All posts tagged church

Published March 14, 2018 by Chloe Madison

I had another horrible nightmare about being hospitalized again. A co-worker was in my dream and I was pleading to not have to go to the hospital again. I absolutely hate this.

Ive had several nightmares in the last few days, but some benign dreams too.

I’ve been pretty irritable, but overall mood is good. Things are actually looking better than they have in over a year IF I keep my mind occupied 100% of the time. I took one day after work to just rest and watch TV and my thoughts and mood immediately went downhill.

I’m working hard to keep myself occupied with various projects at home- just reorganizing or sifting through old paperwork to see what I can trash, studying, stretching, working on the hunt….I’m trying. But it’s exhausting to keep myself busy 100% of the time. It’s impossible for me to do indefinitely.

But I have to say things are actually kind of ok. And THAT is amazing. The other thing is my church. I’m so thankful for God giving me that church and those people. No matter how much of a hard time I have trusting people… there are very good people at my church. My pastor is one of them. He’s amazing. I barely know the guy, but from what I see, he’s very genuine and so is everything he does. All the other people in my church too…. they’re all amazing people. I’m thankful to be in the midst of them every Sunday. It’s a good place to be.

And I’m working on trying to think of it as a safe place to be. That’s slow in coming, but I’m working on it.

I’m still anxiety-ridden knowing that God is disappointed in me. But he’s one person you can’t pretend with. I can’t pretend to trust him when I don’t fully trust him. I can’t fool him into thinking I’m ok or I have faith that the future will be good. I don’t think it will and God knows that. He knows me. He knows I don’t have perfect faith in him and he knows I’m skeptical and don’t trust him. It doesn’t matter the reason- my therapist told me again how I’m transferring my distrust of my earthly father to my Heavenly Father. And I know the reason doesn’t matter. I’m just not able to trust at this point.

I know God is disappointed in me and that feels terrible. I know he’s mad at me for not having hope and for wanting to *** ** ****. He gave it to me and I’m not appreciating it. There’s no hiding that from him. I love God, but I’m scared of him. Geez…that could describe how I feel about many people in my life. I love people so, so deeply, but I’m so terrified of just about everyone out there. I know I have good reason, but I also know I’m an adult and those reasons shouldn’t matter.

I was just thinking…dogs and babies. Those are the only living things that I’m not afraid of, that I don’t feel threatened by. Everyone else, everything else- every single person on the face of this earth is dangerous and can hurt you. People aren’t safe. Period. End of story. But I feel God has placed me in my church for a reason. Even though I can’t fully trust them…it’s not their fault…but they are some amazing people. I miss my 911 friend and the positive influence he was. But still…I think of the people at my church and they are one phenomenal group. I’m scared to even talk to most of them 😂- but I’m grateful for them.

I’m trying to remain as positive as possible…

Published February 25, 2018 by Chloe Madison

Is there such a thing as spiritual exhaustion? I don’t know how to explain what I’m feeling.

I spent Fri night and all day Sat in a sleeping pill-induced stupor. At least it was slow moving and restful. Today I went to church and for the first time in over a year, I was actually normal. It was so odd! I was ok…I wasn’t scared and intimidated, nor doubting everyone and everything that was said. I was even able to sing from my heart. It felt great. I knew I was a mess, but for a short period of time, I also knew God was good. Until my worship pastor said something about God being a good father…I flinched and immediately felt guilty about my doubt….but what can I do? I sang that song though. And I meant it. I was able to pay attention to my pastor as he preached. Dang, is he talented at what he does. The sermon was very applicable. It was about how we can be so independent that we don’t need help- God’s help. How sometimes our independence gets in the way of us admitting our brokenness and our need for God. He mentioned how we were “designed” to need God. That can explain a lot in our lives. And I was fine for most of the sermon. Then, suddenly and out of nowhere, I started crying again. I can’t even say why. I was just suddenly overwhelmed with an overbearing sadness. It lasted maybe 10-15 minutes and then it left. And I felt normal again and was even able to pay attention again. I don’t know what that was. But today in church was one of the better Sundays I’ve experienced.

