Sunday, June 5, 2016

I Began Reverting to the Faith a Decade Ago This Month

Mom found an old box with receipts from a decade ago. This wouldn't seem like a big deal -- we all hold onto receipts for a long time -- but it's quite significant for me because the box contains all the doctors and hospital bills I racked up in 2006-2007. The bulk of it was from the summer of 2006 when they couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. I still remember it vividly...

Shortly after I turned 21 -- and around the time the 2006 World Cup (in Germany) started -- I began getting seriously sick. I would faint while taking showers. I felt like I couldn't breathe. I was constantly nauseous. I had little appetite. I felt like I was going to have heart attacks randomly. I would "black out" (literally see black wash over my eyes) at random times. Blood work always came back fine. I would occasionally be slightly dehydrated but nothing to worry about it. "If she continues like this, she's not going to make it too long," I heard someone tell my parents. 

In those days, no one thought it was severe anxiety and PTSD. In fact, PTSD wasn't diagnosed until several years later. The doctors didn't even consider severe anxiety as a possible diagnosis. No one thought it was because the friends I had were mentally and emotionally abusing me. I didn't realize it myself. After a stint in the hospital (I spent 3 out of 5 days in a single week in and out of the hospital), the girls kept calling and harassing me. My parents were livid to say the least. It wasn't until my mother ordered that my social media accounts (in those days: Facebook and Myspace) be shut down and I cut off everyone (EVERYONE) from my life that things began to improve... but it took months. 

Spoiler alert: if you've read the first Will and Lina novel, this was one of the few things that I personally experienced that I wrote into the book for one of the characters. Candace was based on several of the girls that caused problems for me.

In the meantime, in June 2006, I began praying to St. Jude, the patron of difficult cases. My mom mentioned him. I was up for trying anything at that point. I wasn't remotely religious despite being a "cradle Catholic." I wanted to get well. I wanted them to figure out what was going on with me. I bargained (newbie mistake), if I got better, I'd stay in Los Angeles for school rather than leave for England like it was planned. Though I'd set my heart on Bath Spa University (yes, that's the actual name of it), I would stay put. Bargaining due to being poorly catechized, folks. Whatever. I began to see results. I started getting better. Not only that, my curiosity was intrigued. "You mean prayer works?" The seeds were planted. It was slow but by late September 2006 I'd fully embraced my faith and "officially" returned.

There some things from a decade ago that I want to regain. I feel like I've become overly cautious and serious. I wasn't always like this. I used to be described as "bubbly" and was just slightly more sociable (though always more introverted than extroverted) but I lost that after what I went through with the girls. This is something I've been working on in recent months and will continue to work on. These girls no longer have any power over me and I want to get back those aspects of myself that I miss. Still, I wouldn't trade it for what I've learned. In a weird way, I'm grateful for everything that happened because it's led me to where I am. I like the person I've become. 

I'm happy to say that my reversion back to the faith began 10 years ago this week(ish); definitely this month. I thank God for the journey, even though it's been an incredibly difficult 10 years with my health issues, the death of my father, and all the other stuff that's happened. If my mom hadn't mentioned St. Jude to me one of those nights we were in the E.R. and I hadn't began praying, I'm fairly positive I wouldn't have been here, blogging about this.

Anyway, that's it for now. I just wanted to share this. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go back to destroying all those ugly memories of the girls who tormented me and the hospital stays I had a decade ago. ;)

As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D

1 comment:

Christopher Schaefer said...

That's one of the distinctions of Catholicism (vs. "once saved, always saved" Evangelical Protestantism): a Catholic is ALWAYS a "revert". We slip up, go to confession, try again. Repeat.The length of each cycle varies considerably for each individual, of course; but you have plenty of company among fellow practicing Catholics.