Hi, I have recently had some stress over whether or not to become a priest or some other religious vocation these past couple months. This may be a long story so please hang with me. My story begins about three years ago when i was suffering from (i think it was depression) depression, i was empty inside and had anxiety and very negative thoughts, one night i just broke down cause i couldnt take it anymore. That night i took out my old bible and read a couple of chapters i think it was some of the gospel of matthew. I went to bed and when i woke up it was as if a boulder had been lifted up off my chest, my mind was clear and it was one of the best days of my life. After that i started going to mass and living a better life, overtime i sort of started living a sinful life though. then one day about 7 months ago the depression, negative thoughts came back, i started praying more and trying to ask god to please take this depression away again. During this time a thought came to me, i thought that since this depression will not go away maybe God is calling me to become a priest and i might feel better. this thought was all i could think about. I was about to graduate college and always had my eyes set on doing something in the medical field. my life then turned to more anxiety and negative thoughts, i viewed the priesthood as a prison sentence. This became so bad that i stopped praying all together, i went back to drinking gambling lust etc. It became so bad that i would go to mass and not look at the priest, i would avoid any contact with a priest or seminarian.
At my happiest times when i thought i was closest to God during those three years (during a novena btw) i felt that my life was in order, i felt that i was doing Gods will such as the profession i was choosing and maybe one day getting married,
Now im slowly getting back to praying but im just worried that the anxiety will come back, it has come back a little, Whenever these thoughts and feelings come up i cant do anything and keep my mind on it, i can be watching television and ill have this thought and anxious feeling in my chest that i shouldnt be doing this and i should be becoming a priest and ill jump up and just pace back and forth talking it out, during this time i am a very irritable person (I have not had a good day since december), i envy others because i feel they are called to be married etc and i am forced to become a priest and i will only be ''happy'' if i do. I fear that if I don’t become a priest I will not be truly “happy,” During these two depression cycles I had no hope for the future as in would never get married or be happy. And only during the second one did I have the idea of becoming a priest or brother since i felt that obviously i was not going to get married. Could this feeling of becoming a priest just be a result of these stressful times in my life? I have heard other priest's stories of discernment and they all have had times of great peace and joy over the calling, and that God sort of made it to where it was totally evident that He was calling him to become a priest, such as people telling them they would make a great priest. At times i feel peace about the possibility of becoming a priest but these are rare and I think it may just be me getting confused with these feelings.
On top of this i am currently dating a girl and she meets every aspect i would love to see in a lady, and now i look at her and think i can't pursue a relationship with her because i am feeling this way and this further adds to the frustration and disappointment
I am afraid and don’t want to feel like this,
Sorry for the long story and im sorry if it is a little jumbled and hard to follow, if anybody has any advice it would be greatly appreciated