faith

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Published June 1, 2018 by Chloe Madison

“The unknown distance to the great beyond

Stares back at my grieving frame”

My God, I have been struck by massive headaches lately. Some have been full on migraines, others just close to migraines. Today, yesterday, the day before, the day before that, it goes on and on.

I even left the house to run an errand, thinking if I got up and moving, my headache would subside. It got so much worse, that I had to turn around and go back home. Ridiculous.

I don’t know what’s causing this- perhaps the stress of moving? Other than that and dealing with the young girl who was raped and continuing to deal with my own stupid stuff, that’s the only stress I have at the moment.

I’m in for a big life change with this move. It will turn my budget upside down and a lot of things are going to change. But I’m so ready for change- any kind of change. If I could literally go to the moon, I would. It wouldn’t be far enough away from this place. So as stressful as the move might be, I’m actually really looking forward to it. It’s a ton more money and a lot less pretty and a lot smaller, but I’m ok with that. I truly feel it’s in a safe place and I really, really need that.

I dreamed last night that my rapist who lives here was at my front door. I freaked out and ran around the house, closing blinds and locking things down and cowering down in an anxiety ridden mess. It was terrible…but honestly, this dream wasn’t nearly as bad as others. I think it shows how vulnerable I feel- that I don’t feel safe and that I feel anyone can do me harm and intrude upon where I live. Everyone has a right- a basic human right- to feel safe where they live.

I often wonder how long this crap will last. I am so sick of this. I remember when I was healed and thought I could handle anything life threw at me with God, my Father, on my side. And now…

Now…

Ugh. I just don’t know anymore. I don’t trust him and tears stream down my face as I write this. I feel so guilty about saying that. But it’s the truth of where I am.

I struggle with this every day, practically all day and all night long. I talk to God and pray…but I doubt him and his intentions. I doubt his goodness. I doubt his trustworthiness. And I doubt my own ability to carry on.

My church is doing this thing where they want to “hear people’s stories” and for a second, I thought it would be a great place for me to share. But they’re doing it so others can learn and be inspired by peoples’ successes and how God has moved in their lives. So that cuts me out. That isn’t the place for me to share. I’m not a success and I’m struggling so much with God that no one would be “inspired.” And that’s ok. I know I’m in a tough place with God. I hope he doesn’t give up on me like everyone else has. 😓

My church and my job are the only things not about to change in my life. Actually, my job just did change. A full-time position is called a 1.0. So if you’re 0.8 or less, you work part time. Since I was hired there, I worked a 1.2, which is a full time position and then some. For the last 2 years, I worked a 1.4. That’s practically unheard of. I think I was only able to do it because I have no family, no friends, and no social life here. I needed that 1.4 with this move. It was such good extra money and I needed it so badly to pay down debt. I was told a few weeks ago that I would be down to a 1.2 again. Argh!!! I really need that money. This is part of what will make my budget super tight in the future. So I guess even my job is changing…I will have less work. And honestly, I don’t think that’s a good thing. Being able to busy myself with my job has been important to keep my mind occupied.

Ok. So I guess my church will be the only thing not changing for me. And this is good because my church is amaze balls. Even though I shy away from talking to people there, I absolutely love the people there. And I have a phenomenal pastor who is so gifted at preaching- it’s unreal.

I just don’t know how long I can hang in with this shit swirling in my head. I’m trying to focus on others- on being an encouragement to other people. I’ve been talking a lot with the young girl whose uncle molested and raped her and with her friend, who was raped a few weeks ago. I’m checking in on both of them and encouraging both of them and letting them know I’m cheerleading for them and believe in them. I’ve got their back. I know I would have loved to hear that. So I’m trying to focus on being a positive force in peoples’ lives…but even then, I feel like a failure.

I think often – every single day- of my friends who abandoned me. I wonder what it was about me that they didn’t like. Was I too needy? Not nice enough? Not caring or loving or supportive enough? It makes me so, so scared to lose more friends. I mean, I barely have any to begin with. I wish people could be more understanding. Why throw me away? Why not talk to me? It makes me feel like trash that is discarded. And I already felt that way from the men in my life who used me and cast me aside.

