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Struggles with sharing


Dazed and Confused
Forgive me if this is a rambling post I'm not good at being succinct. I never know what's important information and what's simply extraneous detail. I also find it difficult to stay on track because every point I make feels like it needs deeper explanation, clarification and justification. Sort of like building a house, every part needs a supporting beam. <-- Perfect example.

I've been slowly abandoning my atheism, materialism and anti-theism over the last couple of years. I started out just trying to find a personal spirituality to help with my depression and anxiety but its grown into something more. I identify as a Christian although a very idiosyncratic one and I freak out when I'm made to feel like that's the end of my journey and I'm locked in for life. The freedom to roam, discover and explore is really important to me.

That said, my wife has also become a Christian and the family is taking baby steps into the world of church. I tried going but it went really badly from an Autistic perspective. The whole experience was very traumatizing in terms of noise, people, chat. etc I had a bit of a breakdown as a result and I'm only just recovering.

My fears and anxieties are too many to list but chief among them would be the fear that (as an impressionable and easily intimidated person) I get swept along, as does my family, only to become painfully aware of my mistake down the road when its difficult, messy and and painful to fix things. Church, like other ideological space, feels like somewhere that strong personalities win out. It scares me a lot.

The title of this thread 'Struggling with sharing' has a double meaning. I am both scared of sharing my worries with strangers because of past abuses of trust but also, I struggle to share my "faith" if you want to call it that, because it feels like placing the most delicate parts of myself in others hands.

Can anyone relate?
Oh my goodness yes. Definitely feels like something I've seen a bunch before.

I'm not sure I have time to reply but all my love to your whole family. This is remarkably similar to stuff I have lived with. Mental breakdowns for awhile there were part & parcel of the church-going experience.

Used to go into sensory overload every Sunday. I'm Catholic and without going into the ins & outs of that, there is a Mass in English and sometimes one in Latin. The English one, called the "Novus Ordo" or the "Ordinary Form" is of course more popular and more modern. I used to get what I called a "Novus Ordo headache" which was sensory overload & stress from the bright lights, crowds, piano, and noise of a regular Sunday mass. Instead I preferred to go to mass in Latin, in an ancient form dating back to the Council of Trent in 1570.

Religion can be very painful and in America they say real men don't cry. Religion says that's a big fib right there.

You know, I had to figure out some ways to make church do-able. If the pastor is loud, sit in the back. In fact, frequently I pick standing room at the back or a corner of a pew--in the old-fashioned Gothic churches, behind a pillar works. God doesn't need you staring at the altar. God knows & loves you as you are, pillar or no pillar. In one old, overcrowded Victorian church I sat on the choir loft stairs.

Blue light glasses are a God-send and earplugs can be the same.

The hard bit as well is personalities-you bring this up & do well to do so. You don't have to join everything at the church. Contributing to the community doesn't mean joining every bible study group or every social gathering. This is a community of faith, and fellowship sometimes overshadows that. Faith without works, says James, is dead. But prayer is a good work. Praying for the community works. Maybe if you have to do something you can help support those in the parish who have lost a loved one. Oftentimes they just need a good listener. Aspies are frequently very empathetic--we can be emotional support humans for the neurotypical population.

I think you would fit in well in a Catholic commuinity. That sounds weird, but as an autistic guy I think Catholicism is a good place. It's structured and rule-bound, but the rules are liberating, strangely. Also, there is a strong, strong element of contemplative spirituality here. The Carmelite monks & nuns were originally very non-conformist. We have a long tradition of letting people find their own path. Staunch conservatives such as Hilaire Belloc were able to agree with borderline Socialists such as Dorothy Day, and both Day and Belloc are hailed as great thinkers--because they loved their fellow man.

Also, Catholicism can emphasize quiet. We have a devotion of "Adoration" which is going into churches to worship Christ. You don't have to say anything. Just be there, is what I was told. Sometimes I also go to mass at the college where it's mostly monks, priests, and nuns. Very quiet, and they rise at about daybreak. A boon for those with sensory difficulties, and probably why I see so many Catholic clergy and religious sporting autistic traits.

There are (as you know with all religious groups) some genuinely awful people in religion. Trust me, the Catholic Church carries more than its share of baggage--I'm an armchair historian & I turn up garbage all the time about the Church of Rome. But we're not here to worship evil popes or corrupt bishops--we worship in spite of them.

Anyway let me know how you're doing (if you feel like it.) Christianity is wild for Aspies. Good stuff but wild. Going slow sounds great; it's a commitment and too special to rush into blindly.
Churches can be wonderful places. I find personal physical contact to be so overwhelming that it stops anxiety from the reaction to the enviornment.

Just some hand holding, or someone you trust(like your spouse) leaning slightly against you

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