Prayers, Saints and Depression

I am fighting a bout of seriously negative feelings. I don’t want to self diagnose but sometimes I feel like I have a kind of depression.

I have not seen a doctor nor am I diagnosed to have one. I know that mental problems are no joke and it is not something you just shrug off. If you have depression, I know it is not easy.

Like you, I have been battling feelings of hopelessness and anxiety for several days now. I have been anxious, irritable and moody. I was looking at the symptoms of depression and thought maybe I fit in one of those types.

At the back of my head I know it is dangerous for me to do that. I have a tendency to scare myself and think I have all the symptoms. I wanted to stop myself because mental health problems are tricky, I know it is not a good idea to mess around with your brain. But for awhile, it was so hard to tell myself to stop.

Sometimes when you are trying to pull yourself up it feels almost like you are losing. Today, it felt almost like a losing battle again (as it was yesterday and the day before that) but then while I was listening to a talk my mind drifted to an idea – that I might be feeling this way because I am letting myself believe the whispers of the evil one.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that those who have depression are just being lured with evil thoughts.

However, I was. I do not have depression but I was letting myself feel sad all the time. I was allowing myself to slack off from the things I promised to do this lent.

I suddenly remembered that I started to feel this way now. It seems that I am being tempted now because I wanted to use this season to seriously align myself to God.

That, and/or I may really have a bad case of PMS.

Yet, as of writing. The moment I decided to push through this article I am feeling better.

Before writing, I googled about prayers and depression. I wanted to know if there is a link or maybe science does not have anything to do with spiritualism. But lo and behold, there is a lot of resources on it.

I found out that there were a handful of saints and holy people who suffered depression while following God. There are passages and prayers in the bible calling on to God for help during periods of darkness.

Surprisingly, one of those saints was St. Ignatius of Loyola. I do not know much about him yet but I thought he had a strong personality. Turns out he battled through a very severe depression that he actually thought of suicide. Thankfully, he got through it with the help of God.

Here is his Prayer against Depression

O Christ Jesus
When all is darkness
And we feel our weakness and helplessness,
Give us the sense of Your Presence,
Your Love and Your Strength.
Help us to have perfect trust
In Your protecting love
And strengthening power,
So that nothing may frighten or worry us,
For, living close to You,
We shall see Your Hand,
Your Purpose, Your Will through all things.

I found a PDF link for the full version of the prayer here.

Another saint, St. Francis De Sales has a prayer that may help us when we feel so helpless and anxious:

The Prayer of St. Francis De Sales

Be at peace.
Do not look forward in fear to the changes in life;
Rather, look to them with full hope that as they arise,
God, whose very own you are,
will lead you safely through all things;
and when you cannot stand it,
God will carry you in His arms.

Do not fear what may happen tomorrow;
the same nderstanding Father who cares for
you today will take care of you then and every day.

He will either shield you from suffering
or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace,

and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.

In another version of the prayer, St. Francis De Sales’ prayer continued with:

Continuously pray “the Lord is my strength and my shield. My heart is trusted in him and I am helped. He is not only with me but in me, and I in Him.”

Do not wish anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly.

I think when I read the words “the Lord is my strength and my shield” earlier, I started to slowly feel better as if a big heavy rock lifted off my chest.

I am not sure if this will work for all or if it will bring any relief to people suffering from depression but I guess it will not hurt to try.

For those like me who feel the blues every now and then all I can say is, it worked for me. Maybe it will work for you too.

I want to take charge of my emotions and not let it be reason for me to stop doing what I love to do. I am grateful to have come across these prayers and to know that I can battle negative thoughts with a prayer.

 

*** The beautiful prayers here are not mine and are lifted from the websites below. If you like them too, please give credit to the sources below and thank the saints who wrote and shared the prayers with us!

Sources:
“5 Prayers for Healing Depression.” Belief.net http://www.beliefnet.com/wellness/health/emotional-health/depression/5-prayers-for-healing-depression.aspx?p=4

“The Saints and Depression.” Catholic Online http://catholicexchange.com/saints-and-depression

“Prayer Against Depression by Saint Ignatius de Loyola.” Little Steps along the Way http://www.littlestepsalongtheway.com/2010/03/prayer-against-depression-by-saint-ignatius-of-loyola.html

“The Prayer of St. Frances de Sales.” Episcopal Diocese of NW Texas website http://www.nwt.org/desales.htm

 

 

Image by Ryan McGuire from pixabay.com

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