So I was at Mass this afternoon. I play the flute (and rarely sing) in my church’s contemporary choir. The gospel reading was about The Prodigal Son. Deacon Dave gave the sermon. His whole thing was about forgiveness (or at least that’s where I think he was going with it). He started out talking about how many of us have been hurt in life. And then he goes into giving various statistics about sexual assault, child abuse and domestic violence.
Now, I’ve been really sensitive lately. It doesn’t take much to trigger me. And his list of stats sent me over the edge. As he started listing things, I started to panic. After about a minute of this, I knew I couldn’t sit there and listen to anymore. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t stop the waves of memories.
So I walked out. At least our choir is situated near the door. Unfortunately, the way things are set up (we have sort of a “U” shaped formation where I sit in the middle of the entire thing), I had to walk around the guitar players to get to the door.
I walked out of the church and into the cold. I didn’t really have any idea of where I was going. I wasn’t aware of too much. I wasn’t completely dissociated, but pretty tootin’ close to it. When I got my bearings, I was on the other side of the parking lot, sitting in the Children’s garden. We have this small garden that has these small brass trees. Each leaf on the tree is for a child of the parish who has died.
Given everything that happened when I was a kid, it doesn’t surprise me that I ended up in that garden. A part of me died way back when.
So after I managed to calm myself down, I went to the bathroom because I couldn’t face going back in the church. I warmed up some and gathered my courage back up.
When I got back into the church they were playing/singing the offertory hymn. So I sneaked back to my seat and figured out where we were in the music. But my heart just wasn’t into it. I was still extremely anxious and was having a hard time concentrating on the notes on the page. I couldn’t wait to get out of there.
I got into the car and broke down crying. After dinner (which I had no interest in eating) I ended up hiding in the closet for an hour or so. I wrapped myself in a blanket and rocked back and forth. The closet itself isn’t deep, but it’s long, so there’s enough room.
It’s 3:00 am right now and I’m trying to avoid getting into bed. I don’t know that I can deal with it right now. But I’m getting one of my not sleeping headaches, so I know I need some sleep. Avoidance isn’t the answer… but it’s about all I can do right now.