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Aug 23, 2011

Musings on Mental Health and God

Not sure on the official Catholic position on the topic of Mental Health, except to say likely a take the best of what others have discovered and apply it as applicable to your situation and also to trust in the Eucharist to bring God into your being. The soul also outlives the body, and as such we shouldn't despair of finding healing either here or in Heaven.

My own thoughts are influenced by four years of college spent mostly studying psychology, a lifelong devotion to God and his creation, personal experience with a variety of mental health dis-ease, and a life lived trying to do the best to muddle through for the most part. I have had a few brushes with suicide, both attempts of my own and successful (?) suicides of my grandfather and cousin. I have battled depression, post traumatic stress disorder, psychosis, and some other demons, including poor choices made while in the middle of dark times, for most of my life. I have not always seen God in those dark times. I tend not to pray or even sense Him when I'm there. I can pray easily with God when things are going well. Like with my human friends and loved ones, I have trouble communicating with God when I feel ill at ease. After the dark time has gone away, I can communicate with Him and my fellow humans. It is frustrating not being able to remember how good communicating with others feels when I'm in a dark place. I want to feel loved, but am unable to generate that sense within myself. I have reached out in poor ways to create that sense. But since they were poor ways, they didn't work well. I still have yet to fully forgive myself for those bad choices. God has, I'm sure of that. The one injured most has forgiven me, I'm sure of that too. I'm learning to forgive myself, but I'm having trouble making it stick. I cycle back and forth as to whether I'm forgiven by myself. I know that God's and the other's forgiveness are permanent. Why can't, or don't, I feel that way for myself from myself? Perfectionism? That nagging feeling that if I truly forgave myself I wouldn't have done the bad choices in the first place? That doesn't make sense, does it?

If you have never experienced this sort of thing in yourself, then count yourself lucky and thank God. When you sense another is going through a hard time talk with God about how you're thinking and that He bring all involved acceptance of the situation and limitations, peace, and to bring in others if needed to help bring those involved closer to God. Praying for another is never wrong.

I feel like God wants us to build community with each other. Jesus said the two greatest commandments were to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Part of loving our neighbor as ourselves is to treat each other with care and respect. To be soft with each other when we are going through tough times. To tell each other forthrightly when we are doing something that seems to be bringing us harm. To empower each other to be strong for God and to be loving with all others. The entire world is our neighbor in one way or another. Once we realize our interconnection with all others, we tend to stop hurting others as much and start loving them more. Eventually, we tend to be soft with ourselves as well, and there is peace everywhere.

Yay! I just figured out how to have peace on earth. Oh. Yeah. Humans. We are talking about humans having peace to each other and themselves. God, thank you for sending your son to bring us peace on earth since we have yet to figure out what peace is and how to have peace. Thank you so much. We couldn't do this on our own. We have sinned. You died to bring us salvation, to bring us peace, you are amazing. Simply, amazing. My limited human brain is awestruck by you. I cannot fathom your depths, but I am amazed by the little glimpses I can discern. Thank you for those glimpses. Amen.