I feel…and I worry…that I’m too needy. I need people. I need support. And everyone has quit on me. Every. Single. Person. It’s not their fault…it’s mine. And this is part of what makes me so angry at God. And here come the tears again. Will I be this much of a mess forever? I feel like this is not my fault. I didn’t ask for my father to sexually abuse me. I didn’t ask to get raped and molested by others. I didn’t ask for my mother and grandmother to cover up everything and protect my abuser. I didn’t ask for a fiancé who degraded me and cheated on me. It’s not my fault that I’m so fucked up. But this is what tires people and chases them away. I guess I can see that people can only deal with so much- they have their own lives and their own issues. And this is why I stand here alone. I’ve always said that and it’s because it’s true. No one is strong enough to stand by your side forever.

So it brings me right back to the same question- how long will this fucking shit last?? I can’t take this forever. I’m hanging in by a thread, carrying on as if I were normal…and I can barely do it. I absolutely cannot take this for much longer. I can’t be this fucked up forever. There is no way in hell I can do this much longer. I’ve got to get better. I cannot go through the rest of life like this. I just can’t. I don’t have the strength or the energy.

“I feel my faded mind begin to roam”

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Published April 23, 2018 by Chloe Madison

Couldn’t sleep last night. Went to church, but I couldn’t tell you right now what the sermon was about. My mind is whirling with the precarious situation at work. Please, please pray for that situation to work out as well as possible.

I was shocked today- had a little tiny bit of a start on my monthly visitor. Haven’t had it since I was in the hospital- that’s six months now! I’m still super confused as to why it stopped and now, why it’s starting again. I always thought it was a side effect of the medicine, but with the recent increase in dosage, it would make more sense if it continued in ceasing, no? Part of me thinks it’s just a side effect, part of me worries about what the doc thought (that I was premenopausal), part of me thinks it stopped from the massive and overwhelming stress of being hospitalized, part of me worries there’s something else wrong. That’s why the med doc tried to get me to see the vajayjay doctor. I just can’t though. I can’t handle any other stressor at this point. As much as I don’t want to deal with it, it gave me a little glimmer of hope of possibly having children in the future. I don’t see how that’s even remotely possible…but I can always dream. Right? Worse case scenario- I get disappointed. Been there, done that.

I’m watching this TV show called “Long Lost Family” that reunites people with their birth parents who had given them up for adoption. It reminds me of the time I set out to find out who my real grandfather was. I’d always been told my dad was adopted. My grandmother who betrayed me and my uncle was their real mother, but my dad’s father wasn’t in the picture. I found the family, but I was too late- my real grandfather had already passed away. And then I think of my own children who I aborted.

My God, I had such a hard time even typing that word. I will never forgive myself for never giving them a chance. The first time it wasn’t my choice- I wanted to keep my baby. My mom refused to let me. It was devastating. But I was a teenager and didn’t know how to fight back with my own mother. For that matter, I still don’t know how to stand up for myself and fight for what’s right. The second time, I was raped. And alone. And he was of a different race. And I thought my baby would look like him and I’d be looking into my rapist’s face every time I looked at my child. And I had this irrational fear he’d want visitation rights so I thought I’d have to see him all the time. And I questioned myself- what do I tell my child about their father? Do I lie and make something up? Do I tell the truth and tell them their father is a rapist?

And look at me. My father was a sexual predator and look how fucked up I am. I would never want to do that to a child. Never. Never. Never. It’s not fair. What if they’re like my uncle and myself and they never recover from it? What if they can’t handle it?

I’m watching these people on this show reuniting with their grown children and I realize I should have given my children that opportunity. But I didn’t. I’ve done a lot of fucked up things in this lifetime, but that stands as the worst. I can never forgive myself for that. And I understand God doesn’t want to either.

I’m certain that’s why he won’t give me children now. He already gave me my chance with children. I did the worst possible thing you can do- and God doesn’t trust me now. I wouldn’t trust me either.

I see these people in the show cry and meet up and get through things. They’re forgiving and generous and kind. And I wonder what’s wrong with me- why can’t I be as healthy? It makes me see that there’s something wrong with me- that I can’t accept my dad was a sexual predator, that I can’t move on from that, that I’m alone and will probably be forever because I just cannot trust a man and know there are so few men who are actually safe, that I’m not meant to have children or a family…and tears fill my eyes and stream down my face as I write this.

