Monday, December 29, 2008

A prayer to Our Lady of the Smile for those with Depression

Gentle Mary, My Mother,
I place before you the worries,
hurts and hopes of my heart.
They shrink my soul and I feel heavy and hopeless.
Darkness closes in around me.
I reach out to you, bright Lady of Hope.
Smile on me.
Smile on my loved ones and the intentions I place before you.
Your tender smile works miracles and heals,
as you did with St. Thérèse, the Little Flower.
You are my true Mother.
You show the tender mercy of God.
Smile on me, Blessed Mother,
and all will be well.

On May 13, 1883, Our Lady of the Smile, healed St. Therese of the Child Jesus as a child when she was bedridden with a mysterious illness. Some people think her illness was an emotional-mental crisis. On that day, St. Therese turned her head to a statue of the Virgin near her bed, and prayed for a cure. "Suddenly" Therese writes, "....Mary's face radiated kindness and love." Therese was healed. The statue has since been called "Our Lady of the Smile".

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

He will hold you...

When its so dark within you that you can no longer pray... He will hold you. When the pain is so deep that you can no longer weep... He will hold you. When you shake in your weakness... He will hold you.When you are in the depths of darkness remember that He is there, holding you.


*I removed the recent posts because I want this blog to be for people's encouragement and not about me. Thank you.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

the freedom of a diagnosis...

Did it happen to you? did you sighed in relief when there was finally a name for what was happening to you? did you weep tears of joy when you realized there were others struggling like you and that there was treatment, hope?

For five years I walked in darkness. Not knowing what was wrong but knowing that something was terribly wrong. I prayed to my beloved Christ for freedom. I begged him. And He let it come when my therapist said " you have OCD. "

I invite you to see your diagnosis as something liberating. You now know who is your enemy. You know what it is, and what it is not. You know the strategies to defeat it. You are no longer in the darkness of the unknown.

For me this means that when a disturbing OCD though comes now I can look at it, chuckle and say "its just OCD." Knowing it does not define me and that it will not and cannot destroy me. Praise God!

Monday, October 20, 2008

overeating, fasting, health, self esteem and vanity

That's a long title isn't it? But it pretty much sums up all the issues that I am struggling with regarding certain silly medicine that is making me gain weight. I am overeating which in my OCD/scrupulous mind means that I do not have self control/practice mortification as I should plus when I look at myself in the mirror and ( probably exaggerating ) feel bad for being "fat" I feel that I am being vane, and when I am walking around the mall I feel jealous of all the thin, blond, blue eyed girls which makes me feel stupid for being so insecure, and all this combined makes me come to the edge of depression.. which makes me feel weak.

so by the end of the day I end up thinking "I am such a stupidly insecure vane fat weak sinner !"

wow, talk about low self esteem!

But voicing it in this little blog is actually helpful. When I voice it I laugh a little because it is so exaggerated and over the top. And then I can claim reality.

I am the Beloved of God and my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. I will take care of my body the temple of the Holy Spirit by exercise and eating healthy. I will do this not to be "attractive" or to seek attention, but to let the beauty of my soul reflect in my body. I will not let my body become an idol. The Lord is the only God I will worship.

Claiming being the Beloved of God clears out the insecurity.
When I use words as "I will " I become empowered to change myself and no longer feel weak.
And all this help my self esteem, and because it is the Truth it brings me closer to Him.

This sounds very "Dr. Phil-ish" but it is working for me. Thought I would share. :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008


  • I will recall that I am a child of God. I am one who is created out of Love. I am chosen, good, holy and have purpose...a task to perform here on Earth before I return to the Father. I deserve to be treated as a person who has value and dignity.

  • I will embrace my illness or my family members illness as a friend this day looking for what it is teaching me about the mystery of God and Life.

  • I will not allow the stigma of mental illness to defeat me this day. I will choose to have power over stigma by detaching myself from the stigma.

  • I will talk to someone today who will encourage me to see my goodness and holiness as a child of God. Maybe we will share a prayer together for one another.

  • I will look for humor and reasons to laugh and be happy. Quiet joy will be my goal.

