I don’t really understand why going to church causes me to feel panicky and anxious. It doesn’t always — just lots of the time. Seems to come in waves, I guess.

I don’t know if it’s just that every LDS chapel on earth is too hot, or if it’s that long sleeves feel too binding, or if it’s that the seats are uncomfortable, or if it’s the inner voice yelling “GET OUT!” —

Did I mention there’s this inner voice yelling for me to get out? Yeah. I find myself gritting my teeth to keep from echoing it with “I GOTTA GET OUTTA HERE!” — like that lady in the movie Airplane!

I left early today, as I generally do when the Voice and the teeth-grinding and the jaw-clenching and the sweats start to build, and once I’m home I calm down quickly.

I’m not afraid of socializing at these times, and there’s nothing spiritual or anti-spiritual going on — though I should add it’s difficult to feel the Spirit when your mind is frenzied.  It basically comes down to this: The Church is true, and sometimes I can’t bear to go.

And what’s with pews, anyway? Why must sacrament meeting be UNCOMFORTABLE?  I believe we’re probably supposed to focus on spiritual things rather than physical, but how do you focus on the spiritual when your body is clamoring for your attention? 

I have a prescription I’m supposed to take when I get panicky, but I haven’t found it helps much.

Sitting still has really never been my forté, I realize. In college I could just get up and leave when the attacks began; in the MTC it was torture. TORTURE. It doesn’t “get better” when you force yourself through it. It just builds until you finally get to escape.  I told my MTC teacher once that if a person could make it through the MTC, they could do anything. But later I learned that plenty of missionaries liked the MTC. 

To this day the MTC ranks as the second-worst time of my life, ranking above when Mom died, and when Dad died two year later.

I don’t mind holding to the rod — I just feel sometimes like I’m pressing forward through a brushfire. “Hey, let’s wait for that fire to go out before we move ahead, eh? That tree up there ain’t going anywhere.”


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