Through a series of peculiar events, I am serving as a delegate to the 2010 LCMS Convention in Houston, Texas.  You may follow my general thoughts about it here.  One event today kind of served as a trigger for me that I thought would be worth reflection upon here.

Since my illness, I have been less comfortable around large crowds, loud noises, and kind of close in, packed situations.  Tonight I had opportunity to go to an awesome baseball game where the Cardinals whooped the Astros 8-0.  (GO CARDS!)  The game was good.  It was fun.  I love baseball and so much about it and the culture which surrounds it.  But at the end of the game when we were getting up to leave, the people around us looked at us funny.  I couldn’t figure out why no one was getting up.  The game was over, and the home team got trounced.  Don’t these people ever leave?

It turns out that this Friday they were have a fireworks display after the game.

Now those of you who have been reading this for a while might remember that fireworks are one of those triggers for me.  You can read more about it here.  So when I heard that they were having fireworks, it was as if 15000 people all sorta crowded in around me asking, “So, Todd, are you going to stay?”  I kinda freaked out, and left rather abruptly.

I’m fine.  Just so we’re clear.

This little mini-event reminded me of how certain things can serve as triggers.  Sights, sounds, smells.  There are some things that I haven’t been able to really enjoy since I was on disability, because I associate them with my illness.  Golf and woodworking both come to mind.

I think all of us have these events or things that trigger certain memories or feelings.  What are yours?  How do you address them?  Do they derail you, or is it just a passing feeling that improves over time?

A part of what helps me in these situations is being able to externalize them.  If I can recognize what is going on, that allows me to maintain a modicum of control and perspective on the whole matter.  For those of you who are into E.Q. type stuff, this would fall under self-awareness.  This process has allowed me to move forward through such events and not allow them to paralyze me.

What think ye?  Is this common or a peculiar Peperkornism?




5 thoughts on “Reminders”

  1. Todd, not peculiar at all. At a seminar on addictions, a presenter spoke to us about how difficult it was for the recovering addict after treatment. They are out of rehab, back to their old life trying to live a new life. But their thoughts go: "When I walk down this street, when I feel this way, smell these things, etc, I usually go see my dealer/buy liquor/whatever."

    I have my triggers. Unfortunately (near impossible to avoid this one as a pastor) one of them is cohabitation – and instantly all bad disscussions (especially a heated elders meeting) come to mind. And, like you, Doxology has helped me recognize the emotions going on and handle it much better than otherwise.

  2. I would think being able to attend a baseball game let alone a convention is a big sign of progress. And no it isn't peculiar to your own situation. I think that's pretty universal to we who suffer from anxiety disorder. I also get through many situations by externalizing and examining my thoughts and identifying the trigger. I would love to be able to be like "normal" people and just be and not have to think about it.

  3. I really freaked out recently when I had to take my daughter to her dance recital dress rehearsal. She dances three different kinds of dance, so helping get all her costumes, shoes, and hair items together, plus making her up beforehand, was very stressful to me. Getting to the rehearsal and finding out she didn’t have two pairs of her shoes pushed me over. That just means I will have to plan things out earlier, plus get my spouse to help *before* I get freaked out and want to start screaming. Sigh.

  4. I don't think it's peculiar. I think a lot of us deal with this. What I can't figure out is how to make other people see. When you externalize the problem, talk yourself through it, you realize that there are some things you can't handle. But if it's petty or silly in the eyes of others (or even in your own eyes) they won't understand. They'll try to talk you out of it.

    It's especially bad when you know you're letting someone else down, and they don't understand why you can't do this little thing, and you know that you should but simply cannot.

  5. Wow! I found this site after a google search for LCMS Convention led me to your blog. I've been a Lutheran dealing with depression for most of my life. I've just gotten back on antidepressants and am getting counseling through Kaiser. It's nice to find a place with a Lutheran perspective on depression.

    I think it's great that you are doing well at the convention. I have problems with crowds and loud noises as well. The business end of things in the church is also hard for me. I'm glad you are there and participating.

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