  • I will read a passage from Scripture or something from a book of devotion, inspiration or spiritual reading that will encourage me to trust and hope in the power and love of God.

  • I will seek twenty minutes of solitude, silence, prayer this day. If my mind won’t quiet down, if my thoughts keep racing, I will offer that as my prayer to God. If necessary and helpful, I will listen to soothing instrumental music or inspirational/religious music to quiet me and remind me that God is present.

  • I will walk outdoors marveling at a sunrise, a sunset, the song of a bird, the soothing colors of nature...the serenity of green grass, a blue sky, the softness of the pastel colored blossoms of Springtime and the peaceful waters of a river, lake or stream that ripple and flow. I will remind myself that everything in nature is a reflection of the Creator and pleases the Creator just as it is and so do I just as I am.

  • I will delight in the knowledge that we are each created different because it is in our differences we make a more powerful and beautiful whole. We each reflect a different aspect of the mystery of Life and God. Individually and together we are a Masterpiece!

  • In God is my hope and my joy. I will give honor, glory and praise to God knowing and trusting what God has in store for me. We do not seek or like suffering but our suffering can make us strong in many ways and more compassionate and loving to others...our brothers and sisters in the Lord.

    Prayer-Inspiration from Ministries for the Mentally Ill of the diocese of Chicago.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Winter Blues

The Fall is here! and with it preparations for Thanksgiving and then Christmas and all the fun associated with it! yet, for some of us Fall and Winter are dreaded times.

As if having depression is not enough the whether decides to mirror our low moods. The skies get gray, the trees loose their leaves, etc, etc. Sometimes for a depressed person getting out of bed is hard enough with take the sunrise out of the equation and it just gets harder!

what is a person with depression to do? the following things have helped me:

1) get a light for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), you can find some in amazon. They can be expensive but they are worth it.

2) excercise!! you know the deal, endomorphines, body image... it is always a good thing to do!

2) make a list of things that you love about the season and remember them often. Maybe seeing your children at the pumpkin patch, the changing liturgy at Church, etc...

3) practice comtemplative prayer. The world is slowing down. Beauty is hidden under layers of cold and grey, but very much present in the cold and crisp snow, in the winter birds, in the silence of nature. Contemplate and find God in them. Approach the warmth of His heart, hidden under the layers of cold winter.

Happy Fall & Winter to all! :)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Religious Vocations and Mental Ilness

"good physical and mental health"

That is one of the basic requirements of most religious orders. Yet, what does "good mental health" mean? If a person has a history of depression but has been stable for years... do they have "good mental health "? or should the person aspiring for religious life always be one of those fortunate souls that have never experienced an emotional breakdown?

I don't know the answer to this. I guess it depends on each religious order and on the individual... yet I know that wether the person can or cannot fulfill a vocation, Our Good Lord has a plan of glory for each one of us! Each person, whether sick or healthy, has a mission, a divine task to accomplish!

"He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in His Love than in your weakness." Mother Teresa

Saturday, October 4, 2008

its been a while!

wow! Its been a while since I've written! Some stuff was going on, familiy wise, which kept me really busy, but I am back! Thank you for reading and commenting. God bless you!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Guild of Saint Benedict Labre

Surfing in the internet I found the Guild of Saint Benedict Labre. Wonderful group! I have not signed up as a member but I am planning on doing it. They commissioned an icon for the Guild that is simply beautiful. The explanation of the icon is wonderful! Enjoy!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Renewal of Offering....

Lord, before the Heavenly court I renew my offering to You. My Lord and My God, I offer you myself. I offer you all my prayers, works, joys and sufferings, specially those related to my illness for the following intentions:___________. I will suffer my illness with patience, trust and in union with You, my Beloved Christ Crucified. I pray for a complete cure if it be Your Will. If not, I pray for the strenght and love to bear this Crown of Thorns in love. Amen.

A prayer during recovery...

My Lord and my God, I just went through a crisis. I thank you for being with me at all times during it. I thank you for the love and mercy of my family, friends, doctors, etc. Please, as I slowly get better guard me under your wings, bless me with your healing oil and protect me againsts anything that might slow my recovery. Lord, I feel weak. This illness has humbled me. But instead of crying out in frustration I will become small and seek comfort in Your arms. I love You, and I entirely trust in You. Amen

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

complaining to God...

