Is It Okay to Be Sad? | Fr. Bonaventure Chapman & Fr. Jacob Bertrand Janczyk

February 22, 2024

Fr. Bonaventure: This is Fr. Bonaventure Chapman. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: And this is Fr. Jacob Bertrand Janczyk. 

Fr. Bonaventure: And welcome to Godsplaining. Thanks to all those who support us. If you enjoy the show, please consider making a donation on Patreon. Be sure to like and subscribe to us wherever you listen to your podcasts. Fr. Jacob Bertrand Janczyk. Janczyk. Janczyk. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: Janczyk. We’ve known each other long enough that you know how to pronounce my name. 

Fr. Bonaventure: I know, but I don’t usually say your last name, Fr. Janczyk. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: Yeah, we don’t do that. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Yeah, that seems like a diocesan kind of thing to do. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: Yeah. 

Fr. Bonaventure: You’re in a parish, though. Do you get a lot of people calling you Fr. Janczyk or Fr. Janczyk? 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: No. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Okay, that’s interesting. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: No, people struggle with the double name, which is fair. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Oh, they might call you Fr. Bertrand. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: Or just Fr. Jacob. Or they’ll say, “Do you want both names?” I do. I mean, I’m not going to cast you like anathema if you don’t. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Yeah, but they don’t go straight to the last name. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: No. 

Like Fr. Chapman or like Fr. Pine. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: But also my last name is a lot. 

Fr. Bonaventure: It is. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: It’s just consonants. 

Fr. Bonaventure: It’s Polish, so it has- 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: So it’s a little less, what, like easy to use? 

Fr. Bonaventure: Yeah, pleasant. I describe Polish. I’ve given a homily. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: Thank you.

Fr. Bonaventure:  I’ve given a homily in Polish before, and I use some of the words sometimes. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: You’ve given a homily in Polish? 

Fr. Bonaventure: Correct. And it’s a language. It’s a bit like going across a desert with no water. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: I’m really not interested in your describing it. I’m much more interested in the fact that you don’t speak Polish. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Yes. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: And you’ve given a homily in Polish. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Sure. Not sure, like, yeah. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: Okay. 

Fr. Bonaventure: So I have a devotion to St. Faustina, and so I say Mass at the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy convent on a regular basis. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: Got it. 

Fr. Bonaventure: And their mother superior was coming into town to visitate and all this, and she doesn’t speak English. She doesn’t speak English well or stuff like this, so I said, “Well, I guess I’ll have to preach something in Polish.” So I wrote the homily, and then I threw it through a different translator than Google, and then it kind of worked out from that translation, like narrowed it down because I’ve gotten used to some grammar parts of Polish. And then I sent it to one of the sisters and had her read it out loud, pronounce it, and check it one, and then read it out loud. And I just kind of memorized it. So I knew the words. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: This is the most strange thing that I’ve ever heard. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Yeah, it was great, because she was listening to the English, and someone was translating it, and I said, “Don’t worry. It’s coming.” You should see it. Some of the language is hard, but the thing that I find with Polish is, again, back to my description, it’s like a desert with no water, where vowels are the water and the consonants are just the sand. So you’ll see words, like your last name and others, that have six consonants in a row, and it’s just, like, it’s parched. Like, how do you, how do we even go there? Or, I guess from your background, because you were a runner, right, it’s a bit like a steeplechase, a hurdlechase or something, like hurdles, where there are a bunch of them put next to each other, and you think, how in the world am I going to, like I can do one and I need a break, and then another one or something, like they need to be at least five inches apart or something. But they are smashed together, and it just seems, it is so hard. But there is something delightful about the language. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: I’m still trying to, like, comprehend and imagine in my mind what that was like. 

Fr. Bonaventure: It probably sounded like an Italian speaking German. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: But it was Polish. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Yeah, but it was Polish. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: Or an attempt at Polish. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Yeah, she said it sounded alright, and some of the words even sounded like they were genuinely Polish words.

Fr. Jacob Bertrand:  Did they understand what you were… 

Fr. Bonaventure: Yeah. I mean, you simplify it so it’s like a ten-year-old speaking, so you just focus on the key distinctions and all that. I mean, anybody could do it. It’s not difficult. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: Fair. Maybe. 

