Recovery from Religion.
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25-08-2012, 02:43 AM
RE: Recovery from Religion.
(14-08-2012 12:52 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  The depression and anxiety I have been prone to throughout much of my life. Just a few years ago, I started doing something I never did before...I began questioning what I had always accepted as fact from birth. I would have never ever in a million years have dreamed that I would end up an atheist. Why? Because my faith was not just a series of statements that I believed in. My faith was me. My entire identity was in Christ. Christianity was not a religion to me, it was a relationship with a real being who made me and loved me and directed every step of my life. Every major decision I ever made was done after I prayed about it first. Every problem I ever had (including depression and anxiety) I asked God to help with. Every good thing that ever happened, I thanked God for it. Every accomplishment I ever achieved was done because God gave me the power to achieve it.

There are a whole lot of things that went into my de-conversion. I won't go into that story now. Suffice it to say that after a lot of study into other areas like science and evolution instead of religion, I began a journey that lead me to this place. My mind is liberated, but my worldview, my identity, my self-esteem, my relationships with every single person I've ever cared about has completely flipped. It's not just that I no longer believe in God, it's that I feel like I am beginning my life all over again from scratch. I'm relearning who I am as a liberated thinker. I'm relearning what abilities I have because the only thing I ever learned how to do was share Jesus with other people. I have a very low level of self-esteem and confidence because I am still learning what stuff in my thinking is me and what parts of it was my prior indoctrination. My relationships with family and life-long friends has never been the same because they talk about God all the time and I do not. Nor am I willing to argue with them about it so I just totally isolate myself from everyone I've ever known. I did not really have non-Christian friends so I don't know how to make friends outside of church. Now you know why my post count is embarrassingly high. This is the only place outside of therapy where I express my thoughts.

All of these factors triggered the depression and anxiety that has always been with me during my life. But I no longer had a support system to help me. I no longer had a world view that told me everything would be okay because God loves me. I no longer had a job that gave me confidence and self esteem because I can't be a pastor anymore. I no longer can date because I feel too fucked up to try to get to know a woman and share who I am with her.

This all lead me to a very dark place of loneliness and suicidal thoughts. My depression began to run rampant, so I finally got the help I needed before I jumped off one of the tallest bridges in Washington state. That was one year and two weeks ago. I'm doing better, but I have a long way to go in finding out who the new Erxomai is.

I hope my crazy ramblings make a little sense to you. If not, feel free to ask questions.
I hope you are doing much better and never feel the need to repeat that act of desperation. I can't say it gets better or easier because you are much farther along then me when it comes to "coming out" but it has to because it sounds like you feel that it cannot get worse. Especially being an atheist I have come to appreciate my life even more, so much more because I think this is it. I struggle with am I doing enough am I spending enough time with the kids and so on. We will all get there. It will not be an easy road but I still think we can travel it and become stronger, and hopefully this is the hardest road so that the other obstacles wont seem so bad.[/font]

“The highest activity a human being can attain is learning for understanding, because to understand is to be free.”
― Baruch Spinoza
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25-08-2012, 02:50 AM
RE: Recovery from Religion.
(25-08-2012 02:31 AM)Alice Wrote:  This group is essential I think. I have also been to the Recovery from religion website but it was not as updated it seemed to me. This presents itself as a much bigger community. I can't believe in god, I have tried, and tried desperately. We didn't go to church a lot but my family is very very religious, like evangelical religious, I couldn't even listen to secular music till I was like 14. My personal issues are with death, as I see I am not the only one. I have searched for something helpful but nothing gives me comfort. I started on this journey because I didn't want my geography and family to define such a large part of my life, I wanted to be able to say that I actually chose Christianity. That is where I thought I would end up. The more I learned the more I didn't believe, and trust me I tried to convince myself but its like I can't re-indoctrinate myself. I don't want to, but yet I do, but I can't, I know too much to go back. My husband luckily is supportive in this journey. Our situation is complicated, my mother has MS and stress and anxiety give her flare ups. She told me once even if he disagreed with me she would support me in anything, except if I ever told her I was atheist or agnostic. She said she would still love me but she would be so sad and her and my dad would pray and pray and pray for me. I avoid religious discussion. I thought well I will hide it until later, but we have two children a five year old and a two year old. They are so close to my parents, we will be moving hopefully in a couple years so the distance should help, but this makes 2 more problems. Obviously our girls come first, and I refuse to make them go through what I am (I have come to realize I have no coping skills due to "letting it go to god" and so on). So its inevitable that our girls will say something about evolution or something else. My parents won't say anything to them, I don't think not mean anyway but I know then there will be a confrontation. A emotional one, I'm positive either together or separate there will be intervention type talks. My dad will straight up ask me if I'm Christian and then it will go from there, they will be heartbroken. They will think their daughter is going to hell and possibly their grandchildren. I am having the hardest time with that, I can't sacrifice my children to lies to save my parents and brother and possibly sister such heartache. I look at my girls and can't imagine if I believed they were going to hell, I just can't imagine. Then there is how to raise them, how do we balance my family with the kids bibles and stuff that I know my parents will preach to them. I don't know I am frustrated and distraught. I just feel like before everything was god, anything that happened that was god, anything bad give it to god, now there is nothing. I can't prove it so I can't believe it, and trust me I have tried. I don't know how to have peace with my death or anyone else's, its a mess I feel like this is all a mess. Sometimes I wish I could go back and never make the decision that I was going to prove Christianity was right. I didn't think I would end up here. Sorry this is so long, and this is the short version.

