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I Drank the Catholic Kool-Aid

You ever meet one of those people who seem to delight in telling you how depressed they are. It seems they just can’t wait to tell you. And somehow, that seems to only make them more depressed. And you get this feeling that they're trying to convince you they're better or smarter than you because they're depressed, because you don't have the courage or smarts to be depressed.

I met a man like that yesterday. Well, I didn't actually meet him for the first time but it was our first elongated conversation. We talked while we waited for our kids' basketball game to start. His kids' school was playing ours. He's divorced so he doesn't see his kids that much he told me. He complained that his wife insisted on sending his two kids to Catholic school, which he informed me is quite expensive. I told him I had five kids in our school and I agreed that it was expensive and hard. But hey, he interrupted, his ex-wife gets what she wants. She always did, he said. He watched his kids running around the court and I couldn't help but think that he saw little dollar signs scampering around the court.

I said a quick prayer for him but the immediate effect must have been negligible because he then told me that his wife is miserable but she fakes happiness to the world. He said the world is a depressing place and at least he had the guts to face it. As he's saying this I'm watching a father of two kids in our school come in with a cane. Not an old man. Probably not even 40. He was bent over and obviously struggling. And as he walked to a spot on the bleachers he had a smile for everyone in the room. And he smiled as his kids ran around the court as we waited for the refs to show up.

To me, the hardest thing in the world is to be happy. Any second of the day I could find a hundred things to make me sad or depressed or angry. The trick is finding the something that makes you happy. And sometimes even if you can’t remember the one thing, pretend like you do until you remember it again.

"So five kids, huh?" the depressed man asked. "Wow. You drank the Catholic Kool-Aid, huh?" The man then said to me that he thought faith was blind. I told him I didn't think it was blind. I just think we're looking at different things.


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Unknown said...

Could it be that their depression is the result of not living in harmony with God's will for their lives? I'd pray for the kids that they find their way through their parents' mess.

wkndbeachcomber said...

Catholic Kool-Aide? Holy crap, did Francis make a 'spirit of Vatican II' change to the Mass when I wasn't paying attention?

Mack Hall, HSG said...


Netmilsmom said...

I agree fully!
Short of a chemical disorder, each of us chooses happiness.
Choose it, If not, keep your choice to yourself.

ProudHillbilly said...

Unfortunately, people like that keep themselves in an emotional death spiral by clinging to negative. I've known a couple people at work that were so endlessly negative there was nothing you could say that could break through.

Steve said...

Perfectly understandable for a man without Hope.

Chris Wimberly said...

That was a good response. I'll have to remember that. I was one of 6 children, all of which went to Catholic grade school and Catholic High school. My mother was a stay at home mom. They got through it all, albeit with major struggles. I only have three children, one of which old enough to be in Catholic grade school. The plan is to send the other two, but I know it will be a major impact to us financially. I always think about the money we would save if we just sent them to public school, but my thoughts return to my parents and how much I've benefited from a Catholic education. With prayer and patience, things will be just fine.

Cassandra said...

Thank you for posting this story -- I too have people in my life that have embraced a very negative viewpoint on life and spread it around to everyone that they meet. This was my favorite line that you wrote: "To me, the hardest thing in the world is to be happy. Any second of the day I could find a hundred things to make me sad or depressed or angry. The trick is finding the something that makes you happy. And sometimes even if you can’t remember the one thing, pretend like you do until you remember it again." I'm going to write it in my prayer journal and read it often. God bless you and your family.

Foxfier said...

What was Sokka's fortune in Avatar.... "You will face many hardships and trials. Most of them self inflicted."

Dymphna said...

I'm always struck by how much Americans really seem to hate kids. I've never heard a Hispanic or African or any other immigrant whine about their children or make rude comments like this.

Mary De Voe said...

The joy of life is discarded and then these blame God for their depression, one step closer to hell.

Kelli said...

Some people actually struggle with depression, and we can't just "choose" to be happy. Its a horrible battle we fight our whole lives. I am so glad that there are people in my life who I trust enough, and I know love me enough, that I don't have to fake that happy face for. I think if there wasn't pressure to fake being happy and satisfied, that people who are struggling with this would be more willing to seek help. Posts like this which seem to belittle depression into just "not looking at the bright side" sort of thing, really bother me. I've had enough of hiding. Sometimes life sucks. But thats ok, cause I wasn't made for here. I don't like having to pretend I'm someone else and hide my struggles. I'd rather be upfront and admit them so people can help and pray for me. The happy face is exhausting and made me more miserable.

Sophia's Favorite said...

@Kelli: I also have depression, and anxiety, and the whole rest of the shebang, and frankly, the guy Matt's talking about strikes me as an utter douchebag.

We have a disability, and the whole point of therapy is to correct for that disability. Feeling the way depression makes you feel, when you have no immediate reason to, is as fundamentally incorrect as not being able to tell red from green. Color-blind people don't claim that people who talk about "red" are deceiving themselves.

The fact you think you have a reason to feel bad, indicates that you either don't have clinical depression, or that your therapy is completely worthless. Because the whole reason we call it "clinical depression" is that it is a depressed mood without reference to real circumstances. You did realize it wouldn't count as a mental disorder if your life were really bad enough for you to be depressed about, right?

Why are you defending your mental illness? Depression isn't your friend.

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