I have so much weighing on me. I have no clue where I’ll be living in 4 months. I have stupid hospital bills still to pay. Oh…that reminds me of a very…I don’t know how to explain it…sharp, stabbing (?) truth that my pastor spoke about today. Shame. I hate that word, but it’s been my life for over a year now. I felt it’s weight and all that comes with it from who my father is and the terrible things my family did to cover it up. For months, I tried with my therapist to convince myself that the shame I felt belonged to my father, not me. That it belonged to my family who wronged me, not me. And then came the hospitalization. And I had no idea how devastating and shattering that shame could be. I never thought of it before because I never imagined it would happen. But now I have my own shame to carry in that. It’s mine, not my dad’s nor my family’s. I was the one hospitalized, not them. I’m the one who carries the stigma, no one else. My pastor said that shame is the most devastating of human emotions. I would agree. It makes me feel like I can’t recover. It makes me feel like I’m not good enough and never will be. It makes me understand why people don’t love me and care for me. It makes me understand why my own parents and grandparents didn’t.

I’ve been struggling to breathe under this new shame. Only one person told me that being hospitalized doesn’t define me. I find that so, so hard to believe. I’m trying to cling to that, thinking that I can move on. But, I think I’m only fooling myself. It’s not like I can forget being hospitalized and what it’s done to me. It has literally damaged my psyche. And I’m afraid that’s permanent.

I was afraid the damage done from my perpetrators was permanent. I know God is able to heal. I just don’t understand why he doesn’t. Why does he let people die? Why does he let people suffer? Why doesn’t he heal everyone and show us his love and compassion in that way? Why is it rare that God will do this? I don’t know. And that’s part of why I think praying is useless. God will do what he wants to do. It’s not like you’re going to change his mind! But even with that, and I feel terribly guilty about doubting God’s goodness, I’ve been praying a little lately. I’ve asked God to help me find a safe place to live. I’ve been asking him to take care of my 911 friend and his family. I’ve been asking God to heal my Madagascar friend’s marriage. (They’re good, they just need a little repairing and they’re working on it.) That brings me to another topic. My isolation and lack of connection to people. My Madagascar friend has been writing a little bit every few days to me. He’s shared that he’s in counseling with his wife and he’s shared some of his own weaknesses and struggles. I am so grateful for that. Him being open with me makes me feel connected. It’s given me something (besides myself) to bring before God. I’m so grateful that our friendship is slowly blooming again. I don’t think I’ve seen this guy in 16 years… we went to Madagascar in 2000, I think and we saw each other maybe a year or so after that. I’m grateful that he hasn’t thrown me away as a friend because I was hospitalized. I’m grateful that he still trusts me. He trusts me enough to share his struggles with and not only is that opening a two way street, but like I said, it makes me feel connected to another human being. I can’t believe how much I lack that. It’s unreal.

Published January 14, 2018 by Chloe Madison

Today in church, I heard a lot of noises- they were either scratching noises or fluttering sounds. It seemed to switch back and forth. It came from the roof- as if the roof of the church was tin and a bunch of birds were flopping around on top of the roof. For a minute there, I thought it was something more sinister- but I swear I saw a few other people looking up too. It came and went for about 15 minutes and then stopped. It was just really distracting.

Anyway, it’s weird that my pastor spoke today about some of what I wrote about. He talked about busyness and how it doesn’t matter how busy you are, if you’re not loving people…then it’s all for nothing.

