11 Tips for Catholics about Depression

 

 

 

11 Tips for Catholics about Depression

by Rita Davidson

I once got a letter from a lady needing some advice on depression and tendencies to suicide. This is part of the reply I sent to her. It is adapted for today, as this was a number of years ago. If your struggling with your days, I pray this will be of some help to you. And I pray, that this person knows, I’ve been praying for them all these years.

It is difficult to wake up feeling worn out, thinking negatively. When you cannot find reasons to be happy, even though you do not have reason to be sad. If you look at your life and see that there is no trouble in any corners, no money troubles, no marital or family troubles, no recent deaths or divorce, no employment issues then you may be dealing with a kind of depression.

 Having dealt with this at various times in my life, in myself, and in my loved ones, these are tips we have found that have helped us get a perspective on depression and move forward.

 1. Be aware of your temperament. If you are not already familiar with this, start first with a good book on the Four Temperaments. (We carry the most popular ones on our website. ) After taking the test, if you turn out to be a melancholic type temperament, this would be a good indicator for someone who struggles with depression. Study what melancholic temperament means and it will give you many insights into yourself. 

2. Don’t be afraid of being depressed. Many people become depressed more simply because they realize they are depressed and are afraid of the pain of depression. As long as you love God and your faith is not wavering then, rest in God’s peace and offer it up to Him. He has promised He would never give us a cross we cannot carry. But we also must rely on Him for this strength. Remember you are safe in His care.

3. Look at your life and see if there is anything in your life that needs to change. Things like unconfessed sin can often lead to depression. Do not neglect this much needed Sacrament. People with depression need to be sure to use this Sacrament regularlyto keep their souls light and clean. But be careful of scrupulosity which is a brother to depression.

 If you tend to fret and worry about many sins and what is a sin, this can be a type of scruple and can very much overwhelm the soul. We carry Help for Scruples – Are you Scrupulous? that is very helpful to sort this out and bring some peace.

4. Do you have unreasonable expectations for your life?  Our life is truly a vale of tears, and while we often have times of happiness we have to expect suffering and misfortune at times. Meditate on those less fortunate than us, either spiritually or financially, helps us to be grateful for what we have. Try not compare your life to others, wishing you only had a ‘house like Mary’, or ‘a job like Tom’. Be content with what God has given you in your life. Be it illness or wealth. Things can always be worse. And pray how best you can use your situation to save your soul.

5. On a more practical note; Have you been sleeping well? Are you overworked or under-slept ? Many moms can relate to both of those. Lack of sleep can lead you to being overtired. Being unrested can definitely lead to being depressed as the body is worn down. Effects of it will start to show as the mind becomes bogged down with toxins and the minds has an inability to cope with lack of sleep. This is especially common for mothers of young children. Be aware of this. Be proactive and be sure you take a nap when you can, go to bed earlier if you can. And above all don’t feel guilty for needing sleep!

6. Are you eating well? Food plays a very large part on what we feel like. Lighter meals, eating more naturally and large on the vegetables can ease up stomach distress that can lead to depression as well. Most important is cutting out junk food. White sugar, caffeine, white flour, that lack needed vitamins for our body to cope with today’s stresses. If you are struggling with depression and anxiety you may want to look into gluten/celiac tendencies. They are on the rise today, and this played a part in my own depression and anxieties.

7. Are you getting exercise? One of the biggest practical helps to combat depression is simple exercise. As we age we often don’t move around enough. This can lead to a build up of toxins that can lead one to being depressed. Regular walks that are vigorous can help the body cleanse toxins that can lead to depression. If your busy with young children and can’t get out to walk, a rebounder sat in a corner is a way to get in some lymph moving activities and can even be fun if you include the children.

8. Do you have enough activity? By activity we mean, hobbies and things to keep us busy. Simple inactivity can lead to sins of sloth, and impurity. Lack of interesting hobbies can also lead us to depression. Especially if your prone to a melancholic type temperament. This kind of temperament, or any that are prone to depression, need to keep busy. There is a kind of ‘wallowing in our depression’ that happens, that we must fight.  When you hear people say, ‘oh it doesn’t matter, nothing will ever change’, that’s an indication. Depression is a whole body thing. When the mind is depressed it slows the heart rate, and keeps the whole body ‘still’. We must fight this and though we are depressed, we must find reasons to move.
 

Depression can also lead us to losing interest in hobbies.  Instead of waking up and having a slow start to your day. Get busy into an activity right away after you wake up and start your day, so that at the end of the day, you know you have accomplished something. Check it off on a to do list! That alone can help relieve us of the depression coming from being overwhelmed and thinking we have gotten nothing done. Getting on top of depression is about regaining control. No matter how small, if we can regain some control, we will feel better.

