Catholicism is making me go insane

I don’t understand how you people can be Catholic and sane. At this point, I feel like this faith is destroying my happiness, my sanity, and for that matter my whole life.

Thinking about God, and sin, and Hell is making me feel naseous, overwhelmed, and like the only way out is nonexistence (which is not an alternative in Catholicism).

I can’t even believe that there was once a time when I was happy, free, and at peace.

I can’t even feel safe about my future. I am supposed to choose between leaving the man I love, burning in Hell, or having a bunch of children who will overwhelm me to the point of insanity and make my life miserable. And even if I stay alone and not worry about this, I’ll still be in constant fear of sin, and Hell, and all of that.

I feel like I will never have anything but torment. And on top of that God will probably burn me because I’ve made statements that expressed hatred for Catholicism.

In addition, Catholicism might not even be true and I am killing myself for nothing.

At this point, I am really hoping I’ll lose faith and gain SANITY.

It’s so hard to believe that the teachings of a supposedly loving God can do this to a human being. Where’s the love and peace and joy? It’s not like I"m an immoral person. I was doing my best to follow Jesus’ teachings. All I got in return was the destruction of my whole being.

P.S. I just measured my blood pressure and it’s 160/90 when normally it is 110/60. Great faith.

sounds like you might be suffering from scrupulosity

newadvent.org/cathen/13640a.htm

Try reading this article.

I will keep you in my prayers. God’s Peace be with you.

Hi, sounds like you sure are carrying some tough crosses right now. It is difficult to answer your exasperations but I think your view of God as this being who demands you destory your happiness or burn is not founded on what the Church offers as a portrait of God. I would recommend contacting the chaplain of Catholic Answers personally and talk to him privately about difficulties you are having. I know that I love my faith, it is not always easy and yes God challenges me but he also sends help when I ask for it.

I will pray for you tonight at my evening prayers

Your post breaks my heart. Yes, it can be disheartening to see all of the arguments Catholics can get into with each other. For myself, I try to remember that the Church exists for us sinners. This, more than anything, explains why Catholics can act in ways that can frustrate others.

I’d like to make a reading recommendation based on your post.

Theology and Sanity by Frank Sheed
The Spirit of Catholicism by Karl Adam
Faith and Certitude by Thomas Dubay

If it is the endless debates and contadictory opinions given by Catholics on this forum. I highly recommend that you always remember that we are only citing our own (fallible) opinions. Yes, even though it pains me to admit it, I even include myself in that statement. :smiley: If you seek an understanding of the faith that will bring you peace of mind. I suggest that you take all of our blustering with a grain of salt and turn to the Bible and the Catechism.

I’ll be praying for the Holy Spirit to comfort you and grant you peace of mind and freedom from despair.

Hermione,

My heart goes out to you, my sister. I remember a time in my life when the laws of God and the Church seemed to be so demanding, that I thought, “this is too much…God can’t be asking this of me”. Through prayer and the grace of God, I received grace to follow His laws (with a lot of stumbling, to this day, but always with repentance).

“Father knows best” is never truer than the laws God has set for His children. What seems like a sacrifice today will be the greatest blessing tomorrow, especially when it involves valid marriages and accepting children. The perceived happiness you are giving up will be returned a hundredfold.

Don’t wait to understand why before following. You are called to faith. Pray hard, and surrender to God. Ask Him to slowly form your will to His. Then make the decisions you know you have to make. You will not be able to outlove him.

Hermione,

I’m surprised that there aren’t more posts like yours here. We are in very psychologically trying times. And I sometimes wonder whether ‘apologetics’ might be, in a way, the worst possible thing to engage in at this time. Rather than answers, answers, answers, we need silence …and mirth …and to look at the stars maybe…

We should all be grateful for what Karl Keating has done with CA, but maybe things have reached a point beyond what words can touch?

My belief at this point is that these are precisely the reasons that God has given the world the films of David Lynch. His films teach us how to see again (sacramentally), and they also reveal God’s mirth (i.e. that the devil is ultimately ridiculous and hilariously funny to observe). And that God isn’t afraid of sin or the devil; that they are play-things to him.

Thanks bud, mutant, mario, pace
You are far more sensitive than I am.

Hermione,
God loves you very much.

