“Although reason requires that we must be displeased and sorry whenever we commit a fault, we must refrain from bitter, gloomy, spiteful and emotional displeasure. Many people are greatly at fault in this way. When overcome by anger they become angry at being angry, disturbed at being disturbed, and vexed at being vexed.” –St. Francis de Sales (1567 – 1622)
It’s quite amusing. Four hundred years after St. Francis cognitive therapists talk about the notion of being depressed over being depressed, the infamous double-depression. Whenever we ruminate over what we did wrong, real or imagined we make our lives so unnecessarily miserable.
Rather than beating ourselves up for repeated faults, or for having depression, bipolar illness, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder perhaps it would be wiser to offer to God those parts of our selves that are painful and difficult. Jesus was born to share in our sufferings, forgive our sins and failings, and show us how much the Father loves us just as we are, imperfect and prone to illness, including mental illness.
(First published online in 2010)