godless depression

I haven’t blogged in a while. I haven’t felt like it. I haven’t been able to collect my thoughts. I haven’t had the energy to try. Grad school is demanding and deployments are hard, but my current problems has more to do with the struggle I have had with depression for my entire adult life. I have only recently started to think about it outside of the tiny dark hole that my mind has been hiding in. I am carefully and continuously applying all of the tools that I have been given by counselors over the years. I am methodically and grudgingly starting to remember that depression lies. And I know that I will come out of this empty black hole eventually. Mostly that just makes me feel tired rather than hopeful, but hey, that’s okay.

The thing I have begun to think about in the past few days is how faith has played a role in my experiences with depression. I have done a lot of praying, reading, and waiting for my faith to make it better. I can’t honestly say that it has. I have come out of it eventually, but looking back, I don’t see the hand of God or his guidance or anything like that. I see me and my loved ones and good counselors doing hard work. That’s it.

I had the realization a few months ago that I no longer believed anything that was part of Christian doctrine, except that there was probably a God. And then I questioned that. And then it was like the doors on my mind got blown off their hinges and the whole world came rushing in. I have learned so much in just a few months. So much about science and history, but also about myself. Most importantly, I have learned that I have a great capacity for that most beloved-by-the-Army word, resiliency.

I am a resilient person. And it is not because of the hand of a supernatural being, picking me up and puppeting me into the places he wants me to go, or magically shoring me up and teaching me lessons. I am resilient because I have worked hard, and will continue to do so. I have learned that life sucks sometimes, and that I want to make life better for other people. I have learned that depression lies. My world is not empty or hopeless without faith, it is big and amazing and full of life and wonder, and I want to be in it. And that is a pretty fucking resilient outlook.

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7 thoughts on “godless depression

  1. Hello there,

    I love the certainty that you have regarding how depression lies. That is so healthy, I’m sure you didn’t come to that conclusion over night.

    I have to wonder if religion was the gateway addiction to issues I have had with depression. Being a child of the 80s Christian culture in the US was one drenched with materialism, excess and addiction. The Church really grabbed hold of being “addicted to Jesus” throughout that decade and the 90s as well.

    “Drugs? Try Jesus! Depressed? Try Jesus! Alcohol? Try Jesus! Sex and orgasms outside of marriage? Try Jesus, he’s better than an orgasm!”

    Grant it, I know much of that was birthed out of the whole “Jesus People” movement that my parents were apart of in the early 1970s. I just think it did more damage then good because it caused Christians to speak so hatefully to each other.

    “You’re confused, just trust God! You hurt, well, pray! You don’t know what to do, uh, look it up in the Word, God’s got all his answers in there!”

    Walking around with short, attention grabbing quotes like a dumb ass billboard does not help others to heal and be whole. It just digs a big chunk out of a healthy person’s mind or emotions and the infection begins. If the person has already been wounded it’s like shoving slivers of wood and dirt into an already disgusting cut gushing with puss.

    I’m just tired of seeing the trend that I see, people struggling with their Christian faith and those who recently deconverted are often echoing angst from their religious past. And these aren’t rare situations, they’re often repeated incidents in each person’s life. I really believe that religion=depression.

    • I don’t know if I could draw a causal connection between religion and depression for myself, there is so much more that contributes to it. Not least of all genetics. But I do know that Christianity is based on the idea that all people are broken, we always will be, we can’t be fixed, and only Jesus can save us from this permanent brokenness. I have really only just begun to realize that this is such a dangerous idea.

      I can see where adults can connect with that. By the time we get to adulthood, so many of us have had devastating troubles that we already see ourselves as broken. BUT, Christianity sees people like that from birth. I cannot look at my children and see something that is inherently broken. I see potential and adventure and love and a long life of ups and downs and triumphs ahead of them.

      I am depressed and empty and angry and feeling just like that commercial character- the sad bubble headed cartoon who lost interest in lady bugs. But I do find some comfort in the thought that I don’t need magic to fix me. I don’t need a faceless unknowable god to to swoop in and rescue me from my inherent brokenness. Because having lived life and encountered sadness does not make me broken, it makes me human.

      • I think you’re further along than what you realize. When I read your writings I don’t see a broken little girl, I see a grown woman who is well aware of what she sees, knows and experiences. I think maybe what you’re currently experiencing is a combination of fatigue and your endless responsibilities at this time. Again, I think, I don’t know you personally, so, I have no idea of the depth of pain throughout your childhood or adult years.

        Personally, I was terribly angry the first nine months to a year after my deconversion. I was bare, sad and hateful at all things regarding religion for robbing me of the first four decades of my life. That first Christmas was extremely bad. It didn’t help that I had family here, including my two holy roller parents. I got so much Jesus crap from the CBD (Christian Book Distributors) clearance catalog as gifts from my dad, it was unreal!

        I guess for me, religion poisoned my parents’ minds. I also believe it stunts us in evolving, it most certainly did with them and myself. The whole mantra of “die to self” just gave the abuse and emotional shaming greater ammunition in destroying me and always left me guessing who I am or what I should do.

        You’ve got it together, you’re not broken. Healing is always positive and I don’t know why we sometimes treat it as though it’s not, maybe it’s because the process sucks so much.

        Again, it’s all strictly what I believe and being that I am without the proper credentials or familiarity with you, I can’t make a snap judgement about you. I guess it just makes me sad to see you depressed, I hurt for anyone to go through that. It’s painful.

      • There is so much stress around me with my husband’s deployment, grad school, kids, and general life stuff. I am just grinding my teeth and hanging on for now. But I have been here before, and I know what to do. I need to let people help me, use the self-care tools that work for me, and know that every minute that passes is one minute closer to feeling better.

        Thank you. Sometimes it really is hard to see outside of the fog. Writing helps, so do kind words.

      • My husband was in the Navy for 20 years and somehow, some way, was never gone for more than 6 weeks. I honestly have no idea what it’s like to be in your situation for as long as you have been in it. I do know what it’s like to have a Church (where you attend and tithe) ignore you when you sincerely need help or say that they want to help and when you put it out there act as though they’re being inconvenienced. I know what it’s like to have family super far away and you know about my family, they’re no help any way, they’re more of a bother.

        You’re a wise women, it’s okay to not always feel strong.

        I will let you go, I can’t even imagine just how badly you would love some rest right now. Sleep well and enjoy those babies of yours.

        Since I follow your blog you have my email if you ever want to contact me.

        Have a good night and a great week ahead.

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