At one time I felt very similar, I don’t know if I had the same situation as you, but I had a wife who was involved with Calvary Chapel as I was returning to the faith. I went with her to the Calvary Chapel, but eventually started finding my way to the Catholic Church.

When you are in a situation where there are nights you sit awake as you mind is churning, you don’t know what to do and your relationship is strained, just because maybe the Catholic Church might be the way to go it is very difficult to keep going.

For me personally, inside I would think , maybe it would be better if I died right now, just so I don’t have to deal with this. It is so much easier just going with the flow. I though maybe I should just give up, it is funner at her church, we sing, talk and enjoy each others company.

Once I finally came back to the Church and finally my wife did too, (thank God!) I had problems because I was used to my former life and to really follow Christ is a big commitment. I secretly thought inside, why couldn’t this happen in 20 years so I could have some fun with my life? Now that I knew it was right, I still didn’t want to live my life out going to Church and being a good Christian.

But you know what, God has blessed me. I see that living as a Catholic isn’t boring, burdensome or depressing. I have so much joy at being blessed with the life I have, with my life in Christ. It is easier as I keep on the path, as I allow Jesus to touch me, to help me and to guide me.

Know that you will be tempted and you will fall. We all fall, but God knows your heart and He knows what you can handle, He knows that you might falter but He is there to pick you up. I don’t worry about hell, or anything like that, once you grow in the Church you will see it too. Maybe it is scrupulosity, some say Martin Luther had a little bit of that. I say you really need to trust in the grace of God.

God forgives and loves you, Catholicism is beautiful, it is the gift of a huge family from God to you.

[quote=Hermione]I can’t even believe that there was once a time when I was happy, free, and at peace.

I can’t even feel safe about my future. I am supposed to choose between leaving the man I love, burning in Hell, or having a bunch of children who will overwhelm me to the point of insanity and make my life miserable. And even if I stay alone and not worry about this, I’ll still be in constant fear of sin, and Hell, and all of that.
[/quote]

Obviously there are things you have discussed in other threads of which I am not fully aware. I don’t understand the reasons for the extreme choices you list. I’d just like to make a few points regarding the things you list.

Regarding choosing to burn in Hell. Yes, this is a tremendous decision that all of us must make. However, the decision about Hell rests more on your decision to love, or not to love, God.

Regarding leaving the man you love. Is there some reason that you could not be Catholic and remain with him? I am assuming that some perceived incompatibility between being with him and living out your faith that is the basis for this point.

Regarding having so many children that you will go insane. There is a requirement that you be open to life but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to reduce yourself to becoming nothing other than a baby factory. However, I wonder why you believe that having a lot of children will necessarily result in insanity? I know some women who truly cannot deal with many children at once. One or two and they are fine. I think that questions related to this issue are better referred to your confessor and, possibly, a counsellor. God wants what’s best for you. That is not necessarily reflected in the various opinions you have undoubtedly encountered on this forum.

In Genesis, God noted that it is not good for man to be alone. Indeed, St. Paul, when discussing the celebate state, made it clear that it is for those who are called to it and that marriage is God’s gift for those who are not so called.

Regarding living in a constant state of fear, sin, and hell. Relax and don’t worry. All that is required is that you earnestly try to avoid sin. You will sin (as do we all) but that is no reason to just give in to it. When you do sin, however, your loving, merciful, and forgiving God is waiting and longing to forgive you. Remember that God WANTS you, that’s you PERSONALLY, to go to heaven and spend eternity with Him. There is nothing you can do that is so terrible that will ever change that. This doesn’t mean that we can sin with impunity, it means that when we do sin, God will always allow us to repent and receive His forgiveness. Remember that as He hung on the Cross slowly suffocating to death and feeling the pain of the lashings He had received, the crown of thorns that were pressed into His head, and the nails driven though Him to hold Him on the cross, Jesus cried out to the Father to forgive. We have nothing to fear from a God who loves us that much!!!

Remember that God doesn’t send us to Hell. Those who go there do so by their own choice – a decision to not love God.

Yes, it is a great faith. A doctor would be of greater help than anything.

As far as the issues you raised, it is always best to talk to a priest one-on-one that solicit advice based on such little information we have about you, especially when dealing with complex issues.

