Is anorexia / self-harm a sin?


#1

[size=3]Hi. Well, my question is whether anorexia is a sin. It’s a mental illness, for sure, but how does Catholicism view it exactly?:confused: What do you guys think? I’ve been struggling with this horrible disease for about a year now, and it’s so very hard for me to “feel” Catholic and be anorexic at the same time. Of course, I also battle severe depression, PTSD, OCD, and anxiety disorders, and I also wonder if I’m not just full of filthy sin. Unfortunately, self-harm has come about as a symptom of all these things, too (cutting, hair-pulling, etc.). I feel so bad about myself, but I do realize that I’ve been battling a number of these things since I was a child - so they can’t be completely my fault - can they? I feel so sorry for being me - I just want to apologize to the world, but I don’t know how to apologize enough.

The other side of me says: Is a person with cancer sinning? Does a person with cancer chose to have cancer?

I guess the debate is whether or not I’ve been acting on choice, or on imperfection, or on - what? I don’t know. I’m so confused…

[/size] [size=3]:blessyou:[/size]


#2

no none of it is a sin. For something to be a sin it requires the full consent of our will - and it doesn’t sound like you’re willing this freely. Have you sought out professional help? If not, do so ASAP, because your health is in alot of danger. In the meantime, stay close to JEsus and the Sacraments, ask Him for help and healing. I myself have PTSD and OCD personality disorder, as well as problems with anxiety. Many years ago some “friends” of mine basically told me I was sinning because I wasn’t “putting my faith in God” and other nonsense. Sadly I believed them and this made it alot harder to get better in the long run. So don’t let anyone tell you that you’re being a bad Catholic because of your illnesses. If someone is - then stay away from them because they are only going to hinder your journey towards health. These problems are caused by chemical imbalances - you aren’t culpable for them anymore than you would be culpable if you were a diabetic. Many people don’t realize the nature of mental illness and ignorantly attribute it to a personality or moral failing. This is wrong. So hang in there, get professional help, and don’t give up on prayer. Things will get better. God Bless.


#3

[quote=prfctlyimprfct][size=3]Hi. Well, my question is whether anorexia is a sin. It’s a mental illness, for sure, but how does Catholicism view it exactly?:confused: What do you guys think? I’ve been struggling with this horrible disease for about a year now, and it’s so very hard for me to “feel” Catholic and be anorexic at the same time. Of course, I also battle severe depression, PTSD, OCD, and anxiety disorders, and I also wonder if I’m not just full of filthy sin. Unfortunately, self-harm has come about as a symptom of all these things, too (cutting, hair-pulling, etc.). I feel so bad about myself, but I do realize that I’ve been battling a number of these things since I was a child - so they can’t be completely my fault - can they? I feel so sorry for being me - I just want to apologize to the world, but I don’t know how to apologize enough.

The other side of me says: Is a person with cancer sinning? Does a person with cancer chose to have cancer?

I guess the debate is whether or not I’ve been acting on choice, or on imperfection, or on - what? I don’t know. I’m so confused…

[/size][size=3]:blessyou:[/size]

[/quote]

I suffer from OCD (severely) it is a nightmare. It appears that due to psychological issues you are NOT culpable of any act which may be evil such as self-harm. That said it must be possible with grace to overcome these problems. Prayer and Medication are the way forward.


#4

Aw, that’s nothing! When I was a kid I suffered from PTSD, OCD, EKG, EMG, TB, personality disorder, psychosis, fybromyalgia, somatic disorder, cystosis, sacroiliitis, lumbago, silicosis, sarcoidosis … and the list goes on.

And people made fun of me. They thought I was just being one of those super-scrupulous *Catholics * who incurred these illnesses by virtue of my scupulosity. You know, that Catholic-guilt thingy that sets us apart.

I could be wrong but…that WAS the purpose of this post, was it not?


#5

[quote=prfctlyimprfct][size=3]Hi. Well, my question is whether anorexia is a sin. It’s a mental illness, for sure, but how does Catholicism view it exactly?:confused: What do you guys think? I’ve been struggling with this horrible disease for about a year now, and it’s so very hard for me to “feel” Catholic and be anorexic at the same time. Of course, I also battle severe depression, PTSD, OCD, and anxiety disorders, and I also wonder if I’m not just full of filthy sin. Unfortunately, self-harm has come about as a symptom of all these things, too (cutting, hair-pulling, etc.). I feel so bad about myself, but I do realize that I’ve been battling a number of these things since I was a child - so they can’t be completely my fault - can they? I feel so sorry for being me - I just want to apologize to the world, but I don’t know how to apologize enough.

The other side of me says: Is a person with cancer sinning? Does a person with cancer chose to have cancer?

I guess the debate is whether or not I’ve been acting on choice, or on imperfection, or on - what? I don’t know. I’m so confused…

[/size][size=3]:blessyou:[/size]

[/quote]

IMO, an eating-disorder could be sinful, but I don’t know if yours is. It depends on what’s going on inside you and what you are doing about it.

