Friday, April 1, 2011

November 1998

*Written in 2005, this is an account of the the events that led to The Crew being seen and recognized. Diagnosis wouldn't be official for several months.*

I've managed to keep the burn on my arm hidden for several days. It gets a little bigger each day. I knew how upset Charlie would be when I told him so I waited until we were already arguing. It was another of those fights that ended in him leaving the room and me hysterically sobbing on the floor. Still no tears. I'm driving Charlie away and I can't seem to stop it. How can he stand it? In all this time, nothing has changed.

I still can't eat. I'm losing weight hand over fist and am ashamed for being so glad. I have Xanax for the panic but it barely takes the edge off. The kids are all walking on eggshells but also somehow running wild. It takes very little for Mommy to go running to her room. On bad days, I go about my daily chores and responsibilities even as I rock and flap my hands. This must be what it's like to be autistic. Everything is a threat. Any stimulus is too much and the rocking helps to keep me from flying apart. Nothing seems real anymore and I'm watching my life unfold as if on screen.

I'm meeting with the group from church again for prayer. I want it to help but know it won't. No amount of prayer has ever helped. All that happens is things get crazy and I'm told it's my fault. I can't go to the doctor and wind up drugged out of my mind or locked up. I don't see any other choices. Besides, I like these people. I want to believe.

Sitting in the sanctuary near the front, I'm in one chair and Pastor R, Pat and Mona are sitting in a semi-circle in front of me. We talk awhile and I show them the history I wrote for them. I tell them about my birth mother and some of the things that happened when Krys was a toddler. When John was in the hospital I told him I felt like there was a mark on my kid's lives. He'd given me a funny look. Now he gets it.

They've been told about my past experience with prayer for deliverance. They know it's been tried and the destructive words and actions of those who didn't get the results they expected... but we believe and hope our understanding is enough to make it different.

Please don't let it be like it was before.

We start to pray.

I don't know what they want to happen but I don't think it will. No sudden tears or sloppy catharsis. No spontaneous joy or uplifting emotional moments... just terror. I want to scream and run. No. I will sit quietly and try. There's nothing else to do.

I'm shaking from the effort to remain in place... to keep my hands still and not twitch, shudder or rock but the panic is so strong. I can't keep still. It's like trying to contain a volcano. It's too much.

Pastor moves his chair closer and touches my hand. I jerk away. I can stay still. I have to. Just do what I'm expected to do. I understand about laying on of hands. Why am I so afraid? He touches my hand again.


I'm not in the chair anymore. All the way on the other side of the room, on the floor against the wall with knees pulled up to my face and hands over my ears. I can hear Pat begin to cry in empathy. nonononononono go away. i can't hear you nononononono I'm terrified. The Pastor is there, standing close, his hand outstretched.

"You're safe here. No one will hurt you. Please let me show you it's safe. Take my hand. We're here to help."

nonononono you'll hurt me and yell and tell me i'm bad. nononono i don't want to be here. go away. don't touch me.

He stands there with his hand held out, patiently waiting. 

Slowly, haltingly my hand reached out to his. His hand is warm, gentle and strong. It's hard to stand. My body wants to stay curled there on the floor. He puts one arm around my shoulder and holds my hand as he walks around the perimeter of the room, describing it and assuring me it's safe. I won't open my eyes. I'm too frightened. He sends Mona to lock the doors. I can hear Pat, still in her chair, praying. Pastor R says no one can come in and hurt me. We're halfway around the front of the room. He's talking about God and prayer and protection from harm.

"BULLSHIT!" My arm slams into the wall again and again. "You're a liar! You can't protect me!" He tried to stop me slamming into the wall and I turn to fight him. Punching, kicking, wrestling. We're on the floor. He's praying. He thinks he's dealing with a demon.

"You DICK! You think you can pray me away? Fuck you and your God. You have no clue what you're dealing with. Bring it on, asshole!" I lunge at him, hands around his throat. I'll kill him if I can.

I'm pinned and can't move. Calm down. Wait for him to let go. He'll get tired.

He finally relaxes and I pull away, slouching around the room and swearing at him, teasing him. He doesn't know anything. He wants a demon, I'll give him one. Growling and snarling, spitting and swearing. I'm playing with him and enjoying it. I hate him. He'll figure out soon enough he can't do anything to stop me and he'll lay the blame. He'll do it. I'll make him do it now. He's still quoting scripture and telling me what to do. I laugh at him.

"Guess what? Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, was crucified, died on the cross and on the third day He rose again. Jesus is Lord. Is that what you wanted to hear? Making me say it won't get rid of me you stupid asshole and if you call me a demon again I'll rip off your fucking head and shove it down your fucking neck!"

No. No more. I have to make it stop.

I'm shaking again. I'm so sorry. Oh no. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry." I'm in the middle of the room. My arm hurts. I'm tired and scared. All I want to do is go home and sleep. I'm embarrassed and ashamed. 

They aren't angry.

I sit down in the chair again. We talk and they tell me what happened. Almost three hours have passed. Yes, this has happened before. I'm so sorry. I tell them about the burn. We pray again but nothing else happens this time. I'm so sorry.

Pastor R moves close again. "I want you to look at me. Look me in the eye."

I can't. I'm too ashamed. I manage to meet his eyes for just a second.

"You don't have anything to be sorry about. You haven't done anything wrong. We'll help you through this and no one will turn their back on you this time."

Such nice words. I wish I could believe them.