Fr. Bonaventure: It’s just when you get, like, five or six or at the third, because you get this kind of feeling of momentum, and you’re like, oh, I’ve got this. And then, like, three sentences in, it’s like you’ve gone too far out, and you can’t swim back, and you’re like, I just have to keep going, even though I’m starting to get worried about all these consonants in a row. But that’s why I just memorized and just kept repeating it over and over again to trust my sound. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: So my last name, as this conversation has displayed, is Polisht. It’s Polisht. 

Fr. Bonaventure: It’s Polish. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: It’s Polish. 

Fr. Bonaventure: It’s like Japan. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: My father’s father was Polish, and my father’s mother was German. And so my dad grew up speaking Polish in the house. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Oh, wow. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: My grandfather died just before I was born, a few months before I was born, so I never met him. But once my grandfather died, my grandmother never spoke Polish again. She learned Polish, like, for him, basically. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Oh, for him, yeah. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: So she always spoke. A number of her siblings also immigrated. So when they, like, my great aunts and uncles were around, they all spoke German. So I grew up hearing, not never speaking Polish or German, but hearing the German around when they were together. My dad grew up speaking Polish. It was this weird… 

Fr. Bonaventure: Yeah. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: I mean, when people… Americans don’t speak languages. The Europeans do. So it’s like it wasn’t weird for them, but it was kind of a… Spoke Polish for X number of years, and then we’re going back to German. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Yeah, and that’s the story of your life, and that explains… That’s a window into it. The other thing about Polishness, though, is sadness. And that is… Look, if they don’t have any consonants, you can make a hard transition, all right? Because we’re not doing an episode on Polish and speaking Polish and the beauties of the Polish language. But, of course, on the deep sadness. And if your country just always disappears every 50 years or something, then it would be, including… 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: The Poles have suffered. 

Fr. Bonaventure: They have suffered. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: An invasion or two. 

Fr. Bonaventure: They have suffered an invasion or two, and they have been martyred, and the Dominicans have a great Polish tradition. But we’re talking about sadness and whether it is okay to be sad. And we got the two kind of melancholic guys to do this episode. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: I’m not melancholic in the least!

Fr. Bonaventure:  Oh, really? 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: Not in the least. They’re not Myers-Briggs. What are the… 

Fr. Bonaventure: The temperaments test? 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: The temperaments test. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Well, what are you? 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: I am sanguine choleric or choleric sanguine, depending how honest I am in answering the questions. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Fascinating. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: I think I project choleric, but sanguine is pretty close. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Sanguine? 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: Yeah, I’ll say this, though. You might be right, because I think the last time that I’ve taken a temperament test, just the stupid online stuff, it’s been a good while. Like, maybe 10 years. So I would be curious to know what’s changed. 

Fr. Bonaventure: I bet you got a shade of melancholy in there. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: I probably do. I’m not phlegmatic in the least, so that’ll never happen unless I have some traumatic brain injury and there’s rewiring and stuff. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Phineas Gage kind of event. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: What Gage?

Fr. Bonaventure: Phineas Gage, a worker in the 18th century. Shaft goes through his head. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: Yeah, okay. I’m familiar with him. But in any case, I’ve never been labeled by an online quiz as melancholic, but I won’t say totally that’s not true. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Well, I want to get back, and at the end we want to talk about why it might be reasonable that you’d get a touch of melancholy, because that might be a good disposition or part of the human condition, at least sometimes. But before, just a question, I think people think sometimes that sadness and associated sadness with negativity. And we thought we’d do an episode on talking through emotions and sadness and what it might mean and whether it should be avoided. Or there are just some people that are kind of sad and mopey. And it’s not always something that’s happened because of circumstances, but personalities, blah, blah, blah. This seems like a good, since I think in general we don’t do our emotions well in America, and especially in the faith we tend to think that emotions are automatically a bad thing, and so a lot of confessional material is like being angry or being emotional or whatever. So that we talk about sadness as an emotion, and then as a character trait, and then maybe as a psychological disposition or a disorder even, and talk through those things, just to get some distinctions down there. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: Yeah, that could be helpful. I think there are a lot of sad people too. I think sadness is pretty, I don’t know. 

Fr. Bonaventure: 

And one time in your life, if you haven’t been, yeah, go ahead.