This is my life.

And it’s not worth living. I’ve fucked up beyond repair, beyond the reach of God’s forgiveness and grace- not that he can’t, but he won’t. He’s mad and has every right to be.

I’ve messed up in life, I’ve messed up in work- and that was the only thing I had where I felt needed and used by God. The only thing. It gave me a tiny sense of purpose. And I’ve messed it all up.

Published April 22, 2018 by Chloe Madison

Had a little melt down today. 😦

A friend had asked me to go to a get together at her house which is nearly two hours away. I didn’t feel up to it and had decided I wasn’t going to go- I just wanted to stay in bed all day and try to decompress.

This work thing has been mounting for two weeks now and I’m incredibly stressed over it. But my friend kept bugging me to come so I called her to tell her that I simply didn’t feel up for mingling and chit chatting with people I didn’t know. And in seconds of beginning to tell her what was stressing me out so much at work, I broke down crying. Hard. Like, crying super hard- I couldn’t even breathe right. I felt so terrible dumping on her. But she convinced me that staying home alone when I was upset wasn’t the best decision to make.

So I drove all the way down there and truthfully, beer is the only thing that made me slightly social. Her husband and I got deep for a moment after a few beers. They were the ones who drove two hours to visit me in the hospital and he came in his wheelchair. He told me how much he loved me and that if it were anyone else who was in the hospital, he wouldn’t have come! Haha! But he stressed over and over how much they love me and that’s why they came and that they want me to be happy. I thanked him repeatedly for coming and told him how much it means to me- because it really does mean a lot. When you know you don’t matter in this world and someone tells you that you do- it at least gives you pause to stop and think you might be wrong…even if only for a second.

I cherish their friendship and am so thankful they were there for me in my weakest moments. I wish we lived closer so I could see them more often. But I’m still glad I have them.

I’m going to try to have a better day tomorrow. Please pray for my work situation- I’m terrified of losing my job or even having my boss think less of me. I pray that neither will happen.

Published March 29, 2018 by Chloe Madison

I’ve tried so hard not to write here. I’m super scared to be myself and say what I think and feel.

First the good- the last two weeks have been good overall. Nothing is perfect, but I feel God is providing in small ways. I had a friend come visit for 4 days and stay with me. Having constant companionship was awesome. It did me good and it kept me active. I don’t know that I was great company to be with, but I tried. I had a few bad moments- like the time I was hiking in the snow with him- where I flashbacked to one of the nights I wanted to **** ** **** ***. And I slept great the first two nights he was here…not so great the last two. But I feel him being here was God helping to occupy my time and not leave me alone. And any time I can see or feel God working or loving me is a great thing.

Then he left. And I decided to go out camping by myself. For the first time ever, it didn’t work. I came home the same day I left- late at night. I don’t quite know what’s wrong with me. I felt hollow out there. Hollow and empty….VERY hollow and empty and lost and wandering. As a matter of fact, that’s all I did was wander. And I had urges to fight and felt I had no strength out there where I was nothing but a shell. There was one super cool time- I met a group of wild donkeys (I didn’t know there was such a thing) and it was quite a magical meeting. They were so gentle and curious….I talked with them and pet them for hours. 🙂 I’d like to think we bonded.

But for the rest of the time, I felt hollow. Disturbingly hollow. It was terrible. Loneliness and emptiness nearly drowned me as I wandered on dry land. Part of the depressing thing was that I had been a bit hopeful that I was getting better- and now I suddenly felt back to square one. I don’t want to dismiss the good though because I think it’s important to focus on and I think it does show a positive increase in mood.

As I drove back home, terrible and familiar thoughts barraged my mind. Later, I had nightmares. One was about me feeling left out…like, really feeling abandoned and left out by people. In my dream, my best friend was mad at me and decided to move to Nepal without telling me. I was devastated. Then, I found out that two other families were very suddenly moving to Nepal as well. One was my ex-fiancé’s sister and her family. I don’t know why that would bother me so much. But it has. I woke from the dream feeling terribly lonely and left behind and left out.

I spent the day in bed, not even showering- just eating and eating. I’m getting fat and that’s not helping me feel any better about myself. I only got out of bed to walk my dog and that was it.

