“Everyone says besides your physical illness, you are suffering from deep depression… My own soul, which once endured it for six weeks is in a position to feel compassion for those who experience it.” —St. Francis de Sales
Tomorrow, January 24th, is the feast of St. Francis de Sales. Comforting thought that he experienced depression, yes? Now of course this has been translated so perhaps that’s not the exact translation, but does it matter? He experienced something. Partially because of that he was a superb therapist before therapists existed. If you want to gain some guidance from him I recommend the book, “Francis de Sales, Jane de Chantal: Letters of Spiritual Direction,” Paulist Press.
Of importance, at least in my opinion, is that he considered the most serious sin not adultery or idolatry but judging people and gossip. This should give people who have not experienced any form of mental condition pause. How easy to think a person weak who is chronically anxious or depressed. Those with obsessive-compulsions have told me they were actually made fun of when in fact they felt like a freak for being so troubled. Holiness means refraining from even entertaining our personal opinions especially when a person doesn’t look seriously affected. We just don’t know what’s inside. It could be they are heroically battling in order to look only mildly affected. I have seen that over and over again for reasons such as not wanting to lose a job or in order to maintain a good front for the children’s sake or even to keep “friends.”
In any case, reading more about St. Francis de Sales and his writings are well worth it for those who struggle with any emotional disturbance. Here is a link with some ideas. The links on the top left of this page are connections to the Saint’s own writings. http://www.goodcatholicbooks.org/francis.html
Picture is public domain, Wikimedia