I love really hard on the young people I work with. A few years ago, I was going to change careers and go into law enforcement. I had this massive desire to help people get justice- the justice that I have never received. (That’s how I knew Zack. We were in academy together for a year.) But just as I was about to get hired on with a department, I realized God was calling me to stay with my current career, working with teenagers. Before then, I’d always known that I had the power to encourage these kids and pour positivity into their lives. But this renewed calling made me realize I had to take every single day to make sure I made a positive impact on these kids, their hearts, and in their lives. I became much more purposeful in instilling everything positive that I could. I also became purposeful in sharing Jesus with them- even though I’m not supposed to.

But since last year, I’ve become so self-centered and wrapped up in my own issues. I fear I’ve fallen away from loving on the people God wants me to. I’ve noticed He still brought certain kids to my attention. He won’t let me get away with being wholly wrapped up in myself at work.

But I question how I can love on them better…or more. Or both. I want to give these kids what I never had. And I want to give them the good things I did have. I want to be an encouragement to them, a source of strength, positivity, confidence, tenderness…and a way in which they can learn how to do the right thing in this twisted world and how to treat other people with respect and love and kindness. I think I need to step up my game.

I’m not sure how much longer I will walk this earth. We know if it was up to me, I would have already bowed out. But while I’m still here, as unhappy and as messed up as I may be, I think I should return to focusing more on these kids. I think it’s what God wants. I’m not sure.

This is kind of how I view January…except I can’t see ANY steps in front of me and instead of it being a white fog, it’s a dense, dark blackness that obscures absolutely everything. I’m still surprised I’m even here. I didn’t think I would be. And being halfway through January and still not being able to see it…well, it’s surreal. I don’t quite know what else to say about that.

A few days ago I had a strange dream. I was spending time with my pastor and his wife and children. (Weird, huh?? I barely know them!) In my dream he had two little girls and we were riding around in a Jeep. In real life, I think he’s got three young boys. In my dream, we went to this giant store- like a warehouse store- full of Mexican souvenirs. We all split up and walked around the warehouse/ store separately and then joined back together in the Jeep and rode off. As odd as this dream was, it’s made me feel more comfortable with my pastor. 😂 I know it must sound strange because I barely know the guy, but whatever. I know it’s bothered me that I feel so disconnected with my pastors at my church (even though I think they’re all amazing people). I just don’t know them that well and we simply don’t talk. I was wondering why I would be riding around town with my pastor and his family in my dream. The connection that popped into my head came from a friend of mine. Last May (I think), I was planning to commit suicide. A friend of mine stepped in and asked me to stay with him and his family at his house. I remember being shocked at first. And then I remember being thankful and in awe. I was so thankful for him caring enough and I was in awe of his family and the way they interacted with each other. I learned so much from staying with them. Anyway, I remember riding around town with him and his children doing various things. I wonder if this is where my brain got the idea for a dream about riding around town and going to a store with my pastor. I don’t think it really matters, but I always try to figure out why I dream what I dream. I’ve been thinking about this dream for a few days now. And as silly as it might sound, I DO feel so much more comfortable with my pastor…even though none of that was real life. But you know what? My pastor came and said hi to me today before church. That’s the third time we’ve spoken. 😂 I’m thankful though. I feel like that simple gesture was God confirming to me that he’s a good guy, he’s trustworthy, and I need to chill out. It actually does mean a lot to me that he said hi today.

There are some other positive things I’d like to share.

I received an anonymous note and little gift at work. Here’s the note:

I don’t know who’s on the Me, Myself and I Committee, but I like how they think. I like that they do random acts of kindness like this. It made me smile more than once that day. 🙂

Here’s a note one of my best friends gave me as I was leaving her after Christmas break:

She wrote a lot of the stuff we’ve done together at the top as good memories for me to focus on. And see that part that says, “you are not alone”? Yeah…that means the world to me.

I’m very, very alone in this world. I go home to an empty house every single day. I work with teenagers, so I barely speak to other adults throughout any given week. I am very much alone. But it means a lot when my friends tell me I’m not. Remember when I shared my most favorite text ever? It simply said “you are not alone” over and over. I STILL smile when I remember that. It made such a huge impact on me.

