Wednesday 24 June 2015

Self-Defeating Behaviours 1

Although many women with mental health issues marry, not all of them do. (I say them, not us, for I have a more of an emotional health issue than a mental health issue. Pause while I go take my pill. Okay, I'm back.)

Interestingly, some men are terribly attracted to women with mental or emotional health issues, and not necessarily because the men are rotters. When I first met B.A. he told me all about an ex-girlfriend on anti-depressants, and my thoughts slid uneasily to the pills in my suitcase. Of course, I was also greatly cheered, for men tend to be attracted to the same kind of women over and over again. Poor B.A. is doomed to the sort of women who fling ourselves on kitchen floors and wail. On the bright side, we're rarely boring or holier-than-thou.

However, to get back to the women with mental health issues who don't marry, it's probably a good thing that they don't marry, for marriage can be quite mentally and emotionally challenging. Trying to take care of your own mental health while nagging at your husband to see a doctor about that cough/enormous multicoloured mole/swelling on his neck would be almost impossible. Meanwhile, not a lot of men have the emotional resources needed to care for a wife who is actually psychotic. There are at least two Single women in my parish who are insane, and one of them is certified psychotic, and so if either asked me why she is Single, I would probably point to that. 

Life is hard. 

Of course although  a few Single women are probably Single because they are severely mentally ill, being Single is not a sign of severe mental illness, especially as there are lots of married women who become severely mentally ill. 

So where am I going with this, you are wondering, eyes wide at the computer screen. Well, although I think most of the time Searching Single women are still Single because the vast majority of Single men are just not interested in marriage being (A) dead or (B) underemployed or (C) dead scared of women or (D) addicted to porn or (E) called to celibacy as a Sign of the Kingdom (F) homosexual, I acknowledge that sometimes women are Single because of our own disabilities, habits, attitudes or poor choices.  

Naturally, women don't want to hear this. Women don't want to hear this so much that our own women friends usually don't make us unless we repeat "Why am I Single?" so often they snap. 

Meanwhile, if you are under 30, the answer to "Why am I Single?" is usually, "Because the vast majority of men of our age and type have been killed by war/corrupted by the sexual revolution/deadened by porn/devalued on the job market /discouraged by divorce laws." So, really, there is no point in worrying why you have not managed to snag one of the few early-marrying outliers. However, once you are 30 and you notice vast numbers of men your age and type now getting married, you may want to ask your best and bravest female pal if perhaps you have a personality quirk which, though highly endearing to fellow women, repels the so-called stronger sex. 

I did this myself, and it was not as painful as I thought. My chosen pal was a devout Catholic who had studied Saint Edith Stein's and John Paul II's theology of women, and we had had many conversation of the "Dear God, what do men want?" variety. So she thought about the problem of Seraphic for a bit, and then we met in a café that neither of us was attached to,   in case this was a horrible experience, and my pal told me that she thought I was still Single because I wanted a man who was more intelligent and more educated than I was. 

"That's it?" I asked incredulously. 

And apparently that was it. I was healthy, striking, funny, friendly to men, fun to be around, but I seemed determined to marry only within the tiny percentage of men [whom my friend and I perceived to be] more intelligent and educated than myself.  

I was so pleased and relieved, I swore at once to stop trying to marry university professors, and within a year I was engaged to a fellow Ph.D. drop-out. Ta-dah! 

Naturally all B.A.'s male friends will blow raspberries and insist than B.A. is vastly more intelligent than I am, blah, blah, blah, blah. However, I think we are pretty evenly matched, and B.A. just gets more credit because he has a proper job and talks about the Scottish Enlightenment all day. 

It is curious that this was my problem because at earlier ages, I could have been given different answers. Of course, between the ages of 19 and 25 I was Single because I was dating men I couldn't, in the end, commit to. DUH. 

Seraphic age 21: Why am I Single?

Seraphic age 40+: Since unlike most women you know a zillion Catholic men of the early-marrying variety, I would say it is because you have the maturity of a grape in spring.

Seraphic age 21: Aw. You're mean. Aw. I'm not listening. Fingers in my ears. La la la!

Seraphic age 40+: Also you have severe undiagnosed depression, and Prozac would be helpful.

