75: Hope When Hope Seems Gone—Dr. Aaron Kheriaty
Ours is an age of social disruption, isolation, and atomization. Rates of suicide among young people, rich and poor, along with instances of clinical depression are on the sharp rise since 1999. A dark ennui—call it despair, or melancholia, or depression—has settled into the lives of millions of people.
Sources of community support that used to provide a bullwark against all this “apartness,” such as a vibrant parish at the center of family life and vice versa, mens’ and womens’ social clubs, and a culture that supported the ideals of monogamy, have withered or vanished.
Psychiatrist Dr. Aaron Kheriaty deals with the fall-out of these disruptions every day in his clinical practice and as an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of California Irvine where he is also director of the bioethics program.
This is a fascinating exchange of ideas—from social science data, to poetry, to the life witness of the saints to the truths of Scripture—related to helping those suffering maladies that seem to cruelly evacuate hope from the human heart. Very few doctors see the interconnectedness between the order of nature (and nurture) and the order of grace. Aaron Kheriaty is one of them, and he’s downright evangelical about getting the word out about the urgently needed, good old-fashioned hope. He’s also a fine writer who is attuned to the mystery of suffering in a way that is wise and accessible.
The Hail Holy Queen prayer describes the location of our sojourn as “this vale of tears” for good reasons. If you or someone you know has had serious vicissitudes, trials, or setbacks in his or her life, this is a “don’t miss” interview.
In this interview, you will learn:
- Why the worlds of psychiatry and of faith have large areas of overlap and agreement
- A workable definition of despair and its antidote
- How the lives of some of the (mentally ill) saints can be a sign of great hope and consolation
- Why suicide, and examples of triumph over despair, can both be “contagious”
- The ways in which the Incarnation of God in Christ provides the direct proof of divine accompaniment and healing regarding mental illness and the loss of hope
- The difference between human hope and the supernatural virtue of hope
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- The Catholic Guide to Depression by Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, with Monsignor John Cihak
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Dr. Viktor Frankl
- People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil by Dr. M. Scott Peck
- The Hound of Heaven and Other Poems by Francis Thompson, Intro by G.K. Chesterton
- Dying of Despair essay in “First Things” by Dr Aaron Kheriaty
- University of California Irvine link to Dr. Kheriaty’s bio and contact info
The Patrick Coffin Show is 100% listener supported. Help us keep our show independent and unfiltered.
Consider supporting our work with a one-time or recurring donation HERE.
Tweet to Patrick HERE
Follow Patrick on Facebook HERE
Check out the store HERE
Sign up for our Inside Scoop newsletter with the best of The Patrick Coffin Show each week.
Join the Conversation
Question of the week:
What is one concrete thing I can do to be an ambassador of hope for someone in my life who may be suffering depression or otherwise feeling despair?
Don’t forget to Subscribe to the show in YouTube, as well as the podcast so you can get the weekly show updates. Check the podcast in iTunes and other podcast directories, while you are there, please leave an honest review.
Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful
If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons below.