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: I don’t like doing in our day and age, because I think human history repeats itself in ways and human beings are pretty much the same. So are there exaggerations of certain traits in human history at different times? Yeah, is this the worst time we’re living in? No. Is it the best time? No. Will it be worse and better times? Perhaps. But it does seem that a lot of our contemporary, that there’s a threat of sadness, and I also don’t like talking about the pandemic and stuff, but I do think that’s had a big effect and et cetera. So it’s not a sort of random thing. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Yeah, if you describe sadness as an emotion, what do we want to think about with sadness, would you think? What are the things, what distinctions, or what are we targeting here? 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: Yeah, that’s, I think requires a lot of distinction, because there’s a lot there. I think in some ways, or at least a helpful way to begin to categorize, at least for conversation’s sake, is to consider sadness, what I would say under kind of three large umbrellas. And perhaps there are more, perhaps there are fewer, and perhaps we can distinguish like a ton under each. But I think the first, and perhaps it’s just that emotional reality, like the emotion of sadness, like something in your life that causes sadness. Something that is, and it’s warranted in that way. It’s like, oh yeah, this is a bad thing or a difficult thing, and it makes me sad. There’s that sort of reality. There’s the other, the sort of spiritual sadness, this is what I would say is like a number two. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Character of the soul, quality or something. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: Yeah, where it’s just a sort of like ennui. Is that a word? That’s a word. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Yeah, it’s a French word that none of us know what to do with, but yeah. Yeah, you can use it. Well, let’s just pass it off. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand:  But a sort of like spiritual sadness where it’s more of kind of like a disposition to just being kind of- 

Fr. Bonaventure: Temperament or some personality trait or some kind of, it’s getting at an aspect of the quality or aspect of the person’s soul in a way. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand:  And I think in that too, they can be neutral and perhaps we’ll talk about, but it also can like fall into pitfalls and be exaggerated. And the third kind of umbrella, so we have like response to a thing, an external thing, a sort of temperamental reality. And the third, I would say, I don’t want to be like super heavy or like make just a straw man, but the sort of like a mental condition or like depression or anxiety or that sort of thing. Where it’s more of a, not an illness, but in that kind of thing where someone’s suffering with a particular mental difficulty where like depression, anxiety, these sort of things. So I think of it in those kind of three terms, like external thing, temperament, and then like depression, anxiety. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Yeah, physical. We could do physical for the external kind of the emotion part and then spiritual for the temperament kind of thing and then maybe psychological for that. Let’s do the physical then the emotional thing. Some people might think, is it okay to be sad in this way? Like we’re Christians, you know, we’re Catholics and Christians and we have a sense of God’s providence and things, so if something bad happens, like why should I be sad? You get this, I’m sure you’ve celebrated many funerals at this point as a pastor, as we’ve probably all experienced and done some of these. But feeling sad, you have the sense of, oh, should we feel sad? I mean, if you have a person who died after a faithful life and as far as we can know, we keep praying, but we hope in God’s mercy and the signs of good have received last communion, Vieticum and all this kind of stuff. And you might say, oh, well then, yeah, sadness is not a fitting emotion. It might have been good for the Greeks or the atheists or the pagans, but it’s not a fitting emotion for Christians and believers because we know all things are going to turn out okay. So why, so shouldn’t this be an emotion that we should avoid or what does it mean to have this emotion to integrate that into our lives, would you say? 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: Yeah, I think of it in these terms and that what Christ proposes in the Christian life and as you were describing, especially if someone dies, hope for the Resurrection and salvation and these sort of things is kind of a foundational reality. And it’s one that ought to define how we live our lives and that sort of thing, but it doesn’t negate the sort of more kind of surface level emotional reactions to things. So if someone you love dies, for example, do we hope in the resurrection and as you’ve described, yeah, of course, but it’s also the case that this person is no longer here or separated from them. They might have suffered in their death or just in dying and these sorts. So I think here it’s a both and. It’s a both and kind of reality. So I think that’s a good way to think about it and to recognize that emotions in this way, sadness included, are reactions to external things. 