I’m very, very thankful for the good people in my life. I want to be a good person to someone else.

Published January 7, 2018 by Chloe Madison

Today has been difficult. I wanted to leave church the second I arrived. I felt unwanted immediately. There’s no real reason for it. I had signed up to volunteer at my church. They’ve never contacted me to do what I signed up for. I’m convinced they don’t trust me. Would you trust someone you know was just locked up in a mental hospital? Right. So I don’t blame them, but it makes me feel terrible. That and the thing about my pastors not talking to me. Nothing has changed. I’m telling myself that I’m taking this too hard or too personally and that there is nothing and no one making me feel unwanted at church. But my mind screams otherwise. Today I was sitting in church and again, all I could think was “lies.” I thought that so many times. I honestly wonder about spiritual warfare and influence. I can’t tell if me feeling unwanted there is my depression or the truth or spiritual warfare. I don’t know.

Today during the sermon I also couldn’t stop thinking about Zack. Now that I’m back home, his death is hitting me much harder. I passed the place we went to academy together, I thought of him nonstop as I drove around the same streets. I thought of him in church and how useful his life was, how much he mattered to so many people. And I know something is wrong with me. Because other people look at that and commit to making themselves live a better life for Jesus like Zack did. But me, I don’t do that. Instead, I just see how I’m no good to this world. Today, in the middle of the sermon, I saw my death again. Gunshot to the head again. Everything gruesomely splattering everywhere. Again. That’s not even how I want to die. So I don’t know why I keep seeing it that way. January doesn’t exist. It’s a void.

Nothing makes it out of a void.

Published December 12, 2017 by Chloe Madison

The last few days have been weird. Saturday was ok. Sunday was different. I woke up around 4am with a massive borderline migraine. I took my migraine pills and hoped it would be gone in time for church. Just as I thought I’d have to skip church, my headache started to wane. After church, I broke down crying with a friend. She sat there and listened to me for two straight hours- nothing but me pouring my heart out, fears, anxieties, frustrations, everything. I’m so grateful for her and her willingness to listen.

The rest of the day I was in the most massive haze. I wandered around a mall in a stupor. I have no idea what was going on. For the first time I found it hard to be in crowds. I’ve never had an issue with that before. I viewed about every other person as a possible threat to me. I don’t know why. I was so out of it. I went to write here multiple times and I couldn’t even compose my thoughts correctly. I didn’t have the energy to try to make my brain work. ??

Last night came and left with very little sleep. Part of it was my brain- it was chaos. It felt like a bomb was continually exploding in my head. So many different things running through my mind, yet nothing made sense. Pure chaos.

The other part of it was my little pup. He was pretty sick last night. I wound up running him outside 6 times because of diarrhea. I gave him meds, snuggled him, and all I can do is hope he feels better soon. I feel so helpless with him. 😣

I had a nightmare last night, but can’t remember it. I don’t know how I had a chance to dream because I only slept for two hours. I didn’t think that was enough time to enter REM sleep. The other night I had a weird nightmare. I was a hostage with a lot of other people who were taken hostage as well. We were inside of an empty multi-story building and they had separated us into small groups- except I had been kept alone. I remember being crouched down on the floor and staring at several bright red maple leaves on the floor. Each leaf had three lines cut into it, all lined up next to each other. (I have no idea what that’s all about) And then there was something about a parade inside the building with the other hostages. I can’t remember that clearly anymore.

I don’t know what the hostage dream means. It could relate to earlier trauma, but I think it might relate more to being locked up. The strong feelings I had in my dream were the same overwhelming emotions I experienced while in the hospital. Maybe me being crouched down on the floor in my dream is the same as when I would retreat to my bed and curl up and cry. I’m not sure.

I hate that.

I hate that time.

Nov. 3 will forever live as a horrible, horrible day.