Sorry if I seem a bit... Cruel against religion, but it is my common belief that if your character was better while you were religious, then you have not truly grasped how wonderful it is to know the truth, or at least the truth for now.

Think of how much money, and time you have saved. Think of how much of the money you don't have to give to church, and could use it on more productive stuff.

I think I can kind of relate to you on a similar way in the coping mechanism, but the I relized. Why rely on a God, when you can put your trust, and share the burdens with the people you love.

In otherwords, replace the Deity, with Family. Embrace the fact that you have escaped, what I would consider, a fradulent istituition, that prays on the weak, and the hopeless, and gives them false things to believe in.

I think it is disgusting that people are stasified with a lie, when the reality is, we need to rely on each other, not an outside force that we can't even understand.

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25-08-2012, 03:09 AM
RE: Recovery from Religion.
(25-08-2012 02:50 AM)Atothetheist Wrote:  
(25-08-2012 02:31 AM)Alice Wrote:  This group is essential I think. I have also been to the Recovery from religion website but it was not as updated it seemed to me. This presents itself as a much bigger community. I can't believe in god, I have tried, and tried desperately. We didn't go to church a lot but my family is very very religious, like evangelical religious, I couldn't even listen to secular music till I was like 14. My personal issues are with death, as I see I am not the only one. I have searched for something helpful but nothing gives me comfort. I started on this journey because I didn't want my geography and family to define such a large part of my life, I wanted to be able to say that I actually chose Christianity. That is where I thought I would end up. The more I learned the more I didn't believe, and trust me I tried to convince myself but its like I can't re-indoctrinate myself. I don't want to, but yet I do, but I can't, I know too much to go back. My husband luckily is supportive in this journey. Our situation is complicated, my mother has MS and stress and anxiety give her flare ups. She told me once even if he disagreed with me she would support me in anything, except if I ever told her I was atheist or agnostic. She said she would still love me but she would be so sad and her and my dad would pray and pray and pray for me. I avoid religious discussion. I thought well I will hide it until later, but we have two children a five year old and a two year old. They are so close to my parents, we will be moving hopefully in a couple years so the distance should help, but this makes 2 more problems. Obviously our girls come first, and I refuse to make them go through what I am (I have come to realize I have no coping skills due to "letting it go to god" and so on). So its inevitable that our girls will say something about evolution or something else. My parents won't say anything to them, I don't think not mean anyway but I know then there will be a confrontation. A emotional one, I'm positive either together or separate there will be intervention type talks. My dad will straight up ask me if I'm Christian and then it will go from there, they will be heartbroken. They will think their daughter is going to hell and possibly their grandchildren. I am having the hardest time with that, I can't sacrifice my children to lies to save my parents and brother and possibly sister such heartache. I look at my girls and can't imagine if I believed they were going to hell, I just can't imagine. Then there is how to raise them, how do we balance my family with the kids bibles and stuff that I know my parents will preach to them. I don't know I am frustrated and distraught. I just feel like before everything was god, anything that happened that was god, anything bad give it to god, now there is nothing. I can't prove it so I can't believe it, and trust me I have tried. I don't know how to have peace with my death or anyone else's, its a mess I feel like this is all a mess. Sometimes I wish I could go back and never make the decision that I was going to prove Christianity was right. I didn't think I would end up here. Sorry this is so long, and this is the short version.

