-My way of making it to church on Sunday the last few months has been by taking it easy on Saturday and Saturday night. If I do anything, it’s on Friday night, and still pretty mellow (small group of friends, games and that sort of thing.)
On doing something last Saturday night, I thought it might work. Mellow activity, started pretty early, all people I”m comfortable with, etc. By the end of the night I thought, “Hey, I’m fine! Yay!” And I probably was, mostly. Difficulty level of trying to wake up on Sunday morning was probably about a 6 or 7. The alarm didn’t help at all, and I had the “inside shaking” that didn’t seem like it would go away. Had I set three alarms in three different parts of my room (I do have three, it’s true) I may have been able to wake up and better assess the situation. I will need to reuse this tactic the next tine, but I hadn’t thought of it last night. Because….I thought I was fine.
Some unofficial ways (if I manage to wake up) I decide if I’ll be okay at church:
- able to speak without stuttering too much?
- able to speak at all?
- able to leave my room without running into a wall or door? (you have to have a sense of humor with this, or it just not fun.)
- the unknowable: when I get to church, how much noise can I take? Will I feel comfortable sitting out in the hall if I need to, and the inevitable question if I’m okay (please don’t make me answer or especially try to explain…)
So, basically, for this situation in the future, it seems like the “3 alarms” and possibly a friend calling me multiple times in the morning just might do it and get me there. Then, I could analyze the situation from there. Lots of fun. Honestly, I’m not sure how many people notice how I’m doing when I’m not doing well. The most embarrassing part for me is if I’m having trouble talking and feeling overwhelmed, and someone (or someones) seems to think that if they pester me with questions it will help pull me out of the fog, rather than what it usually does, which is pushed me farther into the fog. But at least they mean well….usually, and by that point I can tell them “wait,” walk away somewhere private and get them to leave me alone so that I can regroup.
I think it’s having the bravery to keep trying, no matter what I come up against when it comes to misunderstandings, that will truly help me move forward through this. People can sometimes say some pretty stupid things, but you know what? They don’t know what they’re talking about because they haven’t been there, or they’ve had a family member with a different situation and they’re trying to place that situation over mine in order to judge. Mental illnesses come in many varieties, people.
And next Saturday night I will set my clock radio, my cell phone, and my pig-shaped alarm clock that my kids so lovingly picked out for me. When I miss church, I feel like I miss a lot that would otherwise have helped get me through the week. Not that I don’t otherwise have ways to study the Gospel, but the ability to share and help others and learn from others? Not much like it in the world. I need it for my pride, my courage, humility, getting to know others and getting out of my comfort zone. Plus, I’m pretty sure that my kids worry when I haven’t made it to church, because they know what it means to me.