Fr. Bonaventure: And reality. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: And reality. And it is the case that you can hold both. Like, I think someone who would say, “Well, you’re Christian. Why are you sad that someone died? Don’t you believe it?” It’s like, I do. Yeah. And so that’s why there’s like a reason not to be despairing, but like this person is also gone and I loved them and they’re not going to be here in my life anymore. So there’s a sadness at that loss. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Yeah, I think the emotions are a key sense of way into realism. To deny them their purchase on our souls is to deny a reality that we’re conforming to. I think with sadness particularly, there is, although we know and we believe that we will see these people again, what have you, nonetheless, in reality, I will not see this person’s face anymore. And that is a loss, and a loss is registered by the emotions, by sadness, if it’s a loss of a good in this way. So to not have and to come in and strong arm, you could say, the emotions, to force them to say something that’s not true, to make in a sense the emotions lie, although of course truth and falsities in the intellect and make judgments of what’s true and false. In the sense, though, still the emotions are registering truth that have kind of basic, as you say, external reality. And to deny sadness its purchase on us and its purchase on reality is to deny that reality has a meaning to it and has things that are true and false. I think also about the situation of someone who’s sad of losing something. It could be a job or a relationship or something so not as serious as the death case. And someone might say, oh, don’t worry, God in His providence orders all things sweetly and wisely and all of this, so you can be very happy about this. You could actually have the opposite emotion of what seems. And I think, again, it’s a bit of hoodwinking, our recognition of reality and the emotions which are given to us when properly ordered to register basic truths. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: And one of the things, too, is to think about it theologically or philosophically or however we lump this and describe it, is that joy and peace, which seem to be the opposite of happiness, are effects of having that wit for which you long, for having that good. So if that good is not present, the joy and peace that we search for, that seems to be the opposite of sadness, we can’t expect that to be present. Does that mean that life is destroyed in all capacities and ways? Well, no, because we do have the hope of the fulfillment of God’s promises, but it’s also the case that we can’t force joy, peace, happiness when there is the thing that’s part of us in some capacity, friendship, loved one, whatever, when it’s not there. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Well, exactly, and that’s a good point. The sadness of losing something, that in happiness and love it’s about union, about being united to the loved or beloved object. And it would be strange to think that if sadness could be so tailored such that you wouldn’t feel it if someone was missing, then you might think, as a philosopher, I would think, “Oh, so the person, when they’re present, isn’t actually necessary.” So my love for this person, my enjoyment of this person’s presence, if I’m not in some capacity of not despairing, but registering as sadness, then it turns out I wasn’t actually really happy with them, but just the feeling that they gave me, which I could kind of stimulate myself once I got used to there. So it’d be like if I’m friends with you, as I am, and then you die and I say, “Oh, well, that’s okay, I spent enough time with him to know how to make myself feel happier with Father Jacob Bertrand.” Initially, I needed him to help me feel that way, but I’m good, and you could think, “Well, maybe you could feel that when he’s around, and so he’s not actually there,” which would be strange. So I think you’re right to say that this issue of union and disunion is at the base of this, and union is about joy and happiness with the object, and disunion is the registering of reality missing from that. And I think those are often temporary, sometimes just sad for time and the process of grieving, all of this necessary. Let’s go to the spiritual one, though, and talk about—this is less based, as you say, on the external-based object base, you could say, but more, say, subject-based on the psychology or the sensibilities, the temperament. Obviously, in the Four Temperaments, one of the traditional ones is melancholia, so melancholia being a kind of Eeyore character, a sort of—everything’s a little gray, someone who’s not quite as jubilant and excitable in this kind of thing, there’s a staid sense of the person. What do we make of, now, the subject of, you say, the spiritual aspect of sadness? Is this something that is good or fitting or acceptable or, yeah, beneficial? Or what to make of this guy? 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: So I think one thing I like to say when talking about temperaments or dispositions or whatever is that the melancholic person, that’s not immediately equatable with being depressed, you know, sort of thing. It’s just, as you described, it’s just a sort of temperament and, you know, yeah, not as excitable, but, you know, whatever it might be, it’s not just a sort of, like, oh, I’m depressed. We don’t want—that’s not melancholy. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Yes. Yes. So— Save the psychological kind of— 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: Yeah, exactly.

