A few weeks ago I recevied an email from a gentleman whom expressed to me that he too has been dealing with anxiety. He also dealing with depression as well. In his email, he told me about how he recently attended a weekly class at his a local church (He too is Catholic). He didn’t say what the focus point of this class was, but he did mention that after attending it, he has felt more anxeity and depression then he was feeling. The reason he relates to this are several topics they discussed in this class, which were masturbation and acting on homosexuality. He asked if I had any idea of why his panic attacks and depression has increased due to this.I did try to respond to his email, but for some reason it came back as being undelivable. So I have decided to post the email here in hopes that he will come back to my blog and read it and/or someone else that is dealing with a similar problem may gain something from it. Here is my response:
Thanks for emailing me. I cannot really say why your panic/depression has gotten worst since you went to this 9 month weekly class. I am not a psychologist, but what I can do is speak on what I have learned so far in my life. One of the first areas I think you need to look at is did you understand the Church’s teaching about masturbation and homosexuality prior to starting this class? I know for me, I really struggled with what the Church’s teaches on homosexuality. Once I finally accepted my sexuality, I never really looked at it as a disorder or a flaw in who I am. I personally have come to see it as a strength. So many times other want to look at something that is different than the what they believe is a norm and people that have a strong faith in God have trouble understand the complexity of homosexuality. What the Church really teaches is this:
“Although homosexuality has taken many forms, its psychological source remains largely unexplained.” (Catechism 2347)
“The number of persons with homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They did not choose their condition and they must be accepted with respect. All unjust discrimination must be avoided. They are called to do God’s will and to unite their sacrifices to the Lord’s sacrifice on the cross.” (Catechism 2358)
The Church acknowledges that it doesn’t really know why some people have as they say “homosexual tendencies”. The acknowledge that that people with this “tendencies” are to be included in the Mass and as a member of the Church. The only real issue the Church as with homosexuality is when it becomes sexual. The reason for this is the Church teaches that sex is meant for reproduction processes only. A man and a woman who engages in oral sex is committing the same sin as two males that are engaging in oral sex.
I personally do not know the answer to weather it is a sin or not for two males or two woman to engage in sexual acts if they are in a committed relationship and are being faithful to each other. There is a quote by a priest from Canada that has stuck with me for many year. Father Andrew said ” I feel the more I know God, that He would sooner we did wrong in loving than never love for fear we would do wrong.” Father Andrew was speaking on homosexuality. He was saying that if it is wrong as the Church teaches, that he felt God would rather us love the wrong person than to never feel love at all.
To me, the area where I struggle the most lately is with dealing with loneliness. I have such a strong feeling that I want to be with someone, not really in a sexual way, but to have someone to come home too, share my day with, the good things, the bad things, all the stuff that comes with being in a relationship. But there is a struggle within myself with that feeling and what the Church teaches. Where I have made some resolve with this issue is just expressing my confession to God and asking Him to help clarify it for me.
As for the anxiety you have. One thing that I have learned to do, well, still learning to do is identify what is causing the anxiety. Is it being around a certain group of people, a certain place, etc… Once you identify a source of your anxiety, you can start to deal with the issue. Before seeing those people or going to that place, you can prepare yourself to deal with what is going to happen. I know this may sound stupid, but a few years back I made a card that I would care with me. What I have wrote on it is this:
- My anxiety is a signal of what I have to do.
- Breathe – you don’t have to be prefect to be ok.
- One step at a time; you can handle the situation.
- Don’t think about fear; just think about what you need to do. Stay relevant.
- Relax; you’re in control. Take a slow, deep breath.
I still look over this from time to time, especially when I have a great deal of anxiety about doing something that I know I have to do. I really try to focus on the fact that I can be in control of the situation. If something gets to much for me, I do have the ability to leave. If a situation comes up where I do not feel it is appropriate for me to be involved in, I know I have the ability to get out of there.
A while ago, I received an email from a guy that was really struggling with his sexuality. I put part of the email I sent him on my blog in hopes that it would help someone else out if they happened to come across my website. I think it may be something you may want to check out, Viewing Life Through a Picture Frame.
I do hope that what I wrote hear helps. If you ever want to email me again, please feel free to. One of the greatest things I feel to have come from starting this blog is meeting so many people that have such a strong faith in God and whom are gay. There for the longest time, I felt I was the only one.