9. Develop a great love towards the Sacred Heart. Practice mental prayer, every single day. When one is depressed and thinking thoughts of suicide, we have to realize this is a ploy of Satan for us to loose our souls. Suicide is a grave sin against the Holy Ghost. By keeping a close relationship with the Sacred Heart, He can become your closest friend. Someone you don’t just talk to on Sundays, or during morning prayers, but One you talk to literally every hour, every moment. Jesus is really like that. One we can talk to at all times. To pour forth our suffering and our tears. One whom we must be so close to that we will always remain on the right path no matter how deep our depression might be. Console the Sacred Heart with your sufferings and know that He is there for you and sees all. It can be a very great grace for us, to suffer interiorly for Our Lord and if we do it right it can only lead to our sanctification.
  If you don’t already have devotions to the Sacred Heart, try read up on the Sacred Heart to find out how merciful is His sacred heart and from there grow to have a devotion to some aspect of the Sacred Heart through mental prayer. If you don’t know how to do mental prayer we have books available on mental prayer here.

10. Know that all things do pass. This is hard to remember when we are struggling just to get through the day. But remind yourself of the last time you were happy. What was that circumstances ? Was it recent ? Remind yourself that happy days will come again. But keeping in mind as Catholics being prepared for misfortunes help us stay prepared for what is to come.

11. Keeping contact with family and friends as well. Many of us struggle with family members that do not believe as we do and do not support us in our way of life. This has become increasingly moreso as society has changed. Family can sometimes become the thorn in our side instead of the support we need. If this is the case, be sure to find good friends you can trust, that will support you. Having good family and friends can go a long way to helping us cope with a difficult time in our life and help us keep perspective.

 

 

 WIth all of this in mind. There are times that depression can be serious and does need to be treated. I do not wish to downplay this when needed. So, please prayerfully consider your own circumstances along with all I have said.

Ideally if there are no chemical reasons for depression, it is important to follow the above program and take care that your life is ordered the way you need it to fulfill your needs.
If there is a chemical reason for your depression the above tips will help you deal with your depression as you treat it as well.

 Leading a properly ordered life,  – not sinning, and keeping a clean soul with confession, taking care of the body God has given us with good food, all goes a long way to combatting depression. And I pray it helps improve your life today.

What have you done that has helped with your depression ? Share it here.

©Copyright 2007-2012 Rita Davidson All Rights Reserved.

Rita is a Catholic wife and mother of seven children. She reverted back to the faith when her oldest was making her First Communion. By then, she had completed degrees in Hairdressing and Make up artistry. She went on to receive a degree in Natural Health and another degree in Art. At age 26, Rita suffered a minor stroke. With no lasting effects, this dramatically changed her outlook on life. In 1996, Rita began ‘Little Flowers Family Apostolates’ to reach out to other families with her new found faith, by creating unique Catholic books and resources.. In 1999, she wrote the bestselling, ‘Immodesty; Satan’s Virtue’. She was editor of ‘The Catholic Health Letter’ for 7 years. She has been a homeschooling mom for 20+ years, and has written for various magazines. She is honored that families have trusted her with their questions, needs and concerns over the years. She continues to write and reach out to Catholic families with her husband, Mark and their 4 boys through http://www.LittleFlowersFamilyPress.com

 

Are we the Experiment Generation ?

 

 

 

The Experiment Generation

   by Rita Davidson

 
I was pondering the other day, how we have become the Experiment Generation. So many of us live from day to day, simply trying to keep our families fed, our bills paid, our vehicles running and the house clean. Not to mention all that homeschooling!
  
When our first babies were born, we did the best we could and many of us with older children can readily admit we made our first mistakes on them.
  
When our oldest was a baby and showed allergies to formula we switched to soy formula. At the time it was the best choice for her and now that she’s an adult, she survived those early years, thankfully. Or so we think ?
   
But, recent research I’ve come across now tells us that soy is also the cause of thyroid problems. Hmmm? is it any wonder that she’s been treating her thyroid for months now?
   
How many more things do we enjoy today, that are truly *new*, not really time-tested? Isn’t it frightening to think of all the new things we allow into our lives, our food, our Ipads, our Iphones, our TV dinners, our Becel ‘margarine’, our "tide" and more. All without really and truly knowing the results in 25 -40 years from now?

The food additives, the food coloring, the food enhancers, and so many other things that we just take for granted. It’s easy, it tastes good so let’s eat.

