First, please accept my apology for the length of this post as well as its less than clear purpose. I honestly don’t know what I am asking or why. If I don’t know, I can’t expect anyone else to know, but I just needed to get these thoughts out of my head. I’m not even sure where this should be posted. Forgive my ignorance.
I need to share a little background on me and my Christian journey. What follows is very personal, and even though I could close this site and never come back, it is both terrifying yet liberating to think of what I am about to share.
I have a debilitating case of Social Anxiety Disorder. It has ruined my life. It has prevented me from enjoying the most simple things in life - things often taken for granted. Though I am 25, I cannot legally drive, I have a 10th grade education, and I often struggle even with shopping. However, a change in my life has helped me to slowly improve. More on this in a moment.
About 4 years ago I “became” a Christian - a protestant. No denomination in particular, though I was a big supporter in the “it’s a relationship, not a religion” view. I began to sincerely study theology and church history. This studying is what eventually turned my world upside down.
I became disillusioned with my faith due to the amount of scripture twisting and history distorting required to fit my liberal protestant view. So, I left my faith for many months. It wasn’t until recently that I discovered Rome, and my faith was restored.
I literally cried, not something I’m known to do, when I discovered the One True Church. I belonged. I believed. I DO believe with every fiber of my being. I am home.
I have been reading scripture daily as well as well as praying the Rosary and reading the Catechism. These things have brought forth a brand new me. I have done things that my SAD would previously not allow. Besides being more sociable and outgoing in general, I visited my grandmother for the first time in her nursing home. I now plan to visit often, and not only her but others who are there. While I’m sure this doesn’t seem so amazing to those who have no experience with my disorder, it’s not a small step but a massive leap. I couldn’t be more hopeful about my future.
I am also grateful for discovering the Rosary. Where my prayer life was once less than a minute a day, it has now grown to at least 30 minutes of sincere prayer. Just having it in my pocket is a reminder that greatly reduces my anxiety when it flairs up. This has lead me to make and donate Rosaries to various organizations. I have also chosen a couple of charities to support - something I never did before. I hope that one day I will be able to help in a more hands on way.
I do not say these things in an effort to obtain compliments or praise of any kind. I am just trying to illustrate the incredible change that has occurred in my life.
However, there is one problem. I live about 10 minutes from town (very small town). This is the land of the Protestants. The closest Catholic church is a little over 20miles. I know the importance of the Sacraments and I DESPERATELY want to partake, but my SAD will not allow it at this moment.
They will start RCIA this September. I hope that my SAD continues to improve to point where I will be able to attend. I look forward to this day with far greater joy than any child who has eagerly waited to unwrap that big present under the Christmas tree.
It is my hope that I will soon join the church. That I will gain a new life. One that can be put to use to help others. These things, for the first time in my life, seem possible. My only fear is that I die and am damned before these things occur. I don’t want to be separated from God now that I know truly who he is and what had done for me!
But I am hopeful. Please pray for me.