (see some examples below for what I mean). Oh, and just remember that if you do get married, you and he will be one so your problems will be his problems... don't you think he has a right to know what his problems are going to be? Let him inside your mind, show him how you work, and allow yourself to rely on him so you'll both know what you're getting into.

Example:

1)walk outside into the blistering heat - "Thank you God for allowing me to experience this heat so I can more fully appreciate the cooler days."
2)trying to put on a shirt over a very painful sunburn - "Thank you God for allowing me to experience this painful burn and limited mobility so I can more fully appreciate my normal pain free movements."
3)when pregnant and getting up to pee for the 100th time that night - "Thank you God for allowing me to experience this little person jumping on my bladder so I can more fully appreciate the uninterrupted sleep I will eventually get again one day."


#12

A major step like marriage requires that you be sure what you want to do.

If you are in doubt, it is prudent to wait and sort things out, before going ahead.

Marriage is not for everyone. Weigh the pros and cons, and decide. But take your time.


#13

If you are planning to enter into your marriage using NFP right off the bat, I would suggest you break it off. The primary end of matrimony is children, and if you aren’t ready for children, you aren’t ready to be married.

Get a job, save your money (pay off your debt), work on being more positive, building virtue… decide if God really is calling you to the married life.

It’s normal to have doubts, but we can also examine the situation reasonably and look at things from a prudent perspective… so my main piece of advice would be to say if you can’t (or are not prepared to) fulfill the primary end of marriage, then you are not ready to get married.


#14

Have you talked to your fiance about your apprehension? What are his true feelings about the whole marriage thing? Are you getting married because you love this person and want to make a life with him, or are you trying to satisfy your family’s expectations?

While it is true that married life isn’t all “rainbows and lollipops”, there is a lot of good in it if you and your spouse both go into it with the same ideals. I’ve been married to my dear husband for over 23 years. He wasn’t even Catholic when we married, but he converted after 18 years. We’ve definitely had our rough patches, but the good far outweighs the bad, and the bad, when you work through it together, isn’t all that bad.

I suggest you talk to your priest about your feelings…as some of the previous posters have mentioned, maybe marriage is not even your calling. Give yourself some time for discernment before you make a life commitment.


#15

I am going to assume that if you are in grad school you are still very young. So I would say it would be best not to marry him for the reasons listed below

1-) it sounds like your family is pressuring you to set a date which raises the question whose idea is it for you to marry? yours or your famlies

2-) You say you talk out your fears with him and he reassures you. I don’t think so. I think he says what he needs to say to get you to temporary drop the issue but then it comes back because you obviously still have doubts.

I think you feel tremendous guilt over your feelings and that is the whole problem. You wrote a very honest post and then you apologize and say it was only in the heat of the moment.

please don’t be so hard yourself

cm


#16

[quote="Aetheria, post:8, topic:201783"]
Well, the reason I never mentioned my fiancé in the original post was simply that the problem doesn't have anything to do with him - he's been nothing but loving and supportive the whole time we've been together. I have talked to him about this, and he always talks through it with me and tries to find ways to resolve whatever I'm worried about. It usually works, too! I have trouble bringing it up, however, because I feel guilty that I'm making him deal with all this instead of sucking it up and getting over it on my own.

[/quote]

Going back and re-reading, I still stand by my earlier post about breaking it off (at this point anyway); however, the underlined portion above is the complete opposite of what you should be thinking/feeling/doing. You are setting yourself up for an unhappy marriage if you feel guilty about talking to your potential future spouse about your troubles/concerns/hesitations/etc.

Your initial post has EVERYTHING to do with your fiancé. Marriage is about setting up a common life--together. Raising children--together. Helping each other get to heaven--together.

Your concerns affect him, and are about him. Even if he's a great guy it just doesn't seem like the right time to marry (especially if you have debt and would have to put off having children, etc.). BUT, first and foremost, you need to able to talk to your potential future spouse without feeling guilt. If you cannot communicate now, don't expect it to be any easier after you are married. Communication problems are typically the source of unhappy marriages.