I see myself on that day as one little square piece of thin toilet paper. All the trauma, abuse, rape, abortion, deception and betrayal…it has all worn me so thin. As thin and fragile as one piece of toilet paper. Getting locked up was like someone violently throwing a huge bucket of water on me. I just disintegrated. So quickly.

I don’t see how people get through stuff like this. I really don’t. This doesn’t get better. It doesn’t get easier. People are mean. People are not understanding. I don’t know what else to say.

There’s no coming back from disintegration.

Published November 26, 2017 by Chloe Madison

Stop for a minute and think. Imagine your life with no one. Imagine not having your spouse, your children. There are no family members living close by. No brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, or uncles anywhere close. Seriously…stop and try to imagine this for your life. Years and years and years pass by…and you’re all alone. Every day. Every night. Every weekend. Can you even imagine this for your life?

This is mine. And it’s ok except for the fact that I’ve recently lost a few friendships. But this is why those friendships are so vital to my life. IT’S ALL I HAVE. Yes, you can say I have a relationship with God. But for living, breathing human beings…friendships are all I have. And I surely don’t have that many of them. I’m super shy so making new friends is near impossible and I have such a difficult time trusting people. I was just ruminating with a friend over how every single one of my relationships (boyfriends) was someone who was very outgoing. And when I was young I realized those were the only guys bold enough to strike up a conversation with someone as shy as myself.

Anyway, the point is that I’ve been racking my brain over what I can do to salvage my friendships and not sabotage them anymore. I need them. And those people all deserve better too. It’s not just for me. I want to be a better person and a better friend. That’s what made me start researching how PTSD affects relationships. It’s something I’ll be working on and I can only pray that my friends will be gracious and patient with me as I flounder my way through this. I’ve been so distressed over this one issue lately. I’ll probably continue to write about this because I’ve been tormented over the loss of these friends and I very much fear losing any more. I’m terrified of it actually. They’re all I have in this world.


The last picture I put up on my Facebook is so disturbing to me. My sister-in-law took a picture of me holding my nephew, but it was right after I had two intense breakdowns. I’d cried for hours at this point. I was so out of it. My eyes are vacant and hollow. My nose is red from crying. My face is so downtrodden with sadness. I actually hate myself in that picture, but the baby is so precious that I decided to put it up. People commented on how that’s a moment to cherish…smh. No one knows. No one understands. I feel so disconnected.


Nightmares have increased exponentially since I got out. They’re just about every other night now. And what used to be rare (continuing a dream after waking up from it and going back to sleep) is now commonplace. Gah…why does it have to be the nightmares that continue? I’m pretty good at analyzing my dreams and figuring out what my brain was trying to process. Lately, many of the nightmares have been from being locked up against my will. I was terrified and still am terrified that it can happen again at any moment.

There have been some weird nightmares though that I can’t quite figure out what they’re from. One is of me getting shot. I can’t remember the whole dream- only a sliver of it. I’m in a crowd of people and someone open fires into the crowd. A man is shot next to me and he falls on top of me, burying my face. He’s dead and is laying face up on top of my upper chest and face. I almost feel suffocated because I can’t breathe. But then I realize the shooter is still shooting so I freeze instead of trying to free myself. The shooter goes quiet. He’s taken the entire crowd down. He decides to open fire one last time on everyone laying on the floor- just to make sure everyone’s dead. This is when I get shot in the stomach. I feel the burn and sting of the bullet and my body contracts a little as the bullet enters. I wake up a moment after that. I’d go back to sleep and dream it again. I have no idea where this particular nightmare is coming from or what my brain might be trying to process. But like all my nightmares, I wake up with my heart beating out of my chest, drenched in sweat, and I can’t catch my breath.

