Prayer Request

A reader writes:

I enjoy reading your blogs and follow you on FB too and really appreciate your perspective on our Catholic faith. I know you likely get lots of prayer requests, but I was hoping I could ask you to say a prayer or twenty for me.

I’ve been going through a really
deep depression over the last month and a half. I have struggled with clinical depression since I was about 12 or 13 (I’m 37 now) but this most recent depressive episode has hit me much harder than others. The reason I’m asking for prayer is because I’ve been feeling really apathetic about getting better. I know there is no cure for depression and that it is a disease that can only be managed, but I’ve gotten tired of managing it. I told my husband that there is about 60% of me that really doesn’t care about ever getting better and would just like to end it. The other 40% is the part of me that knows I have a duty to him as his wife and to our three daughters to try and get better so I can be there for them and for him. That 40% is the part of me that is keeping appointments with my therapist and psychiatrist and is only entertaining suicide as an idle thought instead of actually making serious and lethal plans or attempting to carry them out (although I’ll admit I was looking for the firing pins that go to our M1911 .45mm a couple of days ago). The problem is that with every passing day, I feel like that 40% is getting weaker. I don’t sleep well at all (or get enough sleep). I have very little appetite (I usually only eat dinner, if that). I used to self-injure by cutting myself and have experienced a LOT of temptation to do that again (thoughts, ideation, planning, etc.) to the point that I’ve even gone to a substitute sort of self-abuse where I snap a hair elastic on my wrist to keep from reaching for a knife or razor blade. I know it sounds sick and truthfully, it is. It’s just really, really hard. And in case you’re wondering, my husband knows all about this. He is very concerned and is helping me in the best way he is able. Truly, he is a saint for putting up with all of my craziness and not running the other way. So many other men would have left me a long time ago, but he actually saw the fire when we were just friends and stepped into it. I love him and my children more than I can possibly express, but I am fearful that some day it won’t be enough to keep me here. The apathy towards treatment this time around is a whole different thing for me and it only solidifies my fears. The only hope I have is that I am currently unmedicated. I have been on meds before but went off them last February when I realized I was pregnant with our third child (who is currently 6 months old, but no, this is definitely not postpartum depression). I have an appointment with my psychiatrist to talk about meds this coming Wednesday, so perhaps something he hears from me will prompt a prescription that will help me feel less apathetic and more hopeful. I am a Catholic convert and since becoming Catholic have enjoyed a vibrant and fulfilling faith life which has been helpful in pulling me out of previous depressive episodes; however, even that hasn’t helped. In fact, lately, when I pray and go to Mass or Confession, it’s almost all rote and obedience. I have always had a love for apologetics (and even help moderate an apologetics group on FB) but even that doesn’t interest me lately. I’m really kind of angry at God and not all that enthused about talking to him in word or song (I’m a chorister and cantor as well).

Sorry to be so long winded. I’m just hoping that maybe if someone else prays for me (I find I can’t pray for myself and precious few people in my real life really understand this enough to pray) that maybe God will listen to them. He doesn’t seem to hear me much at all lately. Thank you in advance.

Father, hear our prayer for healing for this person in body, mind, soul, and spirit. Help her to bear this cross in union with Christ Jesus for the good of those you have given her to bear and bring her swift healing and joy. Give wisdom, grace, knowledge, understanding and love to her caregivers and to all who love her. Mother Mary, St. Luke, and St. Dymphna, pray for her. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen!

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  • Recovering psych patient

    As one who has been where you are, know I’m praying For you.(I’ve been hospitalized for serious mental illness than once). Remember that God is not mad at you for feeling the way you do any more than he is mad at cancer patients for their illness . Don’t forget that he does love you unconditionally. If you need help, don’t be afraid to seek emergency treatment (I was a “frequent flyer for a while at one point.) in Jesus Christ

  • Barbara Bowman

    I have some understanding of how you feel. I have been where you are more than once, including cutting. It is good that you are going back on meds. They are not a cure-all, but they take some of the heaviness away. I hope that you are able to do talk therapy. I have done it for a long time, and as I look back, I can see much improvement. My old ways of thinking have slowly changed. They are hard patterns to break as I have been depressed since I was a young child.