It sounds like you are battling several serious disorders, and, if you are not already doing so, you desperately need medical and psychological help. I will pray that you get it.


#6

I think anorexia, to be specific, isn’t a sin because it’s a mental illness which the sufferer isn’t responsible for having, any more that it’s a sin for having measles.


#7

Actually, anorexia is a form of OCD some might say… It is a way of taking control in your life, because there is a usally a lack of control in some other aspect of your life. It is something you need to recognize is a problem because your perception of what you are doing isn’t the reality that people see. It sounds like you have made a step. I don’t think it is something you have control over because it is one of the nature and nutrue things that help feed it. You need to seek help though. You are in my prayers…


#8

[quote=Sweetcakes]I think anorexia, to be specific, isn’t a sin because it’s a mental illness which the sufferer isn’t responsible for having, any more that it’s a sin for having measles.
[/quote]

Has it been declared a mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association? Just curious.


#9

It is always material or objective sin act contrary to God’s will, whether a sin or omission or comission. Whether or not you are *culpable *for the guilt of sin depends upon the consent of your intellect and will. There are many impediments to the intellect and will that may diminish and even destroy culpability.


#10

I think it is important to point out the fact that some people suffering from this disorder (and many others) are prone to feelings of guilt and hopelessness.

While it may be a sin to act in any way contrary to God’s will, God still loves you and wants to see you healthy, happy, and loving yourself and Him.

I think that you need to seek help. As long as you recognize that what you are doing is causing harm to your body, mind, and soul it is your responsibility to do something about it.

If you ever want to talk, feel free to PM me.

Don’t ever lose hope.

Malia


#11

Anorexia and Bullimia are both in the DSMV IV as mental disorders.
They have physical symptoms, but are done because of a warped view of reality,


#12

what they said. I will just add that for everyone suffering from physical or mental illness, the Church offers a personal encounter with the healing power of Jesus Christ through the sacraments. While you should seek every medical means to diagnose and treat your disorder, for the Catholic it is essential to also confess frequently and to ask for the sacrament of anointing. The purpose of confession is not to say your illness or its manifestations are sinful, but to gain the personal assurance of the divine mercy and the graces to help you combat your disorder. the same goes of course for frequent reception of holy communion.


#13

I don’t believe that its a sin. Anorexia is a mental illness, which means its out of your control. You may be harming yourself, but not by choice.


#14

I think harming your body in any way is a sin. I never knew that anoerexia nervosa, or bulimia nervosa were mental disorders. But like gluttony- eating to much- is a sin. I was at a retreat with my church and we had this penance-service type thing, and then there were a lot of priest open for confession, one of the things that was listed in the sins, was not taking care of your body, either eating to much, or not enough food, and exercise- to much or not enough.
Remember- you can have just as much control over your body when you eat a balanced diet(responding to the sense of control in your life)


#15

I don’t think anorexia is a mental illness, the state of one’s mental health does change with anorexia, but that’s due largely to starvation which causes a chemical imbalance, not the other way around. So I would say the origin of anorexia in a large percent of people has to do with self hate/hate of circumstances and the determination/desperate need to do something about it, i.e lose weight. Is this a sin? Becoming your own god and taking control of your body/own world, rather than surrendering it, I would say is sin.So its important for people struggeling with anorexia to realize this to an extent and say, “I can’t go on like this, I need your help God” and then to turn to Him, which is repentance. And I also believe that the demonic realm and the flesh will fight against turning to God and that’s to be expected, what is important is to keep turning to Him at every stage until truths set you free and they will. I was anorexic for seven years, hospitalized most the time and nearly died on three occasions, but are now totally free. And last one, don’t forget grace, for as Christians/Catholics sin has no power over us, all God wants is for our will to be one with His and to turn to Him at every point through life…its now about relationship hey since Christ died on our behalf’s, not law.


#16

My dear, it sounds as though you are suffering from scrupulosity, which is a form of OCD. It means, essentially, that you worry obsessively about being sinful. It certainly sounds as if you sometimes think you’re just too awful for this world and might deserve hell.

You don’t. As a friend of mine says, “God don’t make no junk.” You are his precious child. He loves you deeply and wants you to be whole, and wants you to be with Him in heaven. You, personally!

Yes, giving in to anorexia and the desire to hurt yourself is sinful. It is not mortal sin, as a previous poster said, because you lack full and free consent of the will.

Do go to confession frequently. The Sacrament does indeed give us graces with which to fight these frequent sins. I know. Find a confessor who is familiar with scrupulosity, too, so he can help you tell the difference between mortal sin, venial sin, and no sin at all.

And ask St. Dymphna to intercede for you. She’s the saint of mental illness, and she has certainly helped me! Not long after I began asking her to pray for me, I got a new doctor who is getting my meds straightened out to where I’m nearly normal! (Bipolar type 2 and ADD)

Your sister in suffering,

Ruthie


#17

So you suffered from tests that check heart rhythm and muscle activity?


closed #18

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