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I went to a retreat with my church this weekend. I was so looking forward to going and making new friends with women from this church that I have just began to attend. I just began to attend there three or four months ago. I am not a ‘church hopper’. I plan to spend the rest of my life at this church, for the next twenty or thirty years or so I have left on this earth. I have been scouting churches since we moved to this new area two and a half years ago, and I think I have found it at this church.

I have been, in just this past year, starting to come out of the closet where relationship with other people is concerned. People have been a very difficult subject for me (see this post) and, from what I can see, I still have a very long way to go. The first day was great but, by the second day, I started getting paranoid scared. I began to feel a whole lot of ‘less than’ the other women.

For one thing, I still smoke cigarettes, something that any ‘self-respecting’ Christian would never do. I think I was the only one there who smoked. I hid my smoking from everyone, but I still knew in my heart that this was a ‘bad’ thing for me to be doing. Maybe some of you might be thinking “Take it one addiction at a time” and currently I am working on not eating junk food. I have not eaten any junk food in over fifty days now, which is a huge accomplishment for me.

I was in total PTSD Flash-back mode. When I was young and around a group of kids, I was always being told to “Go home!”. I was rejected and abandoned. So I went home to where I was also hated and rejected by everyone. To be rejected and abandoned can really call out the PTSD… in spades.

The paranoia grew worse and worse until I could not look anyone in the eye. I began to put my head down… again… and, once again, my eyes started to feel like they were being pushed back into my brain. Does anyone relate to the eye-thing? I found out once that this eye problem is really the pupils closing very tightly when a person is trying to withdraw. It is very uncomfortable.

I did take my spiritual mentor with me however, and, although I didn’t come clean with her about it, she still helped keep me grounded… thank you God! Without her there I know I would have imploded and, totally humiliated, be carted away in an ambulance.

But I managed to make it through to the end. It was  truly a long weekend… seemed to last forever.

Oh well…. ‘burn and learn’ as I always say. And I think I have learned my lesson here. I am definitely not well enough yet to spend a whole weekend around people… even if they are Christians. We will see about next year though. Who knows, maybe I will have made some women friends by then and so have more courage to be honest with them as I might just take another stab at the retreat business.

I may be as crazy as a bed bug, but I am sure tenacious.

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