I’ve often wondered how mental illness might affect the culpability of a person who commits a grave sin, especially in the darkness of serious clinical depression.
Taking masturbation as an example: around 1-3 PM each day, my despair reaches critical levels. I begin to think “God hates me”, “I have been abandoned by everyone”, “everything is pointless”, and other such thoughts. This is the strongest period of temptation for committing impurity. I wish to become lost in a soothing world created by the imagination: where my Person ceases to exist, and is subsumed into another. One moment I begin to think: “I am a worthless, useless, pointless piece of garbage…” and the next thing you know, I have committed the sin. I see the gravity of the sin immediately, but a few hours later, when my mind has left the depression behind somewhat, I see that my reasonable faculties were impeded when I sinned.
I am very confused about the level of consent & culpability involved here - and since I am not a psychologist, I can’t tell. My spiritual father and I are trying to figure out how much of the despair I am responsible for (bad habits of thinking, etc.), vs. how much of it is simply chemical imbalance, or otherwise outside my control. He is not available for advice right now, and I would like some help.
It is very convenient for me to get to confession, and I love it. This is not about trying to avoid the sacrament. I just want to hear your moral considerations.