Fr. Bonaventure: —which still feels a bit like an—it’s like an internal-external one, because it’s something wrong, you could say, inside you, but it’s an objective feature, whereas here we’re talking more about the spiritual, subjective aspects of the soul. That’s good. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: Yeah, and for me, with all the temperaments, but we’re talking about melancholy, it’s kind of in itself indifferent. Like, my reaction to it is, like, so what? Like, this is—I mean, people have their dispositions, their temperaments, and that’s how it is. So it’s less, for me, a question of, like, in itself is this a good thing or a bad thing? I just think it’s a thing. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Okay. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: And the question for me then is, like, how does the person—how does someone function? How does a melancholic person function? Or a choleric person function, or that sort of thing. And if it’s the case that, like, virtue and goodness is pursued all the same, then it’s, like, great. And that’s just kind of the baseline from which a person operates and kind of sees the world and engages. And if it tends towards every temperament, it has its pitfalls and where it might tend wrong, or in excess or defect or whatever. Yeah, so it’s—if it’s tending toward the good and, like, you’re great. If it’s not, then probably not. And I think a big thing here with a melancholic person or whatever temperament is—you mentioned reality a couple times—is recognizing. It’s like, okay, I am—well, we talked about me. At least the last time I took a test, I’m choleric sanguine and some relationship there. So, like, how does that—I think it’s kind of like self-knowledge. They’re entering into the self-knowledge a little bit. Okay, so I’m choleric, which means I’m much more easily, like, annoyed or kind of aggressive in my relationships or, like, straightforward. And, like, sometimes that’s not a good thing. So how do I interact in different settings or even with myself knowing that, like, I’m given to behave this way or to read a situation this way? So I think same thing for the melancholic person. I don’t know, you’re probably more— 

Fr. Bonaventure: I’m more on the melancholic scale, and I think one of the aspects of it is I think there’s a certain thoughtfulness that is more native to a melancholic person than, say, a sanguine person. Because there’s a sense in which the melancholic person doesn’t take his eyes away from reality. There are tragic and difficult aspects to reality—we don’t always get what we want at Christmas—and things don’t always work out. And you might even think there’s a lot of room for tears in this world. Not, again, overwhelming, kind of despairing, despondent, but the person who gets a sense of staying with the uncomfortability of some situations and the world. And the melancholic person is inclined to stay with that uncomfortability, to be there and say, “Ah, I can’t turn this around quickly. I can’t make this a different situation. I can’t fix this sort of thing. But I’m not going to cover over with it. I’m not going to candy it or look on the brighter side.” This sort of thing. That was sort of a Pollyannish aspect. Now, that means that I think melancholic people give a sort of depth, you could say, and a richness to reflections on reality. If you had only melancholic people, I think, then instead you would have a world where no one ever got excited about anything. It’d just always be the tragic dimension of life, which there is. So I think it’s good to have, also necessary to have the other side of things, to bring out the melancholics from the temptation to kind of go darker and darker. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand:  Brood a little bit. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Yeah, exactly. You can get melancholics. Artists are a lot like this. It’s a sense of when you go into the depths, you might realize at the end of the day there’s nothing there. And that’s where the sanguine person comes out and says, “I’ve got balloons and some candy corn.” And that just gets you through the next day. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: And then the choleric person pops the balloons and eats the candy corn. And I’m not sure what the phlegmatic person probably just watches. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Yeah, I don’t know. That’s something about the phlegm aspect. But anyway, so I’d say that there’s something about each of those temperaments brings out a dimension of the world, which is true. Which is true. And some aspects of it should be brought out in different points. And so the melancholic person, the spiritual disposition, you might think, “Oh, it’s such a bad thing to have this,” or, “I wish I was as excited as Jenny,” or whatever, whoever it might be. I just made up a name. And I don’t even know a Jenny, so I don’t know why. Whatever. Oh, no I do. Okay. But actually, you’re given a personality, as you say. It’s just that. It’s just where you are. It’s just who you are. And you would be different if you were always excited about things. But you’re not. Okay. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: So good or bad? 

Fr. Bonaventure: Good. I think it’s good. Yeah, yeah. I mean, I think it’s what it is, and I think it’s good. Okay, let’s go to the bad, though, or the dangerous, the tempted. And this is the depression one. So sadness, which some people, because when people say sadness, they could mean the emotional side, they could mean the kind of dispositional character trait side, or they very oftentimes mean like the psychological, the depression side of things, so the psychological aspect of sadness here. And this we want to be, I think, more ruthless with, not in the sense of like, “Depressed people, get out of here,” but in the sense of saying, “Actually, it’s not a good thing to be depressed.” You might be depressed. There might be situations, of course, you know, you get a cold. But actually, this is something that hinders your flourishing in a way that melancholy doesn’t hinder your flourishing, but actually is to be taken up the shape of that. Does that sound as a starting point? 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: I think so, yeah. Yeah, I think like with all things, as you were saying, it depends on what we’re talking about in the sense of melancholy as a sort of temperament and disposition, or something that is like, I mean, a mental struggle and illness and that sort of thing. And in that latter category, we can’t affirm it to be a good thing. Yeah, we just can’t. I mean, does it mean that like somehow some people suffer depression in whatever various forms, whether like clinically or less clinically or whatever, that there’s less of a person? No, of course not, but the condition of having a sadness that sort of governs life and it kind of can be crippling in ways, we don’t want to say there’s good there. 

