by Sarah Novosel
Anxiety keeps me from what I used to love. I used to love being close to God. Church used to bring me a sense of peace and belonging. But I don’t find joy in my faith anymore. I lost five people who were very close to me in the span of five years. Now, all I feel while in a church is anxiety. I feel like I go numb. I cry without being able to prevent the tears. I freeze up at the reminder of anything that is remotely similar to what I had heard at any of the funerals; I find myself haunted by the scent of incense and sounds of liturgical music and bombarded with memories that I try to block from my mind. I tried to go to an Easter Sunday Mass. I thought that I had prepared myself enough for it, but the result was the same as the other attempts that I have made: an anxiety attack that lasts for the rest of the day.
But I still persist. My anxiety does not stop me from trying to get better and trying to grow closer to my faith. I will continue to work on the smaller things before trying to go to Mass again. I will continue to work to overcome my anxiety by going to Taizé every now and then, by participating in retreats, and by occasionally attending Daily Mass at the St. Louise de Marillac Chapel. I know that I have people around to help support and accompany me on this journey of overcoming my anxiety.