A lot of people who suffer from anxiety disorders are people who bottle up their feelings. Maybe you think that expressing your frustration or deep pain is like complaining. I thought that for a long time and therefore I would not share with anyone my profound pain... not even to God.

I wouldn't share with God my pain in detail because I thought it was "lack of acceptance of His will." So I suffered and moaned in pain absolutely alone. Sure I would share with my therapist and spiritual director but up to a point. I did not want to seem melodramatic or seem like a "whiner."

Yet the pain kept bottling up and I cried out to God... and surprisingly His answer was "tell me everything." He wanted to know the details, he wanted me to moan in His arms. He wanted to share the deepest darkness with me.

"I beg you to put yourself in the presence of God, and to suffer your pains before Him. Do not keep yourself from complaining; but this should be to Him, in a filial spirit, as a little child to its mother. For if it is done lovingly, there is no danger in complaining, nor in begging cure... but do this with love, and with resignation into the arms of the good will of God" - St. Francis de Sales

He wants to share in your darkness. Sometimes we think that others can't handle the amount of pain we are in and we don't talk about it. Do not underestimate your therapist, family and friends...but first and foremost do not underestimate your Heavenly Father. He is Strong, He can handle all of your pain, and most importantly, if You share your pain with Him, if you give it to Him, He will fill you with His Spirit, with His Hope.

Monday, September 1, 2008

take up your cross...

Most High Glorious God, I accept this Cross of mental illness I have received. I will not rebel but accept this as an oportunity to learn humility, to become compassionate and to offer my suffering for the intentions of Your Sacred Heart. I love You and I know that You love me and that just as we walk together to Calvary, You will guide me to the Resurrection. Amen.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Prayers would be appreciated. Currently battling a bout of OCD/Depression. I am praying and offering up my suffering for you my fellow crown-bearers. God bless you. Let us go forward!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sacrament of the Sick

For some reason people with mental illnesses rarely request the sacrament of the sick yet they can benefit deeply from this consoling sacrament.

The first grace of this sacrament is one of strengthening, peace and courage to overcome the difficulties that go with the condition of serious illness or the frailty of old age. This grace is a gift of the Holy Spirit, who renews trust and faith in God and strengthens against the temptations of the evil one, the temptation to discouragement and anguish in the face of death. This assistance from the Lord by the power of his Spirit is meant to lead the sick person to healing of the soul, but also of the body if such is God's will. Furthermore, "if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven."CCC 1520
I have received the sacrament twice. Both times at the beginning of real bad bouts of OCD/Depression. Both times I have received renewed strenght, hope and relief from my pain. When your spiritual father marks your hands and forehead with the blessed oil you feel the hand of Christ touching your hands and your forehead.
Your tears mix with the oil. Your heart with His Sacred Heart and somehow, through His grace, the Holy Spirit rushes into your heart and mind and you can rest.
So, if necessary, go to your priest and request the anointing. Christ created it having you in mind. He wants to bring rest and relief to you. In the Sacrament of the Sick He is there, ready to embrace you.

Friday, August 22, 2008

St. Francis de Sales

St. Francis de Sales suffered of a terrible depression/obsession while he was in college. Because of the theological discussions that he attended he became convinced and obsessed with the thought that he was condemned and going to hell. He ate and slept very little and lived in constant terror. His spiritual director was deeply concerned. Francis feared he was losing his mind.

Finally one day he dragged himself into a church and made an act of Trust. He told God that no matter what He had planned for Him he knew it was good because God loved Him. After that he prayed the Memorae which is an act of trust to Our Lady.

He trusted. And that opened the floodgates of Grace. In an instant he found himself free from that obsession.

We might not receive an immediate healing like Francis but we will surely immediately receive the Grace to carry our Crown of Thorns every time we choose to Trust God. Let us pray the Memorae, specially today in the feast of the Queenship of Mary!