Then there’s the creepy cult nightmare. There’s a cult that’s taken over this little town I live in and they dictate everything…right down to the food you eat. For some reason, I was suspicious about their food and didn’t want to eat it. So I didn’t. I knew the penalty was death. They would try to coerce you into eating and if you refused, they’d chase you down and kill you. So after various groups of people tried to coerce me to eat their food, it was decided that I wasn’t compliant and I’d have to be killed. I’d run and try to hide…but literally every person in the town is after me. No one is safe. I’d spend a good part of the dream running and hiding…I’d wake up just as someone is about to tackle me. Then I’d fall asleep again and re-dream the not eating part and the getting chased down part over and over.

This dream I can link to several things though. First and most depressing…is my church. I kind of equate the cult to my church and how I don’t feel wanted there or welcome there anymore. I’m afraid that’s why in the dream I’m not wanted…instead, they want to kill me. The other part is from getting locked up. I was so physically ill from being re-traumatized in there that I couldn’t eat, I fought back puking constantly, and had diarrhea nonstop. But I knew they were watching and noting every time someone didn’t eat. I was so terrified they’d hold it against me, that I put something in my mouth whenever they looked (this is also why I tried to hold in my vomit). When they weren’t looking, I gave the rest of the food away. I wasn’t trying to break rules on purpose…I was just so damned sick to my stomach. It was unreal. Anyway, I think that’s where the food part comes from…and the rules about “you must eat our food”…this is just like in the hospital. Then there’s the “no one is safe” part. Huh. I think that’s part of my PTSD and then some. I’ve never felt that any one human being on this earth is entirely safe. Never. I remember several months back trying to get myself to trust people again and picking out the most benign, harmless, most Christ-like individuals- and then questioning myself on if I fully trusted them or not. And if not, why? Never…I was never able to convince myself that any person was safe. There’s always a danger. There’s always the potential for harm. That’s just life. And now it seems even more dangerous to me- I’ve been stung by the people closest to me. No one is safe. Not a soul.


Tonight I was driving back from somewhere. It took a few hours. I thought over and over again of different ways I could die. And then I started thinking, why is that considered bad? Why is that considered a failure? I’m not convinced that God wants me here on this earth. He surely doesn’t need me. I’m no good to anyone. But why is dying considered so bad?? Why does some person get to say that it’s not ok? Isn’t that between God and I? And like I said, I’m not so sure he wants me here. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t actually. He wouldn’t have made my life like this.

Everything has been so much worse since I got out. I can sit here and say how I want to be a better person…and I do…but things are not good. Everything is so much worse. I am doing so much worse. I feel so much more alone than I did before. I don’t see how this will get any better. But for now, I’m here. I’m open to help. I want to get better. I just don’t see it ever happening.

Published November 18, 2017 by Chloe Madison

My heart is so, so hopelessly sad.

My chest literally hurts.

I told my therapist about just how often I think of not being here. From here on out, I’m going to be fully honest and I’m not going to downplay my thoughts or feelings with her. And hopefully, in exchange, I’ll never be locked up again. I can always go stay with someone or someone can stay with me. That’s my hope anyway. I can’t guarantee that.

I’m not so sure I have people to do that. Every single person who told me they’d be by my side has left. I’m gifted at making people leave. It’s not what I want- obviously. But I feel so… ugh. I give up.

The other night I had my first nightmare about being locked up. It was weird because in my dream, the place was better than in reality. In my dream there were tiny jacuzzis that fit only two people at a time. And this is where you met with your doctor. Smh…I know…weird. But in my dream, I was terrified. Just like in reality. I woke up drenched in sweat and with my heart beating out of my chest. It sucked. In my dream, I acted the way I did in real life. I was so scared and cautious of everyone…I even moved slower because I was so unsure of everything happening.

I am here alone.



It doesn’t matter what I do.

It doesn’t matter what I say to who.

(I had to edit this part out…it wasn’t fair or right for me to say.)

Period. End of story.

And what can you do?

This is why my heart hurts so badly. I can’t tell myself I’m worth living, I can’t try to convince myself that I can matter in this life if everything consistently points to the contrary.

(Edited out)