An open letter to the man who had me removed from the church:
A few years ago, I stood on a stage and shared my story. I talked openly about the steps I took that led me to being removed from your church. I talked about hallucinations at 19 years old and moving to the valley on the anniversary of said hallucinations. There was obsessive emailing and constant texting but mostly, there was a girl in the midst of a schizophrenic episode scared of things like lamps and shadows. I needed the church to love me enough to fight the demons with me, to walk in the kind of love that Christ does for us every day.
But that didn’t happen. Instead, I was given a swift kick out the door. Scared, alone and isolated, my mental health degraded further. While you were slandering my name to anyone who would listen, I fought off the urge to attempt suicide. Until the day I couldn’t anymore.
You see, I thought that if I truly loved the church, I would protect the church from me by taking my own life.
I’ve been in recovery three years now. I’m stable, healthy. I have friends. My therapist just discharged me from his care, saying I don’t need him anymore. In the first two years, I thought about you often. I thought about meeting you in California at that camp we both worked at. I thought about how I cried every time I heard you call someone a retard, because I had been called that my whole life. I thought about running into one day and finally telling you that I had a right to exist. There are still days I am haunted by the way you treated me, your negligence.
But it’s been three years now. I’m okay. Part of living in recovery means letting go of anything that doesn’t serve you anymore. Life is too precious to waste it being angry with you.
So this is me letting this go.
Maybe one day you won’t be such a coward and you’ll reach out to apologize. But you probably won’t.
At least one of us has courage. After all, I used your real name.