    Perhaps you could ask your guardian angel to pray for you. At the depths of depression, prayer is something I just can’t do, beyond rote prayers. Thank God for rote prayers, tho.

    I’ll be praying for you.

  • Monica

    Remembering you in my prayers. May Jesus surround you and protect you.

  • CFH

    Dear Reader, I have been where you are and often feel the same way still. What gets me through is the knowledge that as Catholics we can join our sufferings to those of Christ and offer them up for the good of others and of the whole world. Our lives, even our sufferings, are not without meaning or merit. Persevere! Your consolation shall be the greater for it!

  • Clare Krishan

    Praying in PA.

    Consider that for some people (eg diabetics) our organs (eg pancreas) need supplementing with particular chemical adjuncts to keep up with the exertions of normal living (eg without the aid of insulin — and drugs that ensure the ability to generate it — carboydrates in food would be toxic). Our brains (especially the amygdala) can get burned-out from anxious over-exertion; perhaps your physicians can help determine if a low-dose of anti-anxiety meds (two close family members benefit from citalopram) would help combat emotional exhaustion, seasonal lethargy and major depression? Rather than judging yourself as only having 40% of your batteries plugged in, perhaps they’re all plugged in but aren’t being re-charged that last 60% because your mind is lacking the supplements it needs to get the power flowing? Good sleep rhythm, fresh air and recreational exercise are key to balancing those ratios. Mind-fog can cloud our cognitive processes, so be gentle on yourself. May Mary’s vitality guide your mind’s eye to the serenity you seek.

  • Marthe Lépine

    I hope that I am not too late and that you will see my comment now. I needed time to think things through. Like you, I have suffered from depression most of my life (and I am now 70 years old). It is probably very true that such depression, in itself, is an incurable (or chronic) illness that can mostly only be controlled, but some things can be healed, e.g. the many triggers that could bring about episodes of depression. It surely was my case, and I have made some considerable improvement in the last few years. I have been to a new kind of counselling that has managed to uproot one particularly large root of my depression. It was not something that I had forgotten, but something that I only remembered as a bad childhood memory and assumed was no longer important. But actually, it had been a memory that had been traumatic for the child I had been then, and I had never until then realized that many of the difficulties I had been experiencing had really been consequences of this trauma. Of course it helped that my new counselor was a Christian, although more of a “born again” Protestant, and my new psychiatrist was a practicing Catholic.
    What brought me to send you this message is your mention of the temptation of cutting yourself, which can be a symptom of much more than simply depression, but also a symptom of a deeper trauma. I would suggest that you try to be very free in sharing any idea or memory that you are experiencing with your counselor and/or psychiatrist, and if you do not feel that you can be that free, to seek a counselor that you are more comfortable with, and possibly a woman, who would be in a better place to understand your life.And do not assume that some of your memories are insignificant… Maybe they seem so when looked at with your adult mind and experience, but they might be clues, and when put together begin to show the outlines of a “puzzle”. I would like to be more precise, but unfortunately, since I prefer to comment using my own name and I have found that many of my comments can be found on line by simply Googling my name, I do not feel free to do so. However, if you would like to know more, please feel free to ask Mark if he could put you in touch with me; I would be perfectly willing to e-mail to you directly, or through Mark.
    AND: Please do not stop taking your meds, except of course when they could be a problem for a pregnancy. They will probably be always needed, at various dosage, all of your life. They are the best means to control the part of the depression that has to do with the functioning of your brain itself. However, as I have experienced, finding the root causes and praying for inner healing of the scars (something I was able to do with my Christian counselor) will considerably reduce the effect of some of the triggers that could bring about the strong depressed feelings.
    And never forget that Mary, as our mother, understands you perfectly. Ask her for help.