As many of you know, I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). And the way that I like to describe my experience with this disorder is that while I can manage it, there are times where anything can make my anxiety skyrocket. And sometimes for no apparent reason.
And here recently, I’ve been dealing with one of these episodes where my anxiety is incredibly present. And this makes it more difficult than usual to carry out my daily activities like a “normal” human would.
And to be completely honest with you guys, at the worst moments, it feels like there’s no hope for my anxiety ever getting better. These times feel like there’s no possible way out.
But here in the past couple of weeks, I’ve been finding hope for it. Hope that one day, I will be better. One day, I won’t have to worry about my anxiety.
Back on Friday, May 10, 2019, I asked my parish priest if he would celebrate the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick with me. He’d done this with me a couple of times in the past: once before I was diagnosed with GAD and didn’t know what was going on, and a second time when the anxiety was really bad. And I had asked him back on the 10th because I had been stuck in an anxiety flare-up for 1 1/2 to 2 weeks.
He graciously obliged, and we went into the nave of the church building to administer the sacrament. And with this celebration of the sacrament, I wanted it to be a way in which God could start helping me with the anxiety. And I think this made this time special because I understood and wanted the purpose of the sacrament: to provide physical and/or spiritual healing from the illness.
This was the first of the two times in the past couple of weeks where hope began to shine through. The second time was this past Sunday at Mass.
The second reading from Sunday’s Mass came from Revelation chapter 21. And overall, the message was about the new Jerusalem and how it would be so much different (and better) than the way earth is now. But the particular verse that reached me was the following:
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away.”Rev. 21:4, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops daily readings for May 19, 2019
This reminds me of something one of my favorite priests told me once in Spiritual Direction: that my anxiety will not follow me to Heaven. And this brings me hope because I know that I will not have to deal with this disorder forever. And this verse from Sunday’s readings proves that the pain I feel and the tears I shed because of this illness will not last forever. They’re only temporary. That God can and will heal me, in time.
And as a brief note, I find it cool that I’m finding these pieces of hope in my Church. I’m not finding it in secular society or culture. I’m finding it in the Church I believe Jesus founded 2,000 years ago. You may believe differently than I do, but this makes me fall in love even more with the Catholic Church. And it proves to me that I’m in the right place. That the Catholic Church is my home.