Fr. Bonaventure: And it is important to distinguish between, you might think if someone’s depressed, you might say, “Oh, I’m actually a melancholic.” But this is a real distinction between the spiritual aspect of sadness and the psychological aspect of sadness, even though, of course, psyche and soul are related. But we mean the kind of what we might say today, the psychological or the biochemical or whatever you might be, which requires or is oftentimes, very oftentimes helped through treatment, cognitive behavioralist treatment or analysis or just SSRI. And there are plenty of things out there that people can take to help with this kind of sadness that they ought not to have. And it’s not, again, a lot of times it’s just a physical malady and I think there’s a stigma around depression that people don’t want to say, “I think I might be depressed so I should go and get checked out or something.” And we live in the 21st century, we have available at our hands, psychology, psychologists, psychiatry, a lot of tools that don’t need to replace confession, don’t need to replace all this kind of stuff, don’t need to replace God. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: Also don’t need to replace friends. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Yeah, but there are some depressions that are very treatable with just chemicals and with things just like a vitamin in a sense for the mind. And I think that’s for the person, I think that’s a stigma point and you have to get to a point where you realize it’s okay to admit that and look into it. And if it is, that’s something that can be helped and aided by these medications, then there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not your fault that you’re depressed, it’s like it’s not your fault if you have other chemical reactions like you’re allergic to certain things or something. And I think people might be hesitant with that, but it’s an important dimension to realize that you don’t need to be depressed and you want to ask yourself, “Is my depression a character trait or is it just part of my psychological makeup that I could be aided in?” And that you won’t be changed, this is the problem. I think people worry that, “Well, but part of it is my personality and so if I go on medication it’s going to snow me over and make me a different person, no one will recognize me.” And I can tell you people do not. You will be the best person as you ought to be. You’ll still be melancholic probably, it’s not going to turn you into the life of the party or something. But you’ll feel like there’s no more weight, I guess, on your thinking. And sometimes depression can feel like there’s a sort of languidness and a weight on my life, like I’m just walking through water. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: Yeah, I think that’s a good distinction too, especially as we’re looking at these three, like the physical, external, the sort of spiritual, temperamental, and then the psychological, is that two of them are in a sense natural. Like the first, the physical is a natural reaction to something, so their emotions are normal. The temperament is kind of how, I don’t want to say I’m made like this, but it’s part of personality and character, but the third is not. In the sense of, you know, like in heaven we won’t suffer from depression. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Whereas these two other ones, yeah, that’s a good point. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: And as you’ve described in other ways of like caring for that, getting help from whether it’s talking with somebody, seeking therapy, counseling, if that’s combined with medication, it’s like that’s there not to change something that is part and parcel of your identity. But something that’s part of you because it’s part of you, but it’s also something that can be worked on and perfected and alleviated in many ways. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Yeah, it’s a bit like both of us wear glasses, for instance, and it’d be crazy to say- 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: These are fake lenses. 

Fr. Bonaventure: Oh, fair enough, there it is. 

Fr. Jacob Bertrand: That’s just for the look. 

Fr. Bonaventure: That’s just for the look, good. So some of us like myself are blind, but you think, well, they, you know, they, yeah, I mean we can fix, I could say, well, this is the way I am. You know, I’m just going to like stumble around and get into car accidents all the time. You’re like, no, actually your eyes ought to be in this other way. So glasses are fixed for that. Okay. Well, folks, that’s where we’ll have to end it here on our episode of Polish Sadness. Thanks for listening to this episode of Godsplaining. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, like, subscribe, leave a five-star review. If you’d like to donate to the podcast through Patreon, just follow the link in the description. You can also follow the link in the description to the Godsplaining merchandise and also the website that gives upcoming events. We have one to announce, of course, is the April 6th. There’s a, we’re having a day event, a day recollection at St. Patrick’s Church. It’s one of the Dominican parishes in, it is the Dominican parish in Columbus, Ohio. So if you’d like to join on there, go on the website, look up the details, and we’d love to have you on April 6th*. So that’s coming up. But for now, please keep praying for us. We’ll pray for you. We’ll catch you next time on Godsplaining.