depression

I have had depression and social anxiety disorders for a long time and have not been to mass for 4 years. I tried to go but when I went into the church I panicked and left again. I have also self harmed and I wondered if that is a sin, given that it was caused by illness? :confused:
I am much better now and want to go back but am a bit nervous of being amongst a lot of people.

[quote=Linnyo]I have had depression and social anxiety disorders for a long time and have not been to mass for 4 years. I tried to go but when I went into the church I panicked and left again. I have also self harmed and I wondered if that is a sin, given that it was caused by illness? :confused:
I am much better now and want to go back but am a bit nervous of being amongst a lot of people.
[/quote]

First off, thanks for coming by. You are amongst friends that love and want to help you. I am personally glad you are better. May God continue to bless you and give you progress.

Church is made up of people, people with lots of faults, looking for hope, looking for answers. We are insecure by nature. When I started going to church by my self I was afraid people would judge me for being there alone. I still deal with that.

Something I use to do when I did a lot of public speaking was to imagine everyone sitting in their underwear. It helped me over come being in crowds. :twocents:

When you say you are much better now, does that mean that you have been receiving treatment?

I have been coping with my own depression and anxiety disorder for many years now. Treatment has been successful for me. Didn’t make life perfect, but it increased my ability to function normally.

My anxiety makes it hard for me to leave the house. Getting out takes a certain level of motivation. Once out I function just fine.

[quote=coyote]When you say you are much better now, does that mean that you have been receiving treatment?

I have been coping with my own depression and anxiety disorder for many years now. Treatment has been successful for me. Didn’t make life perfect, but it increased my ability to function normally.

My anxiety makes it hard for me to leave the house. Getting out takes a certain level of motivation. Once out I function just fine.
[/quote]

Yes I am on ADs and I have had CBT and been on a confidence course. I can go out now and I can work. I am a school teacher. I can now cope with people but just not lots of adults all in one place.I get panic attacks and then I get low and when I feel like that I sometimes hurt myself to feel back in control. :frowning:

My friend, never fear going to Church, for it is the most peaceful, joyful, and safe place in the world since Our Lord lives there. The Church is your Mother and She will envelop your whole being with Her infinite love and care. I will pray you be granted the grace to run with all your heart to Jesus and when you enter His Home, just kneel silently before the tabernacle and ask Him to speak to your heart. Tell Him all of your fears, all of your depression, tell Him everything. He will come to you. In fact, I am sure He is waiting for you. It is obvious since you feel this strong desire to go to Church that He is calling you. May God Bless you!

You may wish to try going to a morning Mass initially- they tend to be much less crowded than on the weekends.

I suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder so I can sympathize since there are many times when Social Anxiety is part of that and also, there were times when I did not go to mass often becasue of it or that it led to depression. It might still even do so at times.
However, I am am not a fan of medication and thrugh prayer and a good realtionship with God I have learned to deal with the disorder. I just ignore my anxieties since the knowledge of knowing they are irrational can usually overpower my decisons of avoidance which probably caused the most depression. In fact, through the mass and prayer and spending time to refelct on my life, I’ve actually relaly been able to reduce the anxiety. You can’t really cure the disorder but you ca certainly disensitize yourself to several anxieties like going to mass. Sure I am always going to appear as a very tense nervous person to everyone, and anyone who knows me will describe me as so, but I just tell people that my whole family is tense so that is just a part of me. I can overpower the anxiety and do the things I want to do anyways. I still am constantly worried about everythng and anything but I try not to avoid many things anymore.

However, what really helped the most was making a plan for my life and how I can do what I think God wants me to do in life. Once I did that I feel much more confident in achieving everything I do in regards to school and everything. Also, I put a positvie on all the negative. There are many talents God gives all of us and for me, once I focused on what they were I was more thankful for them than mad about the anxiety disorder, and I tried to figure out how I can use them in my life always remembering where I got them from. Perhaps the anxiety is not all bad. I don’t think I would be as conscious about my life or prayer if I didn’t have the anxiety since if I have to always ask God to get me through each and every one of my anxeites than there is more time spent in prayer. Depression works in a similar way since I still function when I am felling depressed and likewise need God more than ever to get the things that need to be done completed. I’ve tunred almost everything into a positive and things just seem to always go my way eventually. I know that my life is going to be wonderful and I’ll always try to keep God a part of it.

We will pray for you.

This is my understanding so it might be flawed.

If you question if those things are a sin:
If you did not choose to harm yourself but your condition compelled you than you didnt sin at all because you had no choice in the matter you could not choose to sin (sin is a choice.)
If you were compelled but you still chose it was a sin, and you had the ability to choose, it was a venial sin (as in its a bad choice, and its a sin, but not a sin in which you choose to fully reject God)

If you are obsessive compuslive like me it is often best not to worry about which. It is best to just go to confession, explain to the preist our situation, and let him deal with it. Satan tries to make you think your sins are more than they actually are. He is evil, and he is tricky. God’s love for you is so much more immense than any sin of yours. If God is infinite, his love is infinite. If you are finite, your sin can’t surpass God’s love. After you go to confession the sin will be all gone anyway, so just go and you won’t have to worry about it anymore.

Try going to daily mass on a weekday, talk to your priest about substituting going during the week for going on Sunday. There are normally less people and its easier to find a place seperate from everyone else.

