I took a huge step last week and shared much of my past/story with my Pastor, via email. I thought it was going to kill me, truth be told. The day of not hearing back, which I knew there would be time for a reply, was pure mental torture.
BUT, when I got a response from my Pastor, talk about relief! I knew but now I KNOW there is no rejection for the mess that I am. What he had to say seemed to make a difference, as then the following Sunday, my thoughts were relatively silent. No battle, no tears, no tissues needed.
I was so relieved that church was peaceful for me, I guess I was surprised when subsequently my thoughts turned up and went on overdrive.
I don’t mention some of my intrusive thoughts to anyone, because they misunderstand them and think that I actually think them, and I worry they will call 911 or my therapist/psychiatrist and I will get involuntarily committed. Since Sunday’s service, it’s not just been that I’m a horrible human being and I hate me (those are the expected thoughts and not mine) but that I should die or I should hurt myself.
The thing is, I know I don’t feel that way. I don’t want to die or harm myself.
I keep that to myself because unless someone truly understands, they will think I’m a suicide risk. I’m not.
Satan or OCD?
The question I’ve been wondering though is, why? My intrusive thoughts seem to get worse with anxiety or emotional situations. But my anxiety was relieved by a large amount and I was very happy about how church was seemingly returning to be “safe” for me, like it had been in the past.
Is this simply because I am mentally ill and my illness apparently has no rhyme or reason? Or is Satan attacking me because I am making personal progress and he doesn’t want me to?
I emailed my Pastor about meeting him in person to discuss morality issues. He said we can meet next week (a week from today). I saw his response in the afternoon at work and that amped up my thoughts, for some reason they are centered around harming myself.
My swimming fish technique seems much more effective with those thoughts, since they are very recognizable as false, than with the others I have, since I tend to agree with them (thoughts happen often enough, they become ingrained/believable).
This fact though, leads me to think that Satan does not want me to keep contacting my Pastor. He does not want me to keep making the progress I am making, which, considering everything I’ve been through and what I’ve been forcing myself to do, is decent progress.
I can now sit outside the church without nearly as much panic. If there’s no one there, the panic doesn’t come, which is huge! I can bring things into the church to drop off, like donations, as well, which is also big progress.
I’ve recently emailed a woman from the church who is running a journaling class, to see about joining in. That actually was so extremely hard for me, like scaling a mountain actually. I had missed a zoom meeting of the class in February because of an emergency meeting with my son’s therapist that was last minute on that night. Because of the situation surrounding it (my son is autistic and was saying things in school like wanting to kill himself and harm others, completely unaware of the reality of those statements), I completely forgot about the class. Combine that with my short term memory issues and that’s a lovely little recipe. But, I contacted her, and apologized for not attending or letting her know, and asked about attending the future classes, which are now in person.
Yes, in person. And I’m crazy as a loon. I’m telling myself it won’t come to ‘class day’ and I won’t arrive, panic, and leave. If I tell myself that, it will be true, right?
My conclusion is that Satan is utilizing the tools given to him. I have these mental illnesses that perhaps are from genetics/chemical imbalances/trauma (he caused), so of course he is going to take advantage of them!
My thoughts are that all I can do is pray and keep making progress. I’m trying not to pray too much. Don’t erroneously think, there is no such thing as too much prayer. As someone who suffers from Religious OCD/Scrupulosity, I can tell you, there is indeed such a thing. I am trying very hard to find balance and not go overboard.
So I’ll pray…moderately. (And give in to my compulsion, but shhh, it’s ok).