Seraphic age 21:  Oh how dare you? Oh the shame. Oh the taboo of mental health issues and the shame of Prozac!

Seraphic age 40+: Yeah, you are going to have get over that.

Then there was me at 27.

Seraphic age 27: Why am I Single?

Seraphic age 40+: Well, you're not actually Single, sugar-pie, because your annulment hasn't come through yet. Come back when your papers are hot off the marriage tribunal's printer, and we'll talk.

Seraphic age 29 (with papers): Okay, I've been officially and churchily Single for months now. Why am I still Single?

Seraphic age 40+: Because you have been dating the wrong kind of man. Stop dating the wrong kind of man!  Stop it! Stop it! (Takes papers and wallops Seraphic age 29 over the head with them) No more atheists, no more alcoholics...!

Seraphic age 29: There's a nice Protestant guy at work...

Seraphic age 40+ (has small seizure): Have you learned nothing?

Seraphic age 29: Hey, I'm not a sectarian freak or anything.

Seraphic age 40+ (wallops Seraphic age 29 all around the room): Yes, you are! Yes, you are! Admit it! Embrace it!

Seraphic age 29: Eeek! Help! Crazy woman! Eeek!

(Exits, pursued by older, fatter self.)

Seraphic age 35: Why am I Single?

Seraphic age 40+: Shut up. You're boring me now. I'm watching Poirot

Seraphic age 35: It's because I'm ugly, right? I'm ugly. It must be because I am ugly.

Seraphic age 40: This summer in Germany, you were hit on by a discerner, a seminarian, an overenthusiastic migrant at a bus station, Max's uncle and that scary priest. Go make me some popcorn. 

Seraphic age 35: The discerner was nice. Why didn't I go for the discerner? He was a trained engineer! Why was I so distracted by Max? Why couldn't I have gone for the discerner? Was it because his grandfather was in the Luftwaffe? What's wrong with me?

Seraphic age 40+ (watches Poirot, eats popcorn).

Of course, now I am quite happy to have been Single all that time, for it left me free to meet Benedict Ambrose, and when you meet the Perfect Man for You, you suddenly cease to mind all that Singleness and wish only that you had met him earlier which, if he lived his whole life on another continent, was pretty unlikely. The very fact that you managed to meet him at all will strengthen your belief in God's Providence and mercy. 

The only thing I have to add today is that by the time I asked my pal for her definitive opinion on why I was Single is that I had completely got over resentment for men. I cannot stress how damaging resentment for men is in your quest for wedded bliss. YOU MUST NOT VOICE RESENTMENT FOR MEN! Except, naturally, to your shrink, if you have one, so as to stop THINKING your resentment for men. If you THINK it, it will beam from your face and repel the multitudes. But I will write about that tomorrow. 

I should have written about that today, but I got all distracted by the Drama of Me. As usual.


  1. I'm on antidepressants. I have been on them for about 18 months. I think they work, but I hope I can go off them sooner rather than later. I think a lot of people in my field of work have depressive disorders.

    Anon. for now

  2. Yes, I remember wanting to go off my anti-depressants. They were expensive. However, now they are not, and they are such a low dose, I shall take them as long as the doctor keeps signing the paperwork. I dearly wish I had been given them as soon as I was old enough.

    Mood disorders are a cross, but I prefer mine to some ghastly physical syndrome or other. Naturally it is awful to feel awful, but at least no-one looks pitying at you on the bus, etc.

  3. "...the Drama of Me" is a wonderful turn-of-phrase.

  4. I don't think I resent men. Anyway, if I do give off bad vibes (which I hope I do not) it doesn't seem to be enough to stop men from wanting to be friends with me, even if they don't want to date me.

    I don't hate men, but I'm sometimes confused and exasperated by them. And I'm afraid of porn-users and manosphere-readers.

  5. Nameless for this post25 June 2015 at 12:43

    Seraphic, could you please address the issue of dating and marrying men with mental health problems? Many - if not most - of the young practising Catholic men in my area (including my boyfriend) suffer from mental health issues, and this makes dating pretty complicated.

  6. Hmm. Mental health problems. I shall think about it, although I don't think I am qualified for this one.


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