Busy, Dogs, Instant Access, Panic Attacks

photo (5)Life’s been busy. For whatever reason, writing has not been an easy for the past few months wherever I’ve tried to write…it’s been like banging my head into a wall. It’s been a little easier the past few weeks offline, so we’ll see how it goes here.

Luke and Leia have adjusted to life without Lucy even if I still occasionally look for her in the middle of the night. Luke was diagnosed with cancer in June. It’s fast spreading and there’s not much to be done, other than to keep him comfortable. So far, he is doing okay and does not seem to be in any discomfort.

One of the drawbacks I believe to the instant-information-age we live in is that we think sometimes we know the whole story about a situation or news event when in reality we don’t…we merely know whatever our media outlet of choice is sharing with us, and that information can, and often does, change minute by minute if a situation is ongoing. I can feel myself drawn in and then tossed around as the updates come, anxiety building.

I’m beginning to think that’s not necessarily healthy.

Not that we shouldn’t be informed about what’s going on, but rather that we sit obsessed and brooding over situations (1) that we have no control over; (2) where facts are not being presented but rather ever-changing guesses about what’s happening; and (3) that are emotionally charged and volatile.

Anyway.

I’ve written before here about how Sunday mornings tend to be stressful for me and that hasn’t changed. Last Sunday morning I had a panic attack during church. Yes, there was a trigger. No, it wasn’t the message. It’s only Friday and I can already feel the anxiety building. I don’t really know if I can go back after it or not. The memories and trying to process through them continues to be difficult. Some days I feel like I’m riding an emotional roller coaster…and I’m not enjoying it.

the Sunday morning debate

I debated a great deal with myself this morning about whether or not I was going to church. Even though in my head the reasons to not go outweighed the reasons to go (aside from the best reason to go which I thought about later), I went to church and am thankful I did.

Sunday mornings are always hard on me, in the best of circumstances.

This Sunday came after a tough experience at the Friday night service (comments) and a hard realization about a “friend” yesterday.

The easy path would have been to stay home and hide.

I’ve been taking the easy path for a long time. To anyone looking at me, I appeared to be functioning and fine, while inside I was frozen and incomplete.

Over the past several weeks, fine and functioning are no longer working and if all the crying and waves of strong emotions are any indication, nothing is frozen. It’s awkward and uncomfortable, and even if I’m right and this is where God is leading me,  out of that place where I shut myself down and forgot myself, I am unsure, and every thought and feeling feel unfamiliar and uncomfortable. I would prefer to wait until I’ve figured it out, until I’m healed up more and put back together more.

But it doesn’t appear that there’s any other way to find the truth and with it my heart, than to experience and discover the truth of it’s leading me. But what if this is all wrong? What is the right way to go? What if I’m just imagining all this? Imagining it as an alternative to ending it all?

It’s easier to be strong and to not need. To not feel. Feelings are not reliable, so throw them aside, push them down. The problem is that there’s a part of myself that gets thrown to the wayside as well when I make that choice. And I am not convinced it’s right either.

So maybe taking the easy path is not the best option anymore, maybe it’s time to take the harder path and hold hard to faith, trusting that quiet “voice” that says to keep going even though it hurts.

thoughts on a Monday morning

I don’t belong.

It’s too raw. The two people who do know (because I’m stupid) are uncomfortable around me, often unable to look me in the eye or say much, and especially in a crowd. It’s agonizing because others read those reactions and respond in kind without even thinking about it.

I fight with the anxiety and make it into the building Sunday morning, believing it is the right thing to do.

No one greets me during the greeting time. Or the friend I’ve brought along with me to visit.

No one helps when we don’t have the insert in the bulletin for the responsive reading, either one of us, or when I go looking for one so we can participate.

No one speaks to us as we slip out at the end.

I assure my friend (who knows just enough) that it’s me, not her.  Over lunch we make small talk about my agoraphobia and our mutual hard, painful losses and how they have permanently scarred us.

The first time I ever said the words “I was raped” out loud, the person (one of the two who do know) had no response, not a word, nothing. I felt deep shame for having told. To this day I struggle with talking, preferring to write instead. Because talking about private family business was not allowed back then and consequences dire if it did happen.

No response should have told me something.