I’m sorry but I think you need to get serious help, take it from one who has been there done that, its not Catholicism that is making you insane but its easy to pin your problems on it, I used to do the very same thing.
I have suffered from depression since I was a young child and I have been taking medication for depression and anxiety for 15 years, I had to take very low doses through 2 of my four pregnancies as after my 2nd child was born I had a nervous breakdown. God and Catholicism are not the enemies but Satan is and he is doing a good job of putting lots and lots of fear and doubt in your mind. Please seek help if you haven’t already and please look for a Catholic therapist or a priest to talk to about these issues so that you can have actual contact with someone and tell them these feelings, I had to finally make an app. several years ago and sit down with a priest at my church and unburden my heart and it felt GREAT and the worry and fear were lifted off of my shoulders and he prayed with me and helped me find a good Catholic therapist and that helped so much.
I still have to take medication, I probably always will but the doom, gloom, life is so bad, etc. that is gone and my fear that I was constantly sinning or going against my faith is also gone, please, please, please seek some help from more than just a message board, I know that with speaking to the right person things can be opened up and viewed in a different light and you can start to feel so much better. I am praying for you :gopray: :blessyou: :gopray2:

Thanks everyone for your kind replies. :slight_smile:

I feel like the only way for me to avoid complete nervous breakdown and destruction would be to leave Catholicism. But there is the fear of “what if it’s true, then I’m definitely going to burn.”

For all the bad things that the faithful sometimes say about atheists and atheism, I feel that I would have so much peace now if I were an atheist. I wouldn’t have to worry about being sent to Hell for not perfectly obeying God. I would just love life, love people, do good things, and be happy and SANE.

I don’t want to lose my sanity. I don’t know all this about bearing crosses… what’s the point of this? It’s hurting me and it’s making me wish I could leave Catholicism. God could end all this by simply coming to me, reassuring me of His existence and of His love for me. Or He could modify my mind to take this living Hell away.

None of this is happening. I’ve been getting progressively worse and worse over the months. I keep wishing that I had never come to know what Catholicism is.

I’m sorry if this offends anyone, but this religion has devastated everything about my person and my life.

Hermione,

God bless you. I pray to the Lord that the peace of Christ be with you. You were in my nightly prayer last night and I will pray for you again tonight. In fact, I just paused to pray for you right now. I dont tell you this to show off or anything of the sort, but to let you know that people here genuinely care about you. When we say we’re praying for you, we really are.

God is a merciful God. God is love! God WANTS all His people to be saved in the end. He gives us opportunity after opportunity to choose Him. His mercy is truly endless! Jesus Christ personally loves you, Hermione, and He personally desires for you, Hermione, to share Heaven with Him!

Stop thinking of God as a school teacher whose goal it is to fail His students. No, God’s the Teacher who bends over backwards–to the point of giving His own life!-- to help us succeed! I can’t stress His mercy enough!

We, the Church, are the Body of Christ on earth. Therefore, just as Christ in heaven is carrying you through this stuggle (whether you realize it or not), we will carry you too. I will pray for you daily and add you to a prayer request chain. We will storn heaven with prayers for you! We love you, Hermione; you’re our sister in Christ Jesus.

Stop whatever you’re doing, right now, and say, “Lord, it’s yours. Please send me your Holy Spirit to comfort me and guide me. Through Jesus Christ, amen.”

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for Hermione.
St Jude, pray for Hermione.
All the angels and saints, pray for Hermione.

God bless,
UK

[quote=Hermione]Thanks everyone for your kind replies. :slight_smile:

I feel like the only way for me to avoid complete nervous breakdown and destruction would be to leave Catholicism. But there is the fear of “what if it’s true, then I’m definitely going to burn.”

For all the bad things that the faithful sometimes say about atheists and atheism, I feel that I would have so much peace now if I were an atheist. I wouldn’t have to worry about being sent to Hell for not perfectly obeying God. I would just love life, love people, do good things, and be happy and SANE.

I don’t want to lose my sanity. I don’t know all this about bearing crosses… what’s the point of this? It’s hurting me and it’s making me wish I could leave Catholicism. God could end all this by simply coming to me, reassuring me of His existence and of His love for me. Or He could modify my mind to take this living Hell away.

