Ok, I’m not sure when this fear began but, it started probably AT LEAST 3 years ago. I am terrified of confession. I only go once a year and that’s during the Easter season. But even going once a year is next to impossible for me. I have been scrupulous for the past 8 years. My scruples (not my fear of confession) has subsided A LOT but, for many years it was UNBEARABLE. I was talking to my sister about my fear (she is the only one who understands me) and I described it to her as “destroying myself” every time I go to confession. I’m not just talking about getting rid of the sinful part of me, but I feel like I destroy myself as a person because the fear is so great that it completely takes me over and I’m like a shadow. I also feel like I am a completely different person when I go. This unbelievable fear takes hold and does not let go until the ordeal is over and even then I have no peace. Usually I am a very, very rational person but, when I go to confession I don’t know myself anymore.
I don’t know if this is making any sense but, I think I can put a name to this problem. It’s called Dissociation. There are different types of it. Here’s a link if you want a better description of what dissociation is
For me, it seems like it only happens when I am having some sort of trauma. It is usually described as if you are "detatched from your body."I know and believe that confession is supposed to help us, however, with my state of affairs, it serves only to damage me. I don’t want to live like this anymore, in fear. Around this time of year I begin to grow uneasy, when everybody else is excited about the end of the semester (I’m in college) I start having nightmares about confession. I just had one last night. This goes far beyond a simple fear or embarassment.
Oh, and I should probably just mention that last year, after confession and communion, I felt the most horrid depression. But it wasn't just depression, it was like a feeling of despair. Intellectually I knew that I had no reason to despair. I was not suicidal (becasue I have my Faith) but it was just this unbearable feeling. It was probably an attack so that I would not go to confession or communion again but still, I can't live like this anymore!!! I still have every intention of persevereing and going to the sacraments at least once a year but, I don't want to do it out of fear. I just want to be a whole Catholic and enjoy the sacraments of confession and communion more than just once a year.
I’m not exactly sure what kind of answer I am looking for, I guess what I really want to know is, do you think that seeing a counselor to straighten out my warped thinking would help? BTW I grew up in a family that was very “Trad.” I have gotten the wrong ideas about God, the Blessed Virgin, sin and a lot of other things concerning religion. Thanks in advance and God Bless you during this Easter season!