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Should I Toss the Emo Music? How Do I Live With a Depressed Husband?


Toshiko Sakurai CC

Katrina Fernandez - published on 05/17/16

FIFY: Katrina Fernandez takes two questions from Italy

[Editor’s Note: Due to the volume of incoming emails, this week “Fixed It For You” is trying a multiple-response format. Let us know how you like it. This week’s questions for Katrina come from Italy and are roughly translated from the Italian.]

Dear Katrina,
I do not know if you speak Italian but I enjoy your articles on Aleteia.

I’ve been married for 16 years with a depression sick man who absorbs all my energy.

A persevering prayer life helps me to support the whole family but lately I feel assaulted by discomforting fear that I’ve made a bad choice staying in my marriage. I feel lonely, weary and oppressed.

Any advice will be welcome. Thank you.


Dear A.

Have you sought the professional and spiritual counsel of a priest and therapist? Even if your husband is suffering too much right now to go himself, you desperately need to have someone to talk to about this. You’re taking steps in the right direction by approaching this with constant prayer.

Sixteen years is a long time and I commend you on your commitment to your vows. Your husband is sick right now, and I know it’s tough to shoulder this burden, but you would want him to do the same if you ever suffered from a mental or physical illness. Your commitment and perseverance is teaching your children, by your example, what true love looks like.  

I know it’s hard, lonely work caring for someone struggling with depression, and it’s not uncommon to have feelings of doubt; that’s why it’s so important that you take care of yourself. Doubt, frustration, fear, and anger are all natural reactions to situations that we lack control over. You’re not a bad wife or mother for feeling that way.

Here in the U.S. there are support groups for family members caring for loved ones with all types of illnesses; perhaps there is something similar in Italy. Ask your priest or ask someone at a local hospital what they can recommend. Talking with other people who are going through the same thing, even if it’s just an online community of people, will definitely help combat the loneliness and weariness you feel. I would encourage you to enlist the help of family and friends and continue to pray for your husband. I would also encourage you tolearn everything you can about your husband’s illness.   

The good news is that doctors have come a long way in understanding and treating depression. Find a good compassionate doctor for your husband. I sincerely wish you, him, and your children the absolute best.

Side note: I do not recommend any spouse or partner stay in a relationship where there is risk of physical harm. If a person threatens to harm themselves or those around them, please seek immediate help from local police.  

Dear Katrina,

Hi, I would like to seek help for better understanding about what is right to do regarding the music I listen to.

Now, I asked several priests (at least 4) and during confession they’ve all told me the same thing. They think I should give up my favorite type of music. They think the music is not compatible with Catholic beliefs. But I checked the texts and covers. What is wrong is that the lyrics refer to a lack of confidence and hope (though there are no texts containing messages of adultery or vulgar things).

I’m afraid to listen to them because they told me that is a mortal sin but I regret not listening to them because they are my favorite band ever. What should I do? Throw everything away? Go to confession every time I listen to them? Yet I have many flaws I do not think that listening to rock is the worst possible.

Meanwhile, I feel guilty … what to do?

Timid and indecisive

Dear Timid,

If you asked your priests and they advised against it, I’d be inclined to take their advice. I certainly don’t want to contradict a priest, but perhaps I can help you understand why they counseled you the way they did.  

You like a certain type of music that is often referred to in the USA as Goth and Emo. The lyrics might not be specifically blasphemous or vulgar but if they are depressive and lack hope, overexposure to that type of message can cause you to feel hopeless and perhaps encourage you to wallow in a self-centered state of self-induced self-pity. A sense of despair and hopelessness is 100% contrary to what it means to be a Catholic and that is why your priests think it’s not good for you to listen to this type of music.

I know you have your favorite bands and types of music, but is it worth the anxiety and guilt it seems to be causing you? It doesn’t seem so. Anything that is causing your soul this much disquiet is certainly not good for you. My advice is to listen to your priests and try listening to music with more positive messages.

Last thought: Your signature suggests to me that you have difficulty expressing yourself, and that’s perhaps why you feel so dependent upon this music. Please consider investing in a journal where you can write your thoughts, or even some crayons and paper so you can explore drawing. If you have an outlet for your feelings, you might find it easier to give up the music. God bless.

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