Thursday, February 27, 2014
Forgiving Those Who Caused My PTSD/Anxiety
I'm on Day 4 of the Mary Undoer of Knots novena today. After my terrible week last week (which resulted in my going to the E.R. at 1 a.m. last Wednesday), I felt like it was the perfect time to start it. Last night's prayer involved my having to forgive those who have caused my anxiety and who have hurt me. I didn't even taking into consideration by high school bullies because I hadn't thought of them in years. As luck would have it, I saw the two primary ones today (no worries; they didn't see me) and, while my anxiety kicked into high gear, I was able to say the three words I never even considered saying before: "I forgive you."
See, when I was in high school I was sort of an outcast. I did bring part of that upon myself (I was a little bratty in my younger years) but even if I had adapted myself to my group of "friends", I would've felt out of place. I just simply never fit in... but that's okay. Anyway, long story short: I developed social anxiety and had to leave regular public high school. I was enrolled in an independent study charter school (which was my favorite schooling experience to date) but even then, the bullies struck. One of them (the male; it was a young man and a young woman who were thick as thieves) came up with a fake username on AOL (yes, I'm that old; we had AIM back in the day, lol) and then tormented me online. He told me that I was a waste of space, I was a fat cow (when I was a size 00 due to the anti-anxiety medication's side effects), and that I needed to kill myself. "Do everyone a favor and kill yourself." As soon as I received the email, I printed it out and took it to the school's administration (even though I was no longer a student there). What did they do? Nothing. They did nothing. They shrugged it off and didn't bother to help me in any way. I put that behind me my senior year of high school (just as my dad was newly diagnosed with colon cancer) and I focused on my studies and my dad. I sort of forgot about it for a while because there was no contact.
Fast forward to about 11 years in the future (to today) and I finally saw him and the girl. I almost didn't recognize them but I knew it was them because of their names (which I'd forgotten until today). As soon as I saw them, I started sweating cold and shaking. My PTSD (which I now have as a double whammy due to the library incident a few weeks ago) kicked in and I started panicking... for a few seconds. I remembered the words from last night: "Before You, dearest Mother, and in the name of Your Son Jesus, my Savior, who has suffered so many offenses, having been granted forgiveness, I now forgive these persons...and myself, forever. Thank you, Mary, Undoer of Knots for undoing the knot of rancor in my heart and the knot which I now present to you. Amen."
I think it's so easy to hold onto a grudge or to a bad memory... but that holds us back. If there is one thing I learned from my spiritual director (well, in the past two months), it's that allowing yourself to be held back by these things -- not being able to forgive -- makes it easier for the Evil One to slip in and cause problems. As I reflected on these things, I said in all sincerity "I forgive you, *insert names of two bullies as well as teacher who humiliated me and young man who tried to force himself on me*. I forgive you for everything you did to me that caused me to develop anxiety." It was the most freeing thing I've done in a really long time.
Forgiveness is powerful. Literally minutes before my father died, I told him I forgave him for everything he'd done to me, whether intentional or not. I cried and he cried and I'm sure if he could've spoken (he could barely breathe at that point) things would've been better resolved. Either way, I think his death didn't hit me as hard as it did my mom because I was able to let go of it all in that moment. I am sure he needed to hear those words so that was my last gift to him on this earth.
I hope that by my allowing myself (because, like I said, it's much easier to hold a grudge or keep a victim mentality) to forgive these people, as well as others who have hurt me in the past, I can move on. I hope that one day, if I see them again, I won't feel sick to my stomach. For now I'm just grateful for the ability to forgive them. I never had the chance to even consider it before (this all happened prior to my reversion) but I do now.
Anyway, I just wanted to share this with y'all. I've been wanting to blog but was kind of stuck on what to write about so... perfect timing for all of this to happen. :)
I hope y'all have been well. If you have any prayer requests, please send them my way. :D
As always, thanks for reading and God bless. :D