For the most part, I have better days in these present times. The anxiety is not something that haunts me day in and day out. The panic attacks are twice monthly, if that. I’m not exhausted ALL OF THE TIME from anxiety, I’m just exhausted MOST OF THE TIME because… you know… life stuffs. 😉
But there is this new bedfellow that makes life hard… I believe the correct term is depression.
It’s possible that he has always been there. Hidden beneath the layers of anxiety and hiding out behind the panic attacks. And why wouldn’t he? That shit’s crazy.
Sometimes my heart hurts. Like literally. It hurts. It feels like something is pressing on it and making it hard to beat. It’s not fun.
That’s partly due to leaky gut syndrome.
But I also think it’s partially due to a broken heart.
I met with a long ago friend a week prior. We were very best friends for a couple of years after spending a summer at a camp together. Time and wounds distanced us and we met up for the first time in well over two years. As we sat reminiscing about old times and how things used to be for us, the pain of how Christians had hurt us both held us in a sacred space for a moment in time. We all need someone that weeps when we weep.
Ever since I was sexually harassed and then told in an exit interview by my executive director that he hoped I would find forgiveness for what I had done and said during the incident I’ve suffered a lot of hidden pain and trauma.
It made sense… sexual harassment. It was scarring and wounding, but it at least made sense to me. Especially from whom it came. And I was able to fairly quickly forgive and move on.
But the words, “I hope you can forgiveness from God for what you said and did during the incident.” I don’t think anything has wounded me deeper in my entire life.
Since that moment I have read countless stories from women and men who have suffered similar and worse wounds when hoping to find protection and love after sexual harassment or rape. And every single damn time I read those stories I weep, I get terrifyingly angry, and my heart breaks a little bit more when I had no idea that such continual pain was possible.
That one incident put me on a course that changed every single thing about my life. I had to go to therapy for those words, I began a process of becoming less evangelical. I started to question my faith. I started carrying around words like
Terrible Human Being
And well. When you are supposed to find forgiveness from God for an incident that already caused you immense pain in every way… you start thinking maybe Christianity just isn’t… Good. And maybe the men in charge just shouldn’t be. And maybe you start to think that no one and no where is safe. And you just get more scared, more anxious, you have more panic attacks and a year and a half later… all of the pain is still there.
You’ve learned how to deal with it, manage it, but as a close friend recently said, “It just never goes away, does it?”
No, it doesn’t.
I walk into a church, I have panic attacks. I read articles that shame women who have been raped by CHRISTIAN MEN AND WOMEN and I get violently sick and sad. I hear and read countless stories of sexual abuse in the church and a CONTINUAL CHOICE BY THOSE IN CHARGE TO NOT PUT IN PLACE PROPER PROCEDURES FOR HOW TO HANDLE THINGS and I get furious.
I know, I know, I KNOW. That I can’t blame others for the state of my relationship with God. But I do think a large reason why I’m so afraid of God, of walking into a church building, of Christian men is because of what happened. Because of what was said. Because of what WASN’T DONE.
And I KNOW I’m not blameless in life. I know I have made poor choices. I know I am messed up in ways I don’t even understand. But I don’t get why as a people we continually cast stones at INNOCENT VICTIMS OF RAPE AND SEXUAL ABUSE when JESUS cast no stone at a known adulterer.
Christianity broke my heart. And I suffer from leaky gut syndrome. It’s hard to tell the two apart when I’m in pain. But at this point, it doesn’t even matter.