God made us, many times what people call disorders can help us actually grow closer to Christ while helping that “disorder” in the face of other people. People with OCD (obsessive compusive disorder) might start saying prayers in leiu of one of their other compulsions, or if they have trouble touching doorknobs let them say a prayer every time they do. This gives glory to God, and he strengthens them to be able to do these tasks. If you have depression, it makes it easier to identify with Christ’s passion, with the pain he felt. If you have depression it is easier to look on yourself as worthless, because we are worthless compared to the infinite God. It makes it easier for us to empty ourselves to him, so that he can fill us. It is painful, but that is when we can join to Christ as he in such emotional agony at the Garden of Gethsemene that he sweats blood.

I’m no therapist, but it seems like the advice given here is pretty good. If the medications aren’t entirely cutting it for you, then try what has been suggested: go to the earlier Masses, which tend to be much less crowded. If you find you can deal with those, then perhaps you want to try the later Masses after a while and see how well that works.
And, as I_A said, your disorder really could be extremely valuable in bringing you closer to God. Fight it. When you come to the church, try your best to ignore your fear, and always remind yourself how irrational it is. Even if that doesn’t work initially, keep at it. Gradually you can probably learn to rule your fear, instead of letting it rule you.
Good luck! May the Force (and God) be with you! :cool:

Depression/anxiety disorders are classified as brain disorders along with Parkinson’s Disease, Autism, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, OCD – there are a few more. If you had another one of the brain disorders, you may not even know you are supposed to go to mass. Brain disorders often alter your thoughts.

Not being able to do things when you’re sick can bring on a lot of guilt/depression/anxiety which just perpetuates the disease. When I stopped beating myself up and accepted that I just couldn’t do some things for awhile, I got better faster. I stopped feeding the ‘there must really be something wrong with me since . . . I can’t even sit in mass, or walk around the block, or go to my son’s baseball game, etc.’

Once you accept that you have a chronic illness, the distorted thoughts that are caused by it don’t bother you as much. You just think, ‘o.k., I’m sick right now, so I need to adjust my life while I’m getting treatment.’ Just like my husband when his arthritis flares up – he doesn’t feel guilty when he can’t do this, that, or the other thing while he’s healing.

I, too, am depressive. I have a smidgen of social anxiety, but nothing close to yours. My advice comes from there…

Are you OK with phone calls? If so, call the parish and ask which Mass has the smallest crowd. Someone earlier said, try during the week, and that would certainly work in my parish.

Then arrive for that Mass at least 1/2 hour early, preferably an hour. Spend that hour in praise and adoration. The church will then fill up around you. This way you won’t have to walk into a crowd.

I hope this helps. You’re in my prayers.

Is there an adoration chapel anywhere nearby? Try that – rarely are there more than one or two people about – very quiet and restful.

Thankyou everyone for your helpful suggestions. I’ll let you know how I get on. :slight_smile:

Depression is very serious, I hope you are seeking professional help. Not being able to go to mass would devastate me. IF going to an earlier mass doesn’t help, you may try to tune into the masses on TV for shut-ins and maybe ask your pastor if you can receive Communion from the folks who deliver it for people who can not make it to mass.

Linnyo,

Have you gone to confession? Maybe having a clean slate would help ya overcome the anxiety.

[quote=Black Jaque]Linnyo,

Have you gone to confession? Maybe having a clean slate would help ya overcome the anxiety.
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:nope: No , I’m too ashamed and I don’t know what things have been sins and which things haven’t. Does that sound odd?:whacky: My head has been so muddled and I have done wrong things but I’m not sure if they were sinful. I would love to do an on-line confession. I think I would be sectioned if people really got to know the muddle that was in my head.:o
Most of my behaviour, as in problem behaviour, has not been the type of sins you find examples of in the catechism or even in the Bible. They are ‘grey area’ things.:confused: I don’t like talking about them either because they can trigger more negative behaviours.
I have had treatment in the way of cognitive behavioural therapy and I am a LOT better now. I can function properly now:dancing: . I also take great anti depressants and I think I might be on them forever. I tried reducing them and became really low and unstable again so …I don’t know?

I sympathize with you. Everyone else had great suggestions, but these might help as well.

  1. Get to church early and sit in the last pew or close to the back and get there early so you can acclimate to the situation. Then no one will even notice you. I have often found noon masses on Sundays to be pretty lightly populated with people as well.

  2. Don’t be afraid of confession. This is the height of God’s mercy and you receive graces to help you battle sin in the future. It is best to confess all of your sins and gray areas to the priest. He will help you discern what is sin and what is not. Remember, God already knows your sins, he just wants us to come to him and acknowledge our sin and ask for his forgiveness sacramentally so there is nothing to fear!

  3. For confession, make sure it is not face to face and from what I have seen, most scheduled confession hours on Saturdays at most parishes are not even remotely crowded.

I will pray for you and may God Bless You.

Going to confession would probably help you tremendously. Very possibly much of what you may be feeling guilty about may be caused by your depression, which menas that you are NOT responsible for them and they may not be sins at all.

For someone who is worried about sin and its consequences, confession may be the very best thing that you can do. PLUS it will give you someone else to talk to, always a good thing. It’s like getting therapy for free. Priests make great listeners, let them know about your problems and very likely they may help you find solutions or at least point you in the right direction.

It is much better to know for sure where you stand with God, than try to guess on what is sinful and what is not. It may be that feeling guilty is causing part of your depression, and the best thing to remove guilt is a good confession. The priests are there to help you, nothing you say will surprise or shock them. IF you think you may be embarassed to talk to a priest from your parish, go to another parish and confess to a total stranger.

Good luck and may God bless you.

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