Sorry if I seem a bit... Cruel against religion, but it is my common belief that if your character was better while you were religious, then you have not truly grasped how wonderful it is to know the truth, or at least the truth for now.

Think of how much money, and time you have saved. Think of how much of the money you don't have to give to church, and could use it on more productive stuff.

I think I can kind of relate to you on a similar way in the coping mechanism, but the I relized. Why rely on a God, when you can put your trust, and share the burdens with the people you love.

In otherwords, replace the Deity, with Family. Embrace the fact that you have escaped, what I would consider, a fradulent istituition, that prays on the weak, and the hopeless, and gives them false things to believe in.

I think it is disgusting that people are stasified with a lie, when the reality is, we need to rely on each other, not an outside force that we can't even understand.

My Character is far better now, but the problems arise because of the people I love. I can't share with them, it will be part of me that even when it's revealed will not ever be talked about positively because of their beliefs. I am very worried about the feelings and fear they will experience, because if I were them it would be heartbreaking. They will fully believe that their daughter, son inlaw, and possibly their grandchildren are going to hell, and it will torture them. They are indoctrinated my entire family is, they will never not love me but again I don't want to cause them pain, especially in my moms condition. I don't know why you thought I was saying my character was worse, my current emotional state is worse. Going from no coping skills, to trying to re-evaluate how to parent when we have no one now to give us direction (in the belief sector, and how to handle what they will hear from my family including extended), dealing with past deaths that they really are gone, trying to embrace the new appreciation for life but grieving something I relied on my entire life, all while dealing with regular life- college (yes back to school at 28), family, and working. I hope I explained that better this time. It is by far not my character it is emotional and sympathy towards the pain I know they will eventually face.

“The highest activity a human being can attain is learning for understanding, because to understand is to be free.”
― Baruch Spinoza
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25-08-2012, 03:12 AM
RE: Recovery from Religion.
(25-08-2012 03:09 AM)Alice Wrote:  
(25-08-2012 02:50 AM)Atothetheist Wrote:  Sorry if I seem a bit... Cruel against religion, but it is my common belief that if your character was better while you were religious, then you have not truly grasped how wonderful it is to know the truth, or at least the truth for now.

Think of how much money, and time you have saved. Think of how much of the money you don't have to give to church, and could use it on more productive stuff.

I think I can kind of relate to you on a similar way in the coping mechanism, but the I relized. Why rely on a God, when you can put your trust, and share the burdens with the people you love.

In otherwords, replace the Deity, with Family. Embrace the fact that you have escaped, what I would consider, a fradulent istituition, that prays on the weak, and the hopeless, and gives them false things to believe in.

I think it is disgusting that people are stasified with a lie, when the reality is, we need to rely on each other, not an outside force that we can't even understand.

My Character is far better now, but the problems arise because of the people I love. I can't share with them, it will be part of me that even when it's revealed will not ever be talked about positively because of their beliefs. I am very worried about the feelings and fear they will experience, because if I were them it would be heartbreaking. They will fully believe that their daughter, son inlaw, and possibly their grandchildren are going to hell, and it will torture them. They are indoctrinated my entire family is, they will never not love me but again I don't want to cause them pain, especially in my moms condition. I don't know why you thought I was saying my character was worse, my current emotional state is worse. Going from no coping skills, to trying to re-evaluate how to parent when we have no one now to give us direction (in the belief sector, and how to handle what they will hear from my family including extended), dealing with past deaths that they really are gone, trying to embrace the new appreciation for life but grieving something I relied on my entire life, all while dealing with regular life- college (yes back to school at 28), family, and working. I hope I explained that better this time. It is by far not my character it is emotional and sympathy towards the pain I know they will eventually face.

Sorry, its like five in the morn here, and I misread it.

I just told my parents flat out, I didn't care, because it was my decision, and I felt much more honest and free doing it.

If it is causing you that much pain, then by all means, use us as a crutch, We are a community, and some of us might be in the same spot you are in.

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25-08-2012, 10:26 AM
RE: Recovery from Religion.
[/quote]

Sorry, its like five in the morn here, and I misread it.

I just told my parents flat out, I didn't care, because it was my decision, and I felt much more honest and free doing it.