None of this is happening. I’ve been getting progressively worse and worse over the months. I keep wishing that I had never come to know what Catholicism is.

I’m sorry if this offends anyone, but this religion has devastated everything about my person and my life.
[/quote]

Footprints
One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was
walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the
sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, he
noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one
belonging to him, and the other to the Lord. When
the last scene of his life flashed before him, he
looked back at the footprints in the sand. He
noticed that many times along the path of his life
there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed
that it happened at the very lowest and saddest
times in his life. This really bothered him and he
questioned the Lord about it. “Lord, You said that
once I decided to follow you, You’d walk with me all
the way. But I have noticed that during the most
troublesome times in my life, there is only one set
of footprints. I don’t understand why when I needed
you most you would leave me.” The Lord replied,
“My son, My precious child, I love you and I would
never leave you. During your times of trial and
suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it
was then that I Carried You.”

Peace

There is a lot that can’t be said as I don’t have your whole story, but it seems one of the principle problems you are having is the Catholics tendency to keep the dangers of sin, hell, temptation etc in mind.

And even if I stay alone and not worry about this, I’ll still be in constant fear of sin, and Hell, and all of that. <<

Hermione, the passengers of the Titanic put their blind faith in one of man’s creations and look what happened to them. I know many people of Protestant denominations who put such blind faith in Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide that they are ripe to be blindsided by the devil because they believe that faith in the Lord will shield them from all dangers or even inconveniences.

But God told Cain that if he does well, he will recieve. But if he does ill, though sin will be at the door, it will be beneath him and he will have dominion over it. In other words, sin, like Satan, is like a serpent. If you keep your foot on the snake’s head, it can’t hurt you even though it is close at hand. Remove your foot and the snake may either strike at you, or slink away to return when you least expect it.

In your case, you understand the dangers of sin and hell. But you seem to be failing to realize that God is always with you granting you what you need to keep safe from them. In other words, your knowledge is sound, but your faith is lacking.

I went through my own spiritual crisis last year. It wasn’t easy to get out of it, and in a sense, I am still recovering. In fact, I am probably at the lowest point in my life. Yet, oddly enough, rather than feel panic or distress as you are, I find it outright easy to handle my situation even though there will be much hard work and sacrifices ahead. (Pope John Paul’s personal victory over adversity is also inspiring to me right now.)

Hang in there, Hermione. Keep the faith, and look for someone you can trust to help.

Like exercise and dieting, this period in your life might not be fun, but in the end, if you persevere, you will be stronger for the struggle.

Thal59

Sent you a PM

Thank you again everyone,

UKcatholicGuy, at the instant you were praying for me I was lying face down on the bed, but I actually felt some sense of peace. Thank you for praying, maybe it worked.

The “Footprints” thing made me cry, thank you for that too.

Thank you everyone else for your support and prayers.

You know, I want to believe in a loving God. I don’t want to be a bad person. I want to do good things. I want to love people, I want to study, I want to raise a family (only I don’t want so many kids that I’ll go insane).

The only problem is that I feel if I turn back to Catholicism I’ll feel so overwhelmed with examinations of conscience, fear, guilt, etc. that I’ll self destruct completely.

:frowning:

I wish there was another way.

I felt the same when I converted. There were times of peace, but not many times. Most of the time I had so much anxiety as I’d never experienced in my entire life. I was never Christian or any other faith before I converted so it was all new to me. And I was upset over everything. I didn’t think I could pray, like I didn’t know how, I didn’t want to give up things I liked, I hated going to Church because I had to be around all these people and pretend like I wanted to be around them. Even though I’m a really solitary person. I was bored with praying, and it was a real problem for me, how boring I thought it all was. I never disagreed with anything that Catholicism teaches, I just either couldn’t understand it as much as I wanted, or I thought I couldn’t, or it just depressed me or made me think of how boring it would be to actually just pray all the time or read the bible all the time etc. I’m still pretty much in that same place. I’ve had times where it hasn’t bothered me as much or I just got through it. Now isn’t one of those times, and right now I’m just doing what I want. I want to go back to the Church, but I don’t know when that will ever be. I guess right now I’m just tired of thinking about my own personal ‘relationship’ with God or the Church. I still like studying it objectively though, Catholicism. I’ve always loved researching and listening to people talk about it etc. It’s the part where I actually have to apply it to myself and do it that I’m not so good at. Not that being outside of the church and doing whatever I want is fullfilling either. I guess I’m just kind of stuck. But I’ll tell you something, it isn’t the religion thats making you feel this way, it’s you. There’s tons of people who are Catholic and are well adjusted people. I think you just need to take a step back, not out of the church, but just out of your own headspace and try to make the conscious choice to think more postively, maybe get help from a priest or doctor, and also pray for help and submit to any present suffering you may be experiencing and offer it up. hope this helps a little and you feel better soon.

