“I have indeed been a sufferer, partly from the strong impressions of the mind which I could not efface, and also from causes sufficiently real.” –St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
Even with depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsions, which are sufficiently real sufferings, we make the pain worse with our imaginings. We imagine we are weak if we seek treatment and support. We imagine we will never feel better. We imagine mental illness is a direct punishment from God. Due to the distortions of our mind that these ailments bring we also imagine things about others, the world, and ourselves that simply aren’t true.
St. Elizabeth Seton, whose feast day is today, suffered from depression and some say bipolar disorder. The contents of her journals and letters, which are contained in three very large volumes, attest to this. Based on the quote above that she wrote later in her life she obviously grasped the concept of how we can make earthly sufferings worse with our attitude and imaginings. We need to fight these tendencies and ask God for help in doing so.
Pray for us, St. Elizabeth, that we may recognize our self-destructive imaginings and take steps to overcome them.
Picture is the cover of one of the books I own.