Depressed. Nothing to do, nowhere to go. Treading Water

Whenever I sit down to contact places I get extremely depressed.

I have basically put off doing anything with my life now, because of depression and anxiety. I quit my job, and I’m leaving college… accept I have nowhere to go. I have no plan and no goal.

My counselor, who’s been counseling me for depression and anxiety for the past 6 weeks knows this. My family knows this. And several of my close friends know this.

My goal this week (before counseling next week) is to come up with a goal.

I’ve been wanting to go to a Catholic community somewhere. Or Catholic volunteering. But, every time I read about them, I get so discouraged. My mind tells me: “If I apply, they’ll reject me. There’s only X amount of spots left, I’ll never get one.”

And the one that I’m really thinking at the moment: “I’m not really in the right place to be serving others. I’m probably closer to the descriptions of the people that these Catholic organizatons serve, rather than those who serve.”

I’m stuck. I’m treading water. I’m in a pool just stuck here, not moving towards anything. And, I’m paralyzed by fear of moving anywhere, lest it be the wrong direction. These are all facts that I’ve established in counseling.

I’m scared that if I go volunteer somewhere, where I have neither my friends nor my family I would just get more depressed, and have to leave. [Even though, logically, I’m sure I’d make friends at a Catholic volunteering thing].

What do I do?

I don’t have unlimited time. My counselor wants me to make a decision this week. I’ve been saying I’ll research about where I should go for about a month now. And… NADA. I’ve emailed no one. What do I say?

I’m really depressed. And, I need the Church to help me.

Living in the secular world is something I won’t do. This depresses me. My counselor says that the next thing I do should be something I want to do.

I want to flee the secular world.
I want to flee to the Catholic world.

But, I don’t know where to go.
Where are places in the Catholic world that I can flee to?

Hopefully y’all can answer my questions.
If not, then hopefully I’ll have the strength to travel to go see priests that I can ask these same questions to.

That’s my only hope right now: Maybe a priest will have the answer. Maybe if I go to enough priests, one will have an answer of where I can go.

I’m going to post this same post identically in the Prayer Intentions.

My one goal this week is to find a Catholic community, apostolate, organization, etc. that I can go to. Please help.

I was seeing a counsellor for depression last year and he gave me similar direction, ie. to accomplish one particular thing each week. It’s a form of therapy called Behavioural Activation.

It worked wonders for me - over the course of about six months I got my energies back. It seems like just accomplishing one thing per week will take too long to get anywhere, but over a fairly short time period one makes more progress than if you aim to high at the start.

I can’t be sure, but it sounds like that is what your consellor is doing.

It’s probably not so important that you make the best possible decision about a community, but rather that you make a decision, any decision, this week, and then next week you’ll do something about it.

So, my advice is to just pick something which is:

a. Reasonable
b. Feels right in your gut.

In the early days with my counsellor I was tired all the time, and usually did my assigned task in the hour before I left for my appointment on Monday morning, but that was enough.

I’ll pray for your decision this week. :gopray2::slight_smile:

***Behavioral activation *is a third generation behavior therapy for treating depression. It is one of many functional analytic psychotherapies which are based on a Skinnerian psychological model of behavior change, generally referred to as applied behavior analysis. This area is also a part of what is called clinical behavior analysis (CBA) (see behavior therapy) and makes up one of the most effective practices in the professional practice of behavior analysis.


I can not know at all but perhaps God is calling you to a religious life.

I read your post and i can certainly relate to it. I’m older and have lived with severe anxiety and depression since I was 15 yrs old. I struggle with motivation myself and I’ve always wanted to serve our Lord in a special capacity. It sounds like you need discernment. Because you want to serve God and do his will, not your own.
When you’re mentally ill, like we are. Your perception is off,too. It makes it hard to distinguish what choices you need to make and what is best for you.
You have wonderful intentions, but you need prayer (for explicit discernment) ( I find novenas and the rosary are very helpful, as well for comfort,motivation and guidance ) and a priest should most likely be consulted to pray and speak to you about how you can discern what God wants you to do. And be sure to mention to him your psychological issues. Give him the whole story, so to speak. And if you feel like you’re not getting the help you need from one priest, there’s nothing wrong with going to see another. And be advised that a priest might ask you to seek not just psychological but medicinal help as well. In my case prayer and meds worked for me.
. That’s only my opinion, but i did have a spiritual advisor ( a deacon) for about 7 yrs. He also taught me about humility. You must be very humble to serve God. It sounds like you are. Take care and know God loves you and will help you. Keep seeking and don’t give up :o

I don’t blame you for dropping out of college if you don’t want to be there. You need a Catholic counselor to help you deal with your specific problem. I feel that is the root or your problem. In time, with progress in the spiritual life it will go away, God is patient, but it will require real determination.

Forget the priesthood or the religious life. It is not for you at this time. How close are you to Hanceville, Alabama? You could make a private retreat to the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament and EWTN,

You also need to get a job, any thing that is honest - flipping burgers, anything, just keep busy. Volunteer with Catholic Charities, at the local parish ( you can run a lawn mower can’t you? ) Anyway, keep busy.


Well… you could make it your goal simply to apply for one or more Catholic apostolates.

At least that way, you’re in control of the result. The only way you can fail is if you don’t apply.

And actually, there is one secular institution that is pretty Catholic, at least as I’ve seen it: long-term nursing care. While you can’t volunteer to be a CNA, you can volunteer to visit, or do activities with, elderly people in a nursing home. I’ve been doing that for a while now. And you know what? I like it when I walk in there, because I know I make many people there happy.

Just a thought.

If you’re clinically depressed you have a physical condition affecting your brain chemistry and structure. Particularly the region which processes emotion.

If you’re not improving, get a second opinion. You mention a therapist, I don’t know if you’ve also seen a psychiatrist. It’s like any other condition, if the current treatment is not working you may need a different approach. Some therapists don’t like meds, some psychiatrists discount the benefit of therapy. The highest success rates utilize both.

Some things which will help

  • Exercise
  • Conversation/connection with other people

Right. So, the good news is that I haven’t felt depressed now for 4 days. So, it would appear that at least those woes are gone for now.

I still need to figure out what to do though. I think I’d really enjoy finding a Catholic apostolate or something to work for. Thanks for all your prayers though. A lot of prayers have been answered. So, right now I’m just trying to be thankful for all the ones that have.

I’ve got about 2 weeks to come up with a plan though. And, the sooner, the better. Its better to not be sitting around treading water. I need a goal of something to do/ somewhere to go.

Pray your rosary daily and recommend yourself to the Blessed Virgin Mary … and apply to places where you’d like to volunteer – if you get denied, then just apply someplace else. Have a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and take refuge in His Sacred Heart. God bless you.

Praying for you.

I don’t know where you live or anything, so I can’t recommend any place to go volunteer at. I’d say that research is up to you. There is which you might like to check out.

Now, I understand the whole part about not wanting to apply and so on. I experience similar fears myself. Even when I do just make the choice and apply, I usually have anxiety attacks later even if my action turns out to be a blessing to myself and others later. The thing is that you’re just going to have to apply whether you want to or not. Make an effort to ignore the thoughts of fear and doubt about applying, and just apply. Force yourself to do it. If you’re treading water, and you see what looks like a shark swimming beneath you–will you stay there, treading water? or will you try to make it to safety–knowing that the shark might just be an illusion, and if it isn’t, you’ll never escape it treading water. It’s difficult but not impossible to climb ashore.

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