I felt a lot like this when I was in high school, which is when I became a lapsed Catholic. Of course, much heartbreak and much reflection later I came to realize that I was pulling myself down in a whole lot of ways.

I don’t think I relayed much of this here, but I know I have some of it. I was not a good guy, though everyone thought I was. I was involved in a graffiti gang with connections to a Mexican gang with connections to organized Mexican crime (even though I was Irish! – how weird is that?) Anyway, I was also a jock and believe you me I did not treat women with the respect and love I do now… et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Long story short I had an abortion with my fiancée, which at the time I agreed with, but then my whole world seem to come crumbling down… first my sister got pregnant in high school, my dad left the family for the second and last time, my mother went through a bout of depression and then cancer for the second time, my dad informed me it was my family now and that I needed to be the man of the house now and take care of the family, my brother contracted mono and CMV at the same time and was a moment away form death at the tender age of 14. And all of this on the heels of the break up of my fiancée and I over the problems stemming from the abortion. Indeed life seemed very, very unfair and there certainly seemed like there was no God, let alone a Catholic Church, which claimed to be the church established by this God. Indeed I was very much a believer that if there were a God then I, and most everyone I knew, would not have to suffer in such ways.

To be honest I came to a crossroads in my life where I had to decide if life was worth living anymore. While I was not actively contemplating suicide, I certainly did not want to live in such a cruel world anymore and I definitely did not want a whole bunch of rules and regulations church! After much pain, crying (and yes this Colorado Cowboy cried when it hit that hard), and personal reflection I decided to “find God” in order to see if He was real so I could find the best way to yell at him… an Irish tradition ya know.

I looked at anything and everything. I explored New Ageism (really warped), which led me to Celtic Wiccaism (sp?), a Shao Lin (sp?) temple (Kung Fu and a sect of Buddhism), more New Ageism (this time self help guru stuff), and some other stuff. I did not find him there and so I checked into monotheism: Judaism and Mohammedanism. I kind of felt him in Mohammedanism, but definitely in Judaism. Yet, I did not feel him there in the way I was looking for. I then explored Evangelical Presbyterianism, Missouri Synod Lutheranism, and finally High Church Anglicanism. Again I was close to Him there, but always something felt amiss – something missing.

It was not until my mom enrolled me in the WYD in Denver in 1993 that I truly felt like I had found Him. I remember coming back into the Church – with my heart, mind and body, on August 15 of that year. Now you are probably wondering what happened to the “yell at Him stuff” right? Well, interestingly enough, my anger subsided the more I looked for Him and the more I looked the more I found myself seeking Him for all together different reasons. For me, the journey was my therapy. The search helped me heal more than I could have asked for. Though that healing would have been entirely incomplete without coming full circle into the Church.

I tell you this because, while your reasons for stress, pain, anger, and disbelief are different from mine in their particulars the situation seems to be much the same. I will not tell you that you have to do this and you have to do that. I can only tell you that in this trial that you are in there is going to be ample opportunity to seek Him. Just do it honestly, without prejudice and certainly be open to His guidance during the whole process. Also remember that suffering, however hard and disgusting it tastes, is a fact of life for every species of life in both the animal and plant kingdoms. Life consists of pains and that is the natural order of things.

I can tell you that as a Catholic I have at least found meaning in all of my sufferings. I will pray for you. I will pray that St. Christopher intercede on your behalf during this journey. I will pray that however your journey unfolds that the Lord will always be with you. And, as your Catholic brother (for we are a true family) I will pray for your return home… like the prodigal son in that wonderful parable.

Until then I am your unworthy brother in Christ.

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