I tried to read a book recommended to me- one that I don’t have the energy to fight to read. I got no closer than eyeballing it on the shelf.

I’m trying not to give up. I tried to be positive, even through feeling shitty. I checked in on a few friends to see how they were doing.

When I drove back, I wanted to disappear so badly. Like, DISAPPEAR from the earth. God, I just don’t belong here. I never have. This world is not meant for people like me.

Published March 18, 2018 by Chloe Madison

Oph. Nightmares have been unreal. And unrelenting. Last night I had several. The most notable was when a friend killed me. The killer’s face in my dream actually kept switching back and forth between two different people, both friends of mine. At one point, my friend/ the killer was threatening my life. I retorted with the fact that he should go ahead- he’d be doing me a favor. Smh.

I’m not quite sure why the last 2 days have been so difficult. My sleep has been so interrupted and when I do sleep, it’s nothing but nightmares. I’ve been overly emotional these last few days as well. When I was hiking this weekend, I kept breaking down crying. Hiking and crying doesn’t mix. I’m not gonna lie. I thought of ***** and ***** quite a bit out there.

These last two weeks have actually been GOOD. I was beginning to get hopeful that I was on my way out of this dark mire. But now I’m not so sure. I keep wanting to stay away from people and keep them away from me. I just want to be left alone and yet I absolutely despise it. I actually hate, hate, hate being alone. It’s just a safe place to recoil to.

Up on the mountain, I was begging God to be with me. He wasn’t. I asked out loud over and over throughout the hours, “God, are you there?” I tried to humor myself by replying to my own question with a sound effect of lightning striking. I thought I was funny. But that didn’t change the fact that I was alone up there.

I don’t know why I cried so much. Both today- during church again- and all day yesterday.

The only thing I can think of is that I’m wrestling with how I view people- and men, in particular.

I know my abusers have been men. Throughout my life, I tried to be normal and be in relationships, but my two most serious relationships ended because I was being cheated on. So I haven’t had the best men in my life- obviously including my own father. And I even think of my grandfather who was a verbally abusive a-hole.

I’ve tried to counteract this and combat it by looking to good men in my life. I think of a teacher I had in high school who I fantasized would marry my mom and be my dad. He was gay and and I chuckle, knowing even back then that my little fantasy would never happen. But I wonder if him being gay is what made him feel so safe. He would never hurt me. Beyond that, he was a gentle, sweet old man. And I love that about him. I was crushed when I ran into him a decade later and he didn’t remember me.

I fondly remember my youth pastors and how awesome they were. They were great examples of Christian men and they were fun and loving and just plain awesome. Then, after my teenage years, I ran into a void of good men. I stopped going to church and didn’t exactly surround myself with the best people. I was involved in the music/ rock scene and saw every single guy use women nonstop for sex. It was unreal. There was even one band I know who have special backstage passes made for girls called “Chicken Head” passes. It’s a lewd reference to girls giving oral sex. I mean, how much more degrading can you get?! And I’d see guys laugh about that.

Then, I started coming back to church. And I came into contact with my former pastor. He’s an amazing man. I love the guy to pieces. He told me he thinks of me as one of his daughters and I loved that. I miss him a lot. He’s the one who said my dad was a monster. But he was a pillar of strength to me and a source of encouragement through long, daily emails for years and years. Both he and his wife are phenomenal people.

And then I moved out of state. It took me several years to find a good church. And almost immediately, I found a guy at that church who was a great, trustworthy person. He’s my 911 friend. I love how he interacts with people and how he cares for and loves his wife and family- and everyone else, for that matter. He’s the most recent person I’ve tried to use as someone to look to as a good example of what a good, Christian man should be like.