Remember Oh Most Gracious, Virgin Mary! that never was it known that anyone who fled to Thy protection, implored thy help or sought Thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence I fly unto Thee, Oh Virgin of Virgins, my Mother! To the do I come, before you I cry, sinful and sorrowful. Oh Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions but in Thy Mercy hear and answer me!Amen.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Catholic Therapists

So, I just found this website that offers a listing of Catholic Therapists for each area. Now, I am not endorsing them or anything but it looks like a good option when you are seeking for a therapist that will not dismiss your most loved beliefs. So check them out!

Suffering Co-workers

God did not want me to suffer. He hates it when I suffer. But since this is a fallen world, pain is a fact. But he can and will redeem it and make it into Grace. So in a way I've received my vocation: to be a suffering member of the body of Christ. To live in Joy with, in and for Christ Crucified. I am fulfilling that call by my work as a Sick & Suffering Co-worker of the Missionaries of Charity.

The Sick & Suffering Co-workers are a group of people that offer their prayers and sufferings for the poorest of the poor and for the Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa's sisters. Since many times they are unable to join in activities in the service of the poor they are spiritually linked to the Order. Thus they become life-giving partners in the service of the poor.

Mental illness is a hard Crown of Thorns to bear. Yet it can be such a fountain of life, light and love. Joining a prayer group, a group like the Sick & Suffering Coworkers or simply making the point to offer your sufferings in your daily prayers is such a source of life and meaning for our pain. There is Life, Love and Light even in the Cross! let us rejoice!

Dear Lord, I offer you all my prayers, works, joys and sufferings specially those relatedto my illness. I offer them for __________. I accept everything as coming from your Loving Hand. Let me walk through this Calvary with you so that I might rise with you in the Resurrection. Amen.

Painting by Mariano Cammisuli from Argentina

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

wanting to die?

One time I told my spiritual director I was afraid I had despaired since in a dark moment I had wanted to die. He looked at me, smiled and said "you didn't want to die, you just wanted the pain to stop."

If your heart is aching with that dark desire remember that suicide is not the solution. There are other ways to make the pain stop or to make it bearable. Therapy, medicine, a good long talk with a friend, prayer, etc. You have so much to do, so many people to love! There is hope! You will see the goodness of the Lord in this life!

USEful suffering

How to make your suffering USEful:

Union. unite yourself to the suffering Christ through prayer, unite yourself through those suffering like you or more than you and offer your sufferings for them.

Service. serve those who suffer in a similar way. This suffering if carried in a healthy way will bring you to be more open to the emotional needs of others. You will understand what it means to be confused, afraid or in the verge of despair, and you will be able to provide the same support that you have received. If you are not able to serve others through active ministry you can always pray for people offering your sufferings. That is also service!

Evangelization. If you suffer patiently, lovingly and hand in hand with Christ you will be a sign of the power of Christ over pain and suffering. People will see how you carry your crown of thorns with patience, love and prayer and be inspired. Maybe later on the Lord will call you to share it as a testimony of his Mercy.

Do not despair my Sister! Do not feel defeated my Brother! Your suffering, with Christ, has meaning and is useful! If you choose to walk this this dark Valley with Him your suffering will have great meaning, just like His!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

weakness and success

"He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in His Love than in your weakness." Mother Teresa

Lets never think that because of our illness we are useless in the service of God. To the contrary! the greater or weakness the greater the space for His Grace!

A Saint for the Depressed

Yesterday was the feast of St. Jane de Chantal . In the April 2008 issue of the St. Anthony Messenger there was an article titled "Jane de Chantal: A Saint for the Depressed." It made some wonderful points about how Jane de Chantal had a loving, successful life even in the midst of chronic depression.

The death of her husband, some her children and other family members, plus later on the trials of starting a new religious order were factors that kept the depression coming back. But she never gave into despair.

According to the articles there are some things that she did that kept her fighting against depression and helped her to be a Holy, successful, and life-filled person.

1. Trust in God. Jane placed above everything her love of God. She knew that God is a loving God and he would save her from pain or give her the strenght to bear it. She chose to trust Him. She expressed this through her life of intimate prayer and service to God.