With our busy lives and the ease of microwave meals and frozen dinners, we are really trying to do the best we can with our money and time.

Let us not forget how this generation has all but forgotten about God. In fact, this generation, is working overtime to get rid of God!

Many of us have opted for the simpler life, of making our own dinners, and growing our own gardens and having our own chickens, but this is not the life of 50 years ago. Today many families trying to life a ‘simple life’ in the country including gardens and harvests for the mother to pull in. But the dad is holding down outside jobs in the city, and these families are burning out faster than you can microwave a hotdog.
 
Seriously folks, this is a challenging time we are living. Atheism is rampant.

When appointments, shopping and lessons take us here and there, and everywhere, what else can we do? There is such a craving today, to slow down. To rest. To relax. To simplify. To breathe.

We not only need to simplify our schedules but in some cases, simplify our meals too. The simpler our meals are usually the healthier they can be. And while it takes more time, what it gives back in health can be priceless.

For families that are already struggling with multiple illnesses or allergies they are already trying their best for their families. These are the families that have sought the best paths for their children who needed more than modern medicine answers could give them. Our family has been found to be gluten sensitive, so over time our diets have had to change. Is it any wonder what is normal to eat today, compared to a meal 50 or even 100 years ago ?

We now have gluten and dairy free boys. And I am gluten free. The damage that gluten did to my own body is a testament to how damaging some things are today, we cannot see.

But, it is an exciting time to live today. With the advancement in science we now see that problems like downs syndrome children and autism can be healed and improved. Where there was never hope for these children before, today there is. Never before has this been seen. While many things about society today can frighten us, there is much to give us hope.

Don’t allow your children to be the victims of the worldwide experiment today to weaken their bodies through man-made foods but, especially the world-wide experiment to steal the souls of your children through impurity and atheism. Just a look at society today is enough to make you shudder. But the watered down faith that is coming out of the pulpits, and being taught in the government Catholic schools is enough to make you weep. Recently I seen the local "Catholic yearbook", page after page, with pictures of children, but not one picture of the Sacred Heart. Not one picture of a Catholic Feast Day. A whole year of memories but God was not included.
I was looking at my own ‘religion’ books from Gr. 5. the other day. Granted this was a ‘little while ago" (ahem!). Do you know what they were teaching me? How the world is a wonderful place, how we are brothers and how all the religions were equal. I’ll have to pull my book out one day and share it with you. Where has the faith gone?
On top of that was the scandalizing teaching I got in ‘health class’ one day, makes us wonder just who is holding the reins today?

Watch what they eat, be sure they sleep well, eat a wholesome diet and get lots of fresh air and balanced activities. 

But, at the end of the day, please be assured that you have fed their soul too – soul food! Good Catholic books and audios! That you have provided their soul with nourishing food to read about the saints and the tremendous love that God has shown us through His Sacred heart.

Be sure that you clean it regularly, by bringing them to the Sacraments and making Confession a simple thing for them to do.

Teach them how to decorate their souls with the gems of devotion that will build in heaven an account waiting for them.

Keep the faith a living, vibrant thing, not a musty, dusty religion of rigor and rules.

What Christ has given us through His Church is a beautiful faith, tested through time to withstand all the fashions and experiments of the day. Let us hold fast to the traditions and bring the faith to our children in a vibrant way to engage their minds, but especially to engage their souls, so that at the end of this generation we can rest in peace knowing our children didn’t become part of the Experiment Generation. But instead are resting with the Eternal Generation in heaven!

What do you think ? Share with me your experiences below!

©Copyright 2007- 2012.  Rita Davidson All Rights Reserved.
(Adapted from an article by Rita Davidson from 2007)

 

Rita is a Catholic wife and mother of seven children. She reverted back to the faith when her oldest was making her First Communion. By then, she had completed degrees in Hairdressing and Make up artistry. She went on to receive a degree in Natural Health and another degree in Art. At age 26, Rita suffered a minor stroke. With no lasting effects, this dramatically changed her outlook on life. In 1996, Rita began ‘Little Flowers Family Apostolates’ to reach out to other families with her new found faith, by creating unique Catholic books and resources.. In 1999, she wrote the bestselling, ‘Immodesty; Satan’s Virtue’. She was editor of ‘The Catholic Health Letter’ for 7 years. She has been a homeschooling mom for 20+ years, and has written for various magazines. She is honored that families have trusted her with their questions, needs and concerns over the years. She continues to write and reach out to Catholic families with her husband, Mark and their 4 boys through http://www.LittleFlowersFamilyPress.com