New Post has been published on Healthy Catholics

New Post has been published on

Hi Brandon! Thanks for coming! I’m still trying to figure all this out so it’s nice to know someone (ie. you) figured it out! I like St. Francis too (assuming Assisi here). I was in a Franciscan convent for a year discerning but got married instead. But we have a picture of him on the wall and a statue outside! But slap to the forehead I never thought of him as a way to relax about money— something I surely need!

New Post has been published on Healthy Catholics

New Post has been published on

Mentally Rehearsing Health and Holiness

We’ve all seen athletes close their eyes or see them with eyes glazed over mentally rehearsing their routines. Watching gymnasts before an Olympic performance or an ice hockey goalie before a game are case in point.

A recent study published in Psychological Science found that during such rehearsals the body itself changes. Subjects were asked to imagine light and darkness and then were exposed to actual light and darkness. The researchers found that the eye pupils of the subjects constricted 87% when imaging darkness and dilated 56% when imagining light when compared to the actual experiences. According to Tori Rodriguez, author of an article called, Why Mental Rehearsals Work, this demonstrates how imagination actually activates neural circuits.

Do you see the connection to depression, anxiety, or working toward holiness? Negative self-talk such as, “I’ll never feel better,” “If I go to church I’ll have a panic attack,” or “Sainthood is unreachable” can physically prevent improvement in all three cases. Conversely, dismissing such thoughts and replacing them with hopeful and healing ones can help us change our very bodies.

Every Saint, who was also a spiritual director, advised those under their charge to dismiss tormenting thoughts in favor of focusing on God, duties, and others. This before psychology even existed.

God is good. He has wired our brains to improve our state through imagination. Obviously, total cure for any mental issue and achievement of spiritual perfection will always remain elusive. As I often say, this is earth not heaven. However, by forcing ourselves to dismiss negative self-talk and their associated memories of personal imperfections or mistakes and replacing them with how we will conduct ourselves as we say to ourselves, “I am a child of God who has purpose in life” will eventually improve our state– even if it seems slight to us.

To paraphrase Jesus, “Where your imagination is your heart and behavior also will be.”


Tori Rodriguez, Why Mental Rehearsals Work, Scientific American Mind, Sept/Oct 2014, page 18.

The image of Jonathon Quick, originally posted to Flickr, was reviewed on 5 January 2014 by the administrator or reviewer File Upload Bot (Magnus Manske), who confirmed that it was available on Flickr under the stated license on that date. The author of this picture, Flickr, and Wikimedia Commons do not necessarily endorse this blog or its contents.

Depressed&Catholic’s Final Post

This is DepressedandCatholic’s final post. After three plus years it has become evident that the title, scope, and overall administrative capabilities are not in line with the purpose for which it was created. But this is actually good news.

A new blog, HealthyCatholics will be launched Sunday, August 17th, 2014! Or better, possibly today, the feast of the Assumption.
It is a new and improved blog with a wider scope of topics, brighter and more wholesome look, and community feel— though that’s up to viewers who become participants. There will even be a forum and the ability for (donated) inspirational guest blog posts and something this blog sorely lacked, a patron Saint.
So please come and be a part. Praying and working individually and yet together for psychological and spiritual wellness is what makes us healthy Catholics. (don’t forget the s)

St. Jane Frances de Chantal & Interior Anguish

Jane Frances de Chantal’s life was characterized by interior anguish, doubts, and an inability to pray. She also suffered from scruples and depression. For that reason she is one of my favorite Saints.

The following are her words to her brother, the Archbishop of Bourges. Any person of faith, Catholic or not, with any physical or emotional ailment will find comfort in these words!

“When you are experiencing some physical pain or a sorrowful heart, try to endure it before God, recalling as much as you can that He is watching you at this time of affliction…. Don’t force yourself to pray, for a simple adherence to God’s will, expressed from time to time, is enough. Moreover, suffering borne in the will quietly and patiently is a continual, very powerful prayer before God, regardless of the complaints and anxieties that come from the inferior part of the soul.”

And then there is that famous quote about her by St. Vincent de Paul, her director after St. Francis de Sales died:

“She was full of faith, yet all her life had been tormented by thoughts against it. ….She often told me her mind was so filled with all sorts of temptations and abominations that she had to strive not to look within herself… I regard her as one of the holiest souls I have ever met on this earth.”

Happy Feast Day St. Frances de Chantal!

Francis de Sales, Jane de Chantal: Letters of Spiritual Direction, Paulist Press, 1988, p 203.
Saint of the Day, St Anthony’s Messenger Press, 2009.
Picture of Jane Frances de Chantal by Gemälde der heiligen, public domain due to age.

This is a repost from last year

Oh to Be Back on Vacation!

It’s one of those things that make a person wish vacation was still the order of the day. Within a week of being home the level of stress-producing events is thrice what it was before one left. Some of those events are caused by having to catch up at work and home (predictable), some by virtue of previously untended to demands of “abandoned” others (again predictable), and some totally unexpected; in this case imposed by an unscrupulous person that could possibly make a dispute drag on for months at the cost of much money and time. Such is the case in our family’s life as of last week (yes the situation greeted me the day of my return).

While the first two things are not a big deal the third is “a mess,” so our twenty-two year old says. In any case, my reaction is predictable—- sore throat, headache, throbbing ears, and the rest. Oh to be back on vacation!

So no post today, sorry.

Please pray for a peaceful resolution of the third situation, by far the most taxing and no doubt the stressful event that put this old girl over the “sound of body” edge. Well, at least sound of mind and spirit are still intact!! Thanks be to God!! And thanks for your understanding. See you next week.

Together on the Boat

“Jesus made the disciples get into a boat and precede Him to the other side of the sea, while…. He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray.” Matt 14: 22

Did you notice He sent them off together in the boat? Jesus, that is. He went off alone in the opposite direction. Isn’t that how we feel at times? That He has gone off in the opposite direction as us even though now as different than then His spirit is with us?

Some of us respond to this experience by getting in a boat alone. You know, tough it out. But Jesus doesn’t want us to do that, nor does He want us to throw anyone out of the boat because they aren’t like the rest. That includes those who doubt, are arrogant, or are weaker by virtue of physical, emotional, or spiritual ill health.

The command has implications for the presence of depression and other emotional difficulties in our lives and communities. According to Jesus we are to be in the boat together, symbolically yes but literally preferably. As the body of Christ we have an obligation to welcome and learn to understand not ostracize, shun, or judge as unworthy those affected personally or their families. And if we happen to be affected directly we have an obligation to accept help be it from professionals, family, friends, community, or all four.

Psychological problems have a habit of creating isolation and separation. Let’s remain in the boat together for we are stronger together than apart as we face the waves.

Picture by Karen Arnold, public domain.