I’ve said it again. Again, I have noted that I am struggling. I hear my voice saying it, over and over in TC meetings. Struggling to understand protocol, struggling emotionally, struggling to stay in the room; ironically, struggling to speak.
There is no script for this, no defined role, or part to play. I must not be the academic, even though my mind is thinking more quickly than it does in classes or conferences. At the same time, I am fighting to maintain focus on what others are saying, whilst reeling with all that I combed through at the case conference last week. I am drowning in a sea of self-loathing, and panic, because I am not sure I can do this. At the weekend, I slept, but now I can’t. I am exhausted.
I want to speak, but I can’t find the space to speak. I don’t want to speak out of turn. I am terrified of doing the wrong thing, getting on the wrong side of someone. Ruining things before they have even begun. I’m frightened I will be asked to leave.
But also scared of what I will say when I do speak. Right from before the start, from my parents meeting at church, in their teens and twenties, all that I know, and really don’t want to know, about that relationship. The endless fights between them over my (lack of) church attendance, and my own, adult, journey of faith that began with a desperate attempt aged 14 to arbitrate the rowing: There – you have one child who does, and one who doesn’t go to church, now. That’s before even considering the last few years. My feelings around church are messy and horrid – and unattractive. I feel bad, bad, bad that I will likely have to share that.
I am struggling to see how this will work. How I will contain this much emotion and agitation, between and around, and even in, T.C. I cannot contain it. I want to cry and cry and cry, but I can’t. I sit and rock. But I don’t cry. Bonum est confidere in Jesus Christ. The Taize chant for our church services during Lent. I am reminded of two years ago, when I talked with a brother, at a loss to fathom how God views mental health.
God sees the struggle, he said. God sees the struggle. God knows I am in TC and knows the work I will do, and those to whom it has been entrusted. I must trust them, too, in locus Christi; let them work with me. Brave making mistakes, in order to learn. Hold faith that God wants my healing. That it will be worth the struggle.