My 911 friend kept pushing me to stay with another couple. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I didn’t trust the guy. There were stories of him being violent towards his wife when he used to use drugs and I could never fully let that go. It’s disturbing and highly alarming to me if any person has the potential to hurt another when not in self defense. That’s not ok. It never will be. I kept trying to tell myself that this guy is no longer a drug user, that it’s in his past, it’s not who he is anymore. But I still felt threatened. And now, in the last two weeks, I’ve seen him relapse. It’s not his relapse that’s so disturbing. It’s his mistreatment of his wife while he was actually sober. He treated her like dirt and continues to- even when he’s not high. THAT is what I’m struggling with. Of course, I’m worried for his relapse and don’t want him going down that road. But I can’t believe- I’m actually shocked- that his verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse of his wife is coming when he’s sober. I don’t know what to make of that. Part of me feels justified in how I never fully trusted him and this IS EXACTLY why. But part of me feels guilty…that I should be forgiving. He’s not remorseful though. He doesn’t see anything wrong with how he mistreats and “punishes” his wife. And that makes me question why she stays with him. If it were me, I’d dip out in a second. But hey, maybe that’s why I’m not in a relationship. I absolutely cannot handle a man being cruel or abusive in any way, shape, or form. I just can’t do it.

And we…women…shouldn’t have to! Why do women put up with this? Because they love the guy? Because they’re stuck in a marriage and they don’t want to dishonor God by divorcing? Smh. This pisses me off.

And frankly, seeing all this unravel with this guy and his wife has made me lose HUGE amounts of hope in humanity and in men, in general.

And I think that’s part of what’s bothering me so much. It was him in my dream who was killing me. Him and someone else.

And then I have compassion. And I see his demons and how they’re fighting to take over his life. And I know we have the same demons. We’ve both been sexually abused, among other things. I see him relapse and I see that there’s no way out for people like us. There’s no hope for us. We claw and crawl our way up out of the pit, only to be drug right back down again in an instant. This is weighing so heavily on me. We are not in control. Satan is. You can’t fight that. There’s no winning. If God wanted us to get away, he would have done that already. But he hasn’t.

Published March 2, 2018 by Chloe Madison

EMDR session #666

I haven’t done EMDR in so long that I forgot how much it disorients me. I almost got into multiple car accidents trying to drive home. I was so out of it- it was unreal. I found myself swerving into other lanes and not being aware of it.

This writing will probably be a mess and I don’t care. I just don’t have the energy to make it all flow well. I just want to get it out.

I’ve been having multiple nightmares about being hospitalized that I haven’t had the energy to write about yet. I told my therapist though and she suggested we do EMDR for that. I had to identify my most overwhelming negative emotion. Shame, of course.

Shame- and with that, feeling unloved, not worthy of being loved, not cared for or worthy of it, alone, hated. The opposite of shame is being honorable. I broke into tears because she asked me to see myself as honorable- and I can’t even picture myself as honorable. It’s not possible. I wept constantly through this whole thing. She asked where I felt this- and I feel it in my chest- it’s super heavy and achy and it hurts. It’s literally painful.

The first thing I envisioned was being locked up. At first, I was just looking around, taking in my surroundings – essentially through memories of the experience. I was in disbelief that it was all even happening, I felt locked in- no way out, I was feeling threatened from my crazy roommate. We had 3 roommates (4 people to a room), but I was terrified of one because I actually thought she could and would hurt me.

The next part, I was looking out the window at the snow- trying to see how I could get out, trying to calm myself with snow and watching the storm roll in. All of this happens in fast forward motion. From the window, it went to me seeing the docs and putting up a facade to convince them I was ok. Then, I went to walking in circles in there because there was no where to go. I remembered talking to my friend on the phone and I remember how it calmed me. I also looked out window at the homeless people and was jealous of how they’re free.

The next thing is a red balloon- like a hot air balloon- comes over to the 7th floor where I am and I can escape. I jump in to rise up and get away. They’re chasing from down on the street level, so I don’t know where to land the balloon. In Colorado? No- not safe. In Wyoming? Not far enough away. I’m speeding away in the balloon in fast forward motion- In the middle of Oregon? No, I don’t know this place- keep going. I wind up on Cannon Beach, where I’ve been before and a place I want to return to. The skies bare dark, like it’s stormy and dusk. I’m on the dark sand for just a second watching the skies and waves and I turn and my friend who called 911 is directly behind me. I feel like I’ve been caught and I panic inside. He’s going to turn me in and send me back to the hospital- so I’m not safe. So I make him disappear immediately and make him dissolve into the sand. I realize if he can find me, I’m not safe- I haven’t gone far enough away so I get back in ballon, and go over ocean- but as I go and go, there’s no where to land. So I go to Alaska. Is that far enough away?? I see memories again. I see moose and bears and a swift running creek with freezing water. I examine the creek rocks, huge and rounded by the rushing of the water. I see the cabin on my vision board- with a deck and Albe my dog laying on it, sunning himself. (I had a vision board where I sketched one of my goals or dreams in life. I drew a simple cabin on land in Alaska with a large wooden deck where I lounged in lounge chairs with my then-fiancée and with my dog, Albe.)

