When I was excluded from the group I had needed so badly I felt like an outcast. Not long after, when I retired from Living Room, I was told I could no longer come back as a peer, I wrote in my journal: “Now I have no group at all. I’m an outsider.” Unwanted. Left out. My first time in this church without people to meet with. I felt empty without the work that had given my life meaning.

In May the flashbacks started. The memories left me with a sunken feeling. Over and over the pain of being excluded from the group appeared, bringing deep depression. These memories, as well as others, were intense and often left me looking for ways to end it. They came back regularly for a couple of years. Throughout that time I never stopped wondering why. What did I do?

It hurt to realize I didn’t have the supports I once had – those friends with whom I had at one time been close. Those friends who had given me so much love. They had, for the most part, withdrawn. Here again, I didn’t understand why.

I didn’t sense compassion coming from the church. This was especially true in one case. As far as I know, little effort was made to understand what I was going through. No effort made to learn why I had become the way I was.  The person I used to be, only a few years ago, seemed forgotten and no one tried to find her again.


There was a bright spot. Two friends remained – both leaders of the church. Even after I had left the church they made themselves available for those many times I needed to pour out my pain. I don’t know what I would have done without them. I thank God for them.