Feelings of Listlessness

There are days I don't want to do anything. I don't want to study, I don't want to read, I don't want to interact...I don't even want to pray. There are times I don't know what I want to do; I just have feelings of apathy towards the world.

Part of this is due to my epilepsy. The medication I take is called Dilantin, and I take 600mg a day to keep from having seizures. Anyone who's ever been on seizure medication will tell you that the common side effects are drowsiness and lethargy. While I've been taking my medication for over 18 years, there are times when I still must fight these symptoms.

That's not to say it's entirely due to my medication. I don't like to make excuses for my actions anymore, so I realize there is a part of me that prefers to disconnect from the world. It is a rare part of me, and it only rears its listless head every now and then. I think it's a side-effect from working too hard, dealing with a cold, and getting off a routine. I still haven't adjusted my body to being back in Milwaukee since Christmas, and 3 times this week I woke up late for morning prayer. Half of me was angry with myself for not being more responsible. The other half of me simply didn't care.

As odd as this sounds for someone in my position, this is entirely part of the process of discerning a vocation. We as humans live in consolation or desolation with God. We may believe, but we may choose not to enjoy that love or follow that desire. It angers me that I am this way when I am choosing to live a religious life, but there is some safety in knowing that I am still me, and that I am being selected on who I am as a person...even if that means I turn into a depressed, emo friar every now and then.

Times like these come and go. When I start to experience this type of feeling, there's a few things I try to do and avoid:

1. I try and avoid huge decisions. If I feel I'm living a lie and that I really don't have a vocation, I don't make a decision to leave. I address those feelings in prayer the best I can, or I discuss them with my peers or spiritual director.

2. I try to designate what I don't want to do from what I don't wish to do. I may not want to go to ministry, but I don't wish that I didn't have to work there. I may not want to pray one morning, but that does not mean I wish I could stop attending morning prayer. By having an internal dialogue with myself, I realize that this is a temporary mindset.

3. If it is only temporary, then I continue to do those things I don't want to, because I know that I've received pleasure from those things in the past. For me to stop eating dinner with my community or any other activity is to make a decision that may effect my future pleasure.

There are even times when I don't want to write this blog. That thought has no actual basis, I just don't feel like it at times. However I know that this is something that gives me pleasure, release, and a sense of therapy. It is also the basis for a ministry that I hope to involve the Capuchins with. Therefore, while I might have the desire to just not write anything, I try to be honest and say whatever I can.

I apologize if I don't always exemplify the positive, heroic image of a man who's given up worldly things to follow the Call of God. I'm still a regular guy dealing with regular things. But by being able to express my feelings in a sincere and open medium, there exists a form of reflection and contemplation that brings about a unique type of spiritual healing.

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