#17

To the OP:
Allow me to air two pet peeves right off the bat:

a) people who volunteer without direct solicitation about how awful the trials of their life have been and how other people should doubt their own ability to bear anything so difficult are bores. The truly extraordinary rarely tell the world how extraordinary they are. "If I could do it, surely you can; God will get you through" is much more realistic. Look around, after all. The world is full of poor families and moms with babies. Put in that spot, you manage, and many are happy. Contentment and habit of gratitude are gifts that you have to accept, though. Heaven will not shove these down your throat. Pilots are not made of people who get into the cockpit hoping not to crash.

b) "Protracted whine alert: readers who may be offended by lengthy self-centered complaining are advised to turn back" is either you giving yourself carte blanche to bore us with your self-pity or you beating yourself up and asking us to watch. I don't want to hurt your feelings, but cut that out. Just tell us your problems. We have no interest in beating on you.

OK.

You're not reacting poorly to stress. If I don't miss my guess, you're a worrier with a big bone of worry to chew on. Even if you aren't, or weren't, most people who are engaged have some time in which they reflect on whether they're doing the right thing. This is why the Church does not encourage quickie weddings. It is a big decision. Any sane person will seriously consider whether he or she is up to it. You seem sane to me.

It seems your only question is: do I want to marry at all?

NFP question: St. Paul said it is better to marry than to be on fire. So yes, it is allowed to get married even though you suspect (you don't know, nobody does) that you would be justified in using NFP to avoid pregnancy for awhile. You can't do it forever--marriages need to be open to babies--just as if you were a celibate, you couldn't remain in school forever and never make your contribution to the world. But yes, you can marry knowing that you are likely to make this decision.

OTOH, St. Paul also said, "I would rather you were as I am".

I'm referring to 1 Corinthians 7, of course. You'll note that he does not say that married couples may not deny each other by mutual consent. He also implies that preservation of chastity is all by itself a good reason to marry. Look at his view of marriage and ask yourself: can you totally dedicate yourself to the service of God as a celibate? As he pointed out, the married woman has her husband to attend to, while the unmarried woman is totally free to dedicate herself to the Lord. Could you do that? We aren't taught to look at that as our first question anymore, but maybe we should. But while you do it, ask yourself this: if I don't marry, will I attend not to the Lord, not to the husband and family I have evaded, but primarily to myself? Is my imagined hermitage a place to do battle with the devil in the desert of solitude, or just some place to hide?

And what are you hoping to accomplish on this crag somewhere? In what way will you be serving God? Will you be able to remain chaste? I know you're just throwing that out as an escape line, but I will tell you up front: only the greatest "spiritual athletes" among the cloistered are ever permitted to become hermits. It is a LOT harder than it looks, and full of spiritual dangers. Only utter fools and the spiritually experienced need apply. So be wary of the hermitage. Have you ever considered life in a religious community, though?

So in that sense, no, it is right that this question has nothing to do with your fiance, because you have only presented the question to yourself as "do I want to marry or do I want to 'retiring to a hermitage on top of a crag somewhere'?" You've asked yourself "what do I want to do with my life?" The question needs to be "How am I going to serve God with this life I've been given? Where is my vineyard or my battlefield going to be?" This is obviously a question raised in the school of prayer.

Life is not easy, life is not fair, but life is good. In spite of our sins and weaknesses and trial, by the grace of God it is very good. Live you life, and accept your toils and trials as your service to God. This is a great gift.

On your engagement timeline: over the years, I've noticed that, in the absence of deployment or some other serious barrier to marriage, engagements planned to last over 18 months are either shortened or called off. I'm well past 40, I've known a lot of engaged couples, and I can't think of any exceptions.

If you want to marry this great fellow, either break off your engagement with him--facing that there'll be no guarantee he'll be there when you come to your senses and decide he was "the one", after all--or else hang in there. He asked you to marry him, you said yes, so either do it or don't do it. Don't push the date into the future and make the poor guy hang there in engagement limbo.

You need to make this decision before you make your vows. Yes, it is more polite to say something as soon as you know, but you do not have to go through with it just because the cake is waiting in a reception hall.