At this point, multiple things happen- first, I hear it said that this dream will never come true. Albe is dead. As much as that kills me. He was by my side for nearly 17 years. So that vision will never happen. Something says don’t you trust God to make your dreams come true? I look up and I see God – as the sun, up in the sky and peeking out over the mountains. But I also know this dream won’t happen- I’m alone. I never envisioned this alone. I envisioned this with my ex fiancée and Albe. Both are gone.

I look to God and try to concentrate on the positive. I feel the warmth of God- as he’s the sun. I’m soaking up his warmth. I feel my face even becoming sunburned. But while I feel the warmth- I still feel the deep hurting hole of shame in my chest.

I feel isolated and full of shame. I’m laying on the lounge chair alone- no dog and no spouse- and a black hole develops in my chest, quickly expands both outward and downward and drops out of my body, stretching down into the earth.

It slowly begins to fill with blue water- but like an underground water table- the levels slowly rise, then fall, then rise again. This takes time and for some reason, I’m confused and scared as this happens. (I think this is God healing me)

As water is filling deep down in the hole- whiteness (like snow) begins to expand and cover the ground. It spreads across the entire ground so all I can see is whiteness. It envelops me and even covers God in the sky and wraps around me. It’s like a loose soft toilet paper, wrapping itself around me in fast forward motion and I’m spinning as it does. My face is covered even. I’m standing now.

I try to remain positive so I look up to where God is to try to keep my mind on him. I face him through the toilet paper. I feel water on my toes and am surprised at how quick the healing water that was deep down in the hole in the earth actually reached my body. But it makes me panic again. I look down, thinking for a second that I could drown. I look back to God, knowing this is his water and it’s good. Then the black hole develops in my chest again. It shoots out of my back and dips down into the earth in a sharp deep point. Something tells me something like- “See?? You can’t get better! You won’t ever heal!” You’re covered with God and yet your black hole of shame will ALWAYS be here.

I can’t remember quite how it ended. It’s like I was a tiny bit close to getting healed and then the blackness enveloped me again. Like it’s something I can never escape. I’m the very end, my therapist was telling me her thoughts- and I’m sorry to say that I don’t know what she said. I saw 666 when she was talking. I know that sounds ridiculous- cheesy, even. But I couldn’t see or hear anything but that for a minute or two.

When I was driving erratically home, I found myself behind a truck who’s license plate started with 666. Not even joking. Super odd.

So that was EMDR. Then last night- it was emotional. I watched the show “Hollywood Medium” and it made me think of my dad and how I always wanted and still want an apology from him. I want him to admit wrong doing or show remorse in the very least. I’ll never get that- but I do sometimes daydream of a medium giving me that message.

I watched the one with Kristin Cavallari and how she wanted her brother who died to come through. I remember following that closely in the news because he died in a way that’s very close to one of the ways I envision it. He died in the desert in Utah. He went missing for several weeks and all they knew is he had been driving through Utah. They had alluded to possible mental illness, but no one (publicly anyway) knew for sure. After a few weeks, he was found dead. He had an accident and was found off in a ditch where we wandered. What his family never knew- was if it was purely accidental or suicide? The medium said that he felt the presence of a mental illness that went back and forth (the family confirmed he was bipolar). Then he said he felt the influence of drugs and alcohol and how that made things worse- almost impossible for healing. Then, he medium said it was an accident, he felt like he was wandering and had planned to find a nearby river and follow it to civilization. But he hit his head and never made it. The family confirmed there was a river near where he crashed and they were relieved (and heart-broken) to heat he had actually tried to survive. All this made me envision all the past plans for the desert- being out there alone, dying, no one ever finding you. It just weighed heavily on me. I watched that episode twice in a row last night.

And I don’t even remember why I started talking about it. Anyway. I’m so exhausted. My head hurts and it feels like I’m in a cloud. I want to go to sleep.

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.