What do I do with doubts?


#1

Hello, everyone. I’m new here, and I know I’m supposed to be brief but I’m going through something I can’t understand and I need help. It started about a month ago, when I remembered something I’d done when I was younger. The memory has been coming and going for years, but this time I decided I needed to go to confession for the sin, even though in the past I’d “explained away” the need. So I went to confession the following weekend and, just hours later, felt as if I had done it “wrong.” That I hadn’t explained enough or even explained in a way that it didn’t happen (at the time, in confession, I wasn’t “lying.” It was after it occurred to me that it didn’t happen the way I said). I also started to feel guilty about what I had considered at the time a smaller sin. One I was afraid to say in confession, even though I was thinking on it, for fear the priest would laugh at me for bringing up something so silly.

Now, a month later, I’ve decided to go back to confession and talk about everything. Maybe this is a sin in itself, a doubt of the forgiveness the church can give, and I know I have a problem with that (just read a little further). In this confession, I want to include the way it actually happened, the thing I didn’t say the first time, and a whole bunch of other sins that I have remembered since then. I’ve actually been making a list. But then a few days ago I started having doubts. First I started thinking that my intentions were not good enough. That I was going to confession without feeling contrition and I wasn’t sorry. Now it has developed into doubts and fears that I really don’t understand. I am started to doubt in repentance altogether and that, even if my confession is good enough and my mind set is what it should be, I can’t be forgiven. Almost as if I doubt the power of confession and the church in the forgiveness of sins. Today my mother asked if I believed in God and the confusion became deeper. I try to push away such thoughts. I feel sick about these things. I want to believe so desperately, and I want to feel sorry for my sins. But what I feel is confusion and despair and my main desire is to curl up in a ball and cry and forget.

I should tell you now that I believe I have a serotonin deficiency. Some of the symptoms include paranoia, depression, anxiety and other mental disorders. I am in therapy for anxiety. In the past, it has usually shown itself as a fear of disease or death in some way. For the past 4 months I’ve had an irrational fear of anaphylactic shock, for instance, but it has been replaced by this moral dilemma (just as anaphylactic shock replaced emetophobia) I think these doubts and fears may have come from the deficiency, or maybe some devil is whispering in my ear and trying to get me to give up.
I don’t know what to do. Can I be forgiven for this? How do I work through it? The confession is tomorrow and maybe I should just talk to the priest, but I wanted to ask someone here first. I want hope and a plan and I want to believe. What is wrong with me?


#2

I’m pretty new here myself and I’ll tell you this much - there are some fantastic people on this forum who will give you help and support with your worries. Personally, I think you should discuss all this with your priest, he’s far better qualified than me to give you advice. Don’t worry about bringing up “silly” sins, he’ll have heard ones that are far sillier. At the end of your confession, the priest will absolve you of ALL your sins, even those you have forgotten to bring up. I always say at the end of my confession something like “I am sorry for these sins and all those I can’t remember here” and that covers everything.

Definitely definitely talk to your priest, he’s there to help you.

Good luck and God bless.


#3

Be at peace and calm your heart.

Continue to seek medical help for your medical issues, and go forward with your plan to confess and do penance.
Remember that your sins were still forgiven the first time you confessed, as long as you were truly contrite and had innocently forgotten the details. Going a second time to clear that off your chest is fine too, but be at peace and KNOW that GOD is with you and calling you to be with Him. Rejoice knowing that you will be reunited in love to the Lord.

I personally find the Catechism of the Catholic Church a very helpful resource in understanding the meaning of the Sacraments… here is the section on Reconciliation…
usccb.org/catechism/text/pt2sect2chpt2.shtml#art4

Be at peace, and may God bless you and keep you!


#4

Race12, what you describe is a classic case of scrupulosity. The spiritual cure for scrupulosity is to choose one priest who understands scrupulosity to be your confessor, and to do whatever he tells you in regard to confessing your sins and dealing with your fears and doubts. Some of what you are told to do may sound wrong or counterintuitive, but scrupulosity impairs your ability to use your conscience, so the rules are all different for you.

Scrupulosity can also be a manifestation of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). You mentioned that you are in therapy for anxiety. If your practitioner is not an M.D., you may wish to consult an M.D., since there are medications that can really help with OCD.

I know someone very well who suffered terribly from both OCD and scrupulosity. When the OCD was diagnosed and properly treated, the scrupulosity disappeared.

Betsy


#5

I also think you should just talk to your priest. I have a hard time with confession, but every time I have had difficulty every priest has told me not to worry, they have heard it all. I believe them, so don’t try to decide if it is silly or not, just talk to your priest about it. God bless you!


#6

balto betsy’s advice is very good advice. Heed it.Tell the confessor you chose that you tend to be scrupulous. :slight_smile:


#7

When You go to confession, & confess your sins, even if at the time You forgot to mention a sin, it is forgiven when The priest says the absolution & says all your sins are forgiven


#8

I just wanted to post a thank you for you guys! Scrupulosity sounds like a fit and now that I’ve gone back to confession this morning I really believe I “have it.” Even though I feel I’ve confessed all my sins now, I am obsessing over whether I felt the necessary contrition. My mother has put her two cents in again :smiley: and tells me that the fact I walked into that confessional is enough. The priest told me God works with us at whatever state we are in emotionally. However, I feel that my desire to start again with a clear soul might not be true. Like, maybe I just don’t want to have to go to confession again. I was instructed by the priest I confessed to to choose a priest I trusted and could work with and I will try to find one (currently I have no priest that I’m comfortable having as a confessor in such a way). But in my current state of mind I wanted to ask you. Was my desire to feel sorry for my sins good enough? I really wish I felt sorry and contrite. It was almost as if I couldn’t make myself. That I was in “get it over with” phase and trying not to feel anything. But maybe my desire to feel sorry is only so I’ll feel better and not because I actually want to feel sorry. head/desk I’m so confused.

I guess I’m not suppose to be posting this. I feel like if I keep it closed in I’ll blow. :shrug:


#9

Yes, your desire is quite enough.

Feelings are notoriously unreliable as an indicator of important acts of the will like sorrow and love. You may feel love or contrition, or you may not, but as long as your actions are consistent with them, you may be sure that you have them.

You know that your sins offended God and that you intend not to commit them again because of that. That is contrition - in your will. If you feel sorrow and perhaps shed tears over your sins as well, that’s great, but not necessary.

Betsy


#10

Offer your doubts to Jesus, just as you would discouragment, disappointment, and any cross. :slight_smile:


#11

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