#18

[quote="EasterJoy, post:17, topic:201783"]
To the OP:
Allow me to air two pet peeves right off the bat:

a) people who volunteer without direct solicitation about how awful the trials of their life have been and how other people should doubt their own ability to bear anything so difficult are bores. The truly extraordinary rarely tell the world how extraordinary they are. "If I could do it, surely you can; God will get you through" is much more realistic. Look around, after all. The world is full of poor families and moms with babies. Put in that spot, you manage, and many are happy. Contentment and habit of gratitude are gifts that you have to accept, though. Heaven will not shove these down your throat. Pilots are not made of people who get into the cockpit hoping not to crash.

b) "Protracted whine alert: readers who may be offended by lengthy self-centered complaining are advised to turn back" is either you giving yourself carte blanche to bore us with your self-pity or you beating yourself up and asking us to watch. I don't want to hurt your feelings, but cut that out. Just tell us your problems. We have no interest in beating on you.

[/quote]

Oh, I'm quite aware that the problems I've been complaining about are the sort of thing normal people, people with their heads on straight, tackle and don't complain about at all. I'm aware that I am a dreadful bore and a blight on polite society.

I just don't know whether there's hope that I can ever cease being a bore, a blight, and generally a waste of oxygen. To say "I realize that I suffer from disgustingly maudlin and indulgent self-pity" and to have a plan to rescue oneself from that are two different things. Especially since it's then very hard to tell which things are real problems one needs help with and which are products of self-pity.

I'm sure it's entirely possible that I could cooperate with God's grace and muddle through. But I keep being attacked by such violent revulsion towards myself precisely for being a bore and a blight and a waste of oxygen that I can't think of anything to do to make it better; I just want to do something to punish myself for being so horrible. I know this can't be entirely a normal feeling, and it doesn't happen all or even most of the time. But I don't know what to do about it.

As I said before, I'm fairly sure this is what God wants me to do with my life and I really do want to be able to do it. I know it's possible; God is always there, of course, and I have a wonderful family and a fiance who loves me, knows about my issues and is willing to go to considerable trouble to help me. But the more people I have trying to help me, the more afraid I am of failing them.


#19

[quote="Aetheria, post:18, topic:201783"]
Oh, I'm quite aware that the problems I've been complaining about are the sort of thing normal people, people with their heads on straight, tackle and don't complain about at all. I'm aware that I am a dreadful bore and a blight on polite society.

I just don't know whether there's hope that I can ever cease being a bore, a blight, and generally a waste of oxygen. To say "I realize that I suffer from disgustingly maudlin and indulgent self-pity" and to have a plan to rescue oneself from that are two different things. Especially since it's then very hard to tell which things are real problems one needs help with and which are products of self-pity.

I'm sure it's entirely possible that I could cooperate with God's grace and muddle through. But I keep being attacked by such violent revulsion towards myself precisely for being a bore and a blight and a waste of oxygen that I can't think of anything to do to make it better; I just want to do something to punish myself for being so horrible. I know this can't be entirely a normal feeling, and it doesn't happen all or even most of the time. But I don't know what to do about it.

As I said before, I'm fairly sure this is what God wants me to do with my life and I really do want to be able to do it. I know it's possible; God is always there, of course, and I have a wonderful family and a fiance who loves me, knows about my issues and is willing to go to considerable trouble to help me. But the more people I have trying to help me, the more afraid I am of failing them.

[/quote]

Oh, Good. Night. Shirt.

Let us say, for example, that instead of your problem, your problem was that you could not get through a meal without dribbling food all over yourself.

There is a continuum with two possibilities on either end that could describe you. Either you have physical difficulties beyond your control that make it impossible for you to eat a mouthful of food without losing some of it before swallowing OR you don't take the trouble to be as careful as you could....that is, you are a slob because you don't choose to eat carefully.

My point is that you wouldn't start every meal with a blanket apology for the food that is shortly going to be all over you. Rather, you would do your best, wouldn't make excuses in advance for what is your fault, and rightfully expect people to be decent enough to pass over what is currently beyond your control. Polite people do not mention that your table manners need work. For your part, you do better to help them ignore the problem, not call attention to it. Rather than making people more comfortable with your situation, you put them on the spot and make them less comfortable. The only exception is when the group can occasionally mention the problem with the sense of humor. That's fine, as long as the joke doesn't take over the meal.

It is an offense against your dignity before God to call yourself "a blight and generally a waste of oxygen". There is no excuse for using language like that to describe a human being. Christ died for you. That shows your worth. Do not presume to second-guess God.