If it is causing you that much pain, then by all means, use us as a crutch, We are a community, and some of us might be in the same spot you are in.
[/quote]

Ya was 5am here too, I was up WAY too late! No worries, I know it will come to a head I'm just going to wait for it I guess, if my mom wasn't so sick and stress didn't affect her health the way it does, I would be bravier I think. It's inevitable because of how we are going to raise our girls to avoid the subject, unless they decide to just ignore it, in which case I would be totally fine with that. It's just a baby atheist phase I think, I hope. Eventually I'm assuming it will become easier and I will start to figure things out, I mean I did manage to get through the indoctrination into reality so I'm hoping these are all steps in the process.

“The highest activity a human being can attain is learning for understanding, because to understand is to be free.”
― Baruch Spinoza
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25-08-2012, 03:55 PM (This post was last modified: 25-08-2012 04:02 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Recovery from Religion.
Hi Alice, welcome to Wonderland.

(25-08-2012 02:31 AM)Alice Wrote:  My personal issues are with death, as I see I am not the only one. I have searched for something helpful but nothing gives me comfort.

I wasn't. Then I was. Then I wasn't.
[Image: cheshire_cat.gif]

And all is right with the world. ... All is as it should be. ... And that comforts me.

Think you'll be okay. Your Hubby's got your back. As for your parents, if it was gonna cause my parents that much distress and consternation I'd have no qualms about lying to them. Wouldn't bother me a bit. As for your children, well your sig already indicates that you know what to do. I can vouch for Spinoza as a powerful antidote to religion. My guess is he would work even better as an immunization or inoculation. Wink

I am us and we is me. ... bitches.
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25-08-2012, 04:11 PM
RE: Recovery from Religion.
I've noticed something about people just emerging from Theism... there seems to be a lot of anxiety - some of it exciting some of it fearful. I think a sign post could be a helpful reminder.
I use this one all the time...
[Image: slowthefuckdown.jpg]
... helps to keep me from running overly amok. Wink

I think in the end, I just feel like I'm a secular person who has a skeptical eye toward any extraordinary claim, carefully examining any extraordinary evidence before jumping to conclusions. ~ Eric ~ My friend ... who figured it out.
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25-08-2012, 04:45 PM
RE: Recovery from Religion.
(25-08-2012 04:11 PM)kim Wrote:  I've noticed something about people just emerging from Theism... there seems to be a lot of anxiety - some of it exciting some of it fearful. I think a sign post could be a helpful reminder.
I use this one all the time...
[Image: slowthefuckdown.jpg]
... helps to keep me from running overly amok. Wink

Yes, fearful that is all me lol. Not so much excitement, well on and off at first a lot of excitement now more fear haha. I'm also very very impatient which really is no help in any situation, maybe I need to learn to meditate.

“The highest activity a human being can attain is learning for understanding, because to understand is to be free.”
― Baruch Spinoza
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25-08-2012, 05:26 PM (This post was last modified: 25-08-2012 06:33 PM by fstratzero.)
RE: Recovery from Religion.
Here is Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.

According to Maslow the path to learn requires that these needs are met.

[Image: 450px-Maslow%27s_Hierarchy_of_Needs.svg.png]

I have to saw it is so awesome seeing you guys/girls working together. This thread was badly needed!

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The atheist is a man who destroys the imaginary things which afflict the human race, and so leads men back to nature, to experience and to reason.
-Baron d'Holbach-
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26-08-2012, 05:16 PM
RE: Recovery from Religion.
(25-08-2012 10:26 AM)Alice Wrote:  Ya was 5am here too, I was up WAY too late! No worries, I know it will come to a head I'm just going to wait for it I guess, if my mom wasn't so sick and stress didn't affect her health the way it does, I would be bravier I think. It's inevitable because of how we are going to raise our girls to avoid the subject, unless they decide to just ignore it, in which case I would be totally fine with that. It's just a baby atheist phase I think, I hope. Eventually I'm assuming it will become easier and I will start to figure things out, I mean I did manage to get through the indoctrination into reality so I'm hoping these are all steps in the process.

Instead of teaching them to avoid it, I would encourage them to think for themselves.

As for you, I can empathize with you. I felt similarly when I broke free from my fundamentalist Catholic upbringing, so feel free to ask any questions. Fstratzero is also a very kind and understanding person, so he is also there for you.

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