It’s not even that there’s anything to be said or done, not now with so time having passed. It’s more about not feeling so alone, so raw in the middle of dealing with it all.

I believed, perhaps foolishly, that facing the truth would bring freedom.

Instead I feel shame.

Shame that it happened. Shame that I’m so repulsive to others because it happened. Shame because I’m so obviously an outcast and unwanted.

Alone.

We meet for coffee

We meet for coffee.

It hurts.

The one person I thought I could confide in, who encouraged me to confide with promises that it would not change anything and that it wasn’t “too much.”

Promises that turn out to be empty and false.

Tentative attempts to talk rebuffed with “you need to trust God more.”

I feel afresh the shame, the regret, the feelings that it was wrong to talk so ingrained for so many years by similar events…tell someone, ask for help, they promise it will be okay, they disappear and become distant.

The tip, though, happened…at church. The person who had done a Bible study with me every Saturday, who had slipped in and sat next to me Sunday after Sunday for over a year stopped acknowledging me. The irony being because I thought she was busy with the children’s care during church, I didn’t even know…until she told me she sat behind me one Sunday (via email), and yet had made no attempt to contact me…no touch on the shoulder as she passed behind me, not one word before I slipped out, nothing.

Then the comments from others like “are you ever going to be okay?” began to take on new meaning and pain.

And if I get an email, phrases like “I hope you’re okay emotionally” ring false and sting.

Once a month we meet for coffee, if she remembers.

It hurts.

The drive crashed

It’s been a fairly productive weekend…

Yesterday I redid my living room. It’s amazing how new curtains, throw pillows, and rugs can freshen up the place. I also rearranged furniture in several rooms, making a room to use as a dining room..which will be my fall/winter project.

Last Thursday I lost the 121 page document I’d been working on for weeks when the drive crashed. Even the Geek Squad was unable to retrieve it for me. I worked all day today on the document, with the exception of when I was at church this morning. Still, I feel hopeful that I’ll get it completed in plenty of time now.

Now it’s time to relax and watch the season premiere of Once Upon A Time.

“-ese”

It struck me last night that language and communicating are so important, and yet so cumbersome and difficult at times. Not necessarily because the participants are unwilling, but more likely because of lack of common language and understandings…even if both parties are speaking the same language.

In my professional life, I am very fluent in education-ese. In moments and meetings filled with stress, it is very tempting and easy to launch into tirades using language that only another person in education-ese  might comprehend in order to (sadly) put the other person in their “place” for daring to question or wonder about something happening. I was reminded of this blatant arrogance and disrespect a few weeks ago when at a meeting one of the participants not fluent in education-ese but with a very high stake in the meeting looked bewildered at the rest of us and asked us to start over and to talk in plain English so she could understand. All of us involved were chagrined and rightly so.

Last night I was involved in a conversation about God and our relationship with Him. I’ve been attending church for less than two years, and I’ve taken significant “breaks” in the past twenty-one months…not attending for a four month stretch at one time. As we were chatting I realized that while I recognize certain words and phrases, I really have no understanding of what they mean.  It’s not that I can’t define the words either because I’m pretty handy with the dictionary. But as for the nuances of what the phrases really mean…it’s a language I don’t have enough background knowledge and experience in to fully comprehend. When I ask, knowing it sounds like a simple and stupid question, and there’s no response or another response using more church-ese, it becomes frustrating for all participants because the more it’s explained using the same language the less I understand and the more confused I become.

What I will say, though, is that last night, I had the full experience of how the person in my meeting felt, and I intend to do everything I can to make sure that is not the normal experience for anyone participating in meetings at work anymore.

Last Sunday

Last Sunday I left church during the greeting time.

I went alone which isn’t all that unusual.

I was feeling very conscious of the fact that I have very thin hair on one side of my head (even bald in one area) courtesy of radiation three weeks ago this Monday…even though I was assured it wasn’t noticeable by multiple sources.

A family with a teenage girl sat next to me. The teen leaned as far away from me as she could, refusing to share the book with the responsive reading with me even.

When it was time to greet, and I turned to greet them, they moved away to greet others.

I felt shunned and unwanted.

I felt like something was wrong with me.

I’m not unaware a week later that the behavior is not unusual for a teen, and especially a female teen.

Last week it didn’t matter, and I’m not sure if it happened this morning if it would matter either.