I was baptized Reformed-ish. We were taught that baptism was not regenerative nor was it a special vehicle of grace (it didn’t “do anything”), but was an act of obedience to Christ; and if this act of obedience was the result of faith in Christ, we would receive the Holy Spirit (not because of the baptism, but because of the faith), and the Holy Spirit would then grant us assurance of salvation. I did not sense that I “had” the Holy Spirit; I didn’t have love, wisdom or peace, and I did not receive assurance of salvation in spite of much prayer. I thought that perhaps something had ‘gone wrong’ with my baptism; there was a similar situation in Acts where people received Christian baptism but not the Spirit, and some of the Apostles had to be called in to lay hands on them so that they could receive the Spirit. I was taught that there were no more Apostles (and no Apostolic Succession) so it didn’t seem likely that there was anyone who could help me, and if it was not God’s will for me to have the Spirit, this (among other things) was because I was just not Predestined.
When I became Catholic, I thought that Confirmation would clear up any “problem” with my baptism. I was hoping that it would be a happy day, but mostly I was praying that it wouldn’t trigger a stint of depression. Because I wanted to avoid an emotional high followed by a crash, I chose not to be received into the Church at the Easter vigil when there would be greater expectations and excitement. I did not want to remember the day as a source of disappointment. I was Confirmed quietly in a quiet month, and at the time I was quietly happy, which was nice. A couple of things didn’t go as expected but it was okay. After I saw the Easter vigil, though, the “couple of things” were overwhelming, and I wonder if it was a suffering caused by avoiding the cross - I tried to protect myself from potential emotional pain, and ended up finding emotional pain in another way?
I am too sensitive about my Confirmation/First Communion, as it seemed vitally important as the seal of my baptism and a remedy for an apparent lack of God. It felt almost like it ought to have been a wedding, and I had wanted to do it right, but at the same time I was trying to downplay it so as not to create any false hopes. I know that I ought to just be grateful to have received Confirmation and now have access to Confession and the Eucharist. I am so thankful to be a Catholic, but when I see how “normal” people celebrate these milestones, I feel absurdly sad and rejected, even cheated. (Just feelings, I know.)
Now I realize that, even within Catholicism, there is a “baptism of the Holy Spirit” that can come separately from the sacraments of baptism and Confirmation, and this does not come to everyone? Am I supposed to request it? In the Acts reference, it was obvious whether or not a convert had received the Spirit, but although I am told that I “have” the Spirit by baptism and Confirmation, I can’t tell.