You don't have to fear failing your husband in marriage. You're going to fail as a wife sometimes. Get used to it. He's going to fail you sometimes. Get used to it. Sometimes, it will even be through what is willful, rather than through honest mistakes. Get used to it.

To be honest with you, I wouldn't want to marry somebody who never needed support and never made mistakes. I'm happy to be married to an actual human being.

I have a saying: Life isn't "fair." Life is good. If you think about it for very long, you realize that it can't be both. That is because goodness depends on forgiveness, charity, long-suffering, and all of those things that make the score-keeping of "fair" a moot point.

The thinking you're writing is unfortunately way too typical among the very talented. I have a PhD, and sometimes I wonder if they shouldn't make us pass a test to live in polite society once we've been to graduate school. There is such a thing as being too smart for anyone's good. We do research work where a mistake here or there is going to ruin the whole thing, and we start thinking that real life is like that.

Have you had the dream where the dean of students calls you up to tell you your admission to graduate school was a mistake yet? Did you know this was the most common dream among graduate students? So if you have nailed the GRE well enough to get into graduate school and still manage to think of yourself as a waste, you are not alone. You're totally typical, and you're still wrong.

Your finance does not want to marry you because you are a waste. He wants to marry you because you are a prize. You do not have to be perfect to be a prize. You only have to be right for him. He does not want you to be someone else. He wants you, just as you are. Get that through your head.

If this is what God wants you to do with your life, then do it. Get used to the idea that you probably won't be Nobel prize material as a wife. Get used to the idea that the Almighty knew that when He chose you to be a wife. God is no slouch when it comes to engineering. Your capacity to fail has been figured into the blueprints, right along with your desire to please God and your husband. As long as it is God who holds the structure up, it will stand.

"But the more people I have trying to help me, the more afraid I am of failing them"....what does that mean? That you think their charity towards you is really an investment, on which they are guaranteed a return? That you don't want to be beholden to them? Love does not work like that. Give them the credit, and require yourself to believe that their love is real love, and not some kind of a quid pro quo. The more people you have that love you, the more real failure becomes an impossibility. God loves you. You love God. You won't fail.


#20

On a gentler note: the negative self-talk that leads to depression and even thoughts of death or suicide are like a trick knee. Once you have gone that way, you need to be aware that re-injury is a constant danger. Oh, and do not tell me "oh, I'd never commit suicide". If you're talking about yourself as a waste of oxygen, you need to wake up and treat yourself like a person prone to all the dangers of true clinical depression.

When we make a habit of that kind of self-talk, it is only our principles that stand between us and eventually self-sabotaging or doing harm to ourselves. When we are relying on principles to guide us, we are navigating on faith, not on sight, because we are blind to our true situation. Our true situation calls for rejoicing, even during times of trial, because we belong to Christ. Our particular blindness leads to what I call "flying on instruments". We cannot navigate on what we see out the window. We have to trust what God's principles say. It is extremely tiring. In fact, it is exhausting. We have to allow for that, when assessing what we have the energy to do.

Don't look at this issue as being your fault. Don't look for who is at fault. Finding blame is not worth the time. Do look at it as a peril, and take responsibility for managing it prudently. Make sure you have a counsellor to talk with immediately when you start indulging in that kind of talk.

I have this same problem. We need to be as careful about monitoring our self-talk as a diabetic has to be careful in monitoring blood sugar. This is no joke, it is a life-threatening condition, and we have to count on it being something we will always have to pay attention to, even if we find our way to full health. We will never stay in a healthy state by accident or by chance. We'll only do it by admitting when we need help and finding it when we need it. Better yet, we ought to have someone else help us on the monitoring.

For this reason, I think you and I are very bad candidates for hermitages. We may well benefit from time in solitude, most people need that, but we need to be in marriages or communities, where we can get our needed reality checks. That is our weakness. Everyone has them. We need to admit ours, renounce shame in favor of gratitude for God's merciful kindness, and structure our lives accordingly.

Looked at in this way, perhaps we are fortunate enough to be forced to see our weakness more starkly than some others. That is the advantage of obvious poverty, I guess!

Hang in there. You are a prize, regardless of what you see when you look out of your window. Put faith in God's act of faith in you.
As I also like to say: We are nothing without God, but what of it? We were never meant to be without God in the first place!


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.