2. Holy Friends. Jane knew she didn't have to walk that path alone. She had wonderful holy friends with which she could share her struggles. The main one was her spiritual director and friend St. Francis de Sales.

3. Service to Others. Service opens the heart to others, giving to others makes us realize that we have something to offer even if it is just a smile, a kind word, a simple gesture. Jane gave her life in service to others and in that she found meaning and relief. She was able to forget herself and serve others even when she was in profound pain.

May St. Jane de Chantal pray for us for the strenght to bear our crosses joyfully!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I Thirst

People that struggle with Anxiety disorders many times need to learn new ways to express their needs. Many of them have a hard time voicing their needs clearly and simply. It is easy to fall into a passive-aggressive way of communication. "You should know what I need" is not a good answer to "what do you need?"

Christ in the Cross, in pain, immobilized and vulnerable shows us how to clearly voice our needs. He expressed them simply and clearly. In his pain, he called "I thirst."

That was it. Simple and direct.

May we, like Christ, learn to express our needs clearly and simply.

Friday, August 15, 2008


It was until I was diagnosed that I started understanding the pain of discrimination. References and jokes about being "crazy," "being medicated," specially in t.v. would hurt... badly.

Besides working for an end to discrimination, lets not allow this to embitter our hearts. Let us like the Saints before us, FORGIVE.

Monday, August 11, 2008

St. Antonio Maria Claret

His Experience: St. Anthony Maria Claret experienced the pain of unwanted intrusive thoughts similar to the intrusive thoughts experienced by people with OCD.

There was a moment in his youth when he was surprised by blasphemous thoughts against the Virgin Mary. He loved the Virgin and these thoughts were terribly disturbing, unwanted and uncalled for. He also experienced equally disturbing angry toughts towards his own mother whom he loved deeply and who was a great woman and mother.

His solution: Calmly he increased his love to the Virgin by more prayer and increased his love for his mother with more kindness and gentleness. All this trusting in God. After a while the intrusive thoughts were dispeled, but his main focus was not on getting the thoughts to disappear. His main concern was simply to love.

Message: Loving God and Loving others always brings healing.

Vive Jesus!

“Ah! I hope this headache will much profit your heart…now my daughter, it is that you may, more than ever, and by very good signs, prove to our sweet Savior that it is with all you affection that you have said and will say Vive Jesus! Vive Jesus! my child, and may He reign amid your pains.” – St. Francis de Sales

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Beginning

Hello people of the world!I am a young faithful mexican catholic twenty-something girl. Luv the Lord, the outdoors, sunny days, friends and family, volunteering, the Sound of Music, painting, writing and animals.

I also was recently diagnosed with OCD, depression and anxiety disorder...yeah... not cool...

I carried this "Crown of Thorns" for about 5 years in silence. Only recently have I found out that "it" had a name. And with that knowledge the long road of the dark unknown what-the-heck-is-wrong-with-me road finished and the lets-get-this-fixed journey began.

I've been very blessed. When I didn't even know what "this" was and I just simply thought I was completely messed up I had a Faithful Friend by my side.


Christ, since my earliest childhood, has been my Sweet Companion. My Faithful Friend, my Heart. And when this thing fell over me he became my Guardian and my Guide.

Of course I asked for a miracle. I even went to pilgrimages asking for it...but He called me down a different path.The Ordinary Path.The Ordinary Path of Healing. The path of humility, of accepting brokenness, of finally breaking the silence and talking with a priest and then to a therapist, the courage to talk to my family and friends about it.

He indeed worked a Miracle. The miracle of giving me the courage of walking down this Path. It is a path of humility, of accepting brokenness, of accepting help. Of looking at this monster in the eye and laughing out loud at it. And since it is a continuous fight against despair it is, by its very nature a Path of Joy!

And because Christ has the power to Redeem everything, this will become a tool of Compassion and Service for others. I want to share with you writings of the Saints, notes and random things that have given me courage and that might help you also.

In my weakness I will be strong!And so, I invite you to share on this walk with Christ to redeem this terrible Crown of Thorns into the Crown of Glory!