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Feelings Of Hopelessness


AaronOz
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Hey guys and gals,

 

It's been a couple of months now since my deconversion and I've really felt the whole gamut of emotions. First there was that exciting feeling of discovering the truth, and then was the anger at all the lies I'd been told. Now I'm actually starting to feel quite depressed and it's causing strain on my marriage.

 

Basically, I feel like everything is meaningless. Yes, life is a miracle, but I kinda feel like is all so accidental.

 

Everything feels so hollow and empty and I'm just seeing everything with a sense of detachment. I know this is depression, but I have no idea how to shake it. When I was a christian, there was hope and purpose, no matter how crap life was.

 

Anyone else experienced this and what did you do to get past it? If you were married in the church, how did you feel about it afterwards? (I love my wiife deeply, but I feel like the concept of marriage is more religious than anything). My loving wife even suggested shed divorce me if it made me feel better. That just made me feel like a jerk.

 

Heck, i was trained as a counsellor so I know what depression looks like. I've tried giving myself advice I would have, but what do you say when you feel like the bottom has completely dropped out of your boat lol.

 

I guess, if I were single, I'd get stuck into the dating scene and lose myself for a few years. But being married, life still goes on. Heck we even moved cities, but we're having even more trouble finding friends because we've only ever had church friends.

 

I'm not about to top myself or anything lol, I guess I'm just hoping that someone out there understands what I'm saying. I don't know, maybe I just want to hear that it's going go get better?

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Being a trained counselor you probably know the different stages of grief. You appear to be in the "depressed" phase of it. Most people who deconvert goes through these phases, as it is normal for humans.

 

However the feeling of meaninglessness is something that humans have always struggled with - it's why we invented God. And the truth is, that it IS all meaningless. And the only meaning that can be attributed to life (as far as we know) is the meaning we give it.

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I won't minimize your pain by saying it will definitely get better. But I will say that it has gotten better for many, and I'm one of them.

 

For a long time, I felt the need of having a purpose, and it did feel meaningless. But then I realized that I was free to pursue ways of enriching my life that I'm interested in. I started really valuing the little things. Basically, I reinvented my world view to fit the idea that it is all about the journey and not the destination, and with Christianity, it's the exact opposite.

 

I learned to really appreciate the taste of a good meal, the joy of a sunset, the study of history and literature, the way it feels when I help someone. And speaking of helping people, I now get to help people because I want to and not because it's demanded of me by the Bible. I get great satisfaction out of making the lives of those around me better.

 

When my husband and I fought the fire that took so many lives, we got to take credit for what we did right. Sure, there was some luck involved, but I didn't have to thank God for saving me and wonder why others had to die. I didn't have to blame Satan for causing the fire. I got to look at the real situation and react accordingly.

 

There's still a part of me that believes (hopes?) this all continues and that there might be an over riding meaning in it, but if you take that all the way to its logical conclusion, you'll find that the meaning of life is just life. And you have the opportunity to shape that life in any direction you like.

 

Was there anything you always dreamed of doing but couldn't? Maybe now you can.

 

As for marriage... I got married after deconversion, and my original purpose was one of practicality. My husband and I knew we loved each other, and we were pretty certain we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together, but had we been on the same continent, we probably would have just moved in together and played it by ear and I don't know if we ever would have gotten married. As it was, it made getting a spouse visa easier for me. Oddly, after we got married, we found there to be what feels like a mystical component, but I have no way of knowing if that "mystical" component would have been there had we just lived together, and so many of the little things that I love may totally be a function of the culture I've grown up in. But I love having his last name. I love thinking of him as my better half. I love the feeling of oneness. And one thing I'm certain of - it has absolutely NOTHING to do with religion.

 

Sometimes it's frustrating when the feelings of meaninglessness come along, but it's never as bad as the depression I felt while in the church and watching my life pass me by while I waited on God. No longer do I have to have unrealistic expectations about my importance in this universe. I can take great joy in helping one person without feeling like I need to change the world. Honestly, it's a relief more than anything.

 

Finally, you might find some of the writings here on ex-Christian helpful. If you go out to the main site, there are loads of books available, retreats you can take and other things that might help this transition be a little easier.

 

I'm a positive sort of person, so I believe if you don't give up, it will get better. I don't think divorcing your wife and mindless sex are the answer unless you two were strictly married out of obligation. :)

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There's still a part of me that believes (hopes?) this all continues and that there might be an over riding meaning in it, but if you take that all the way to its logical conclusion, you'll find that the meaning of life is just life. And you have the opportunity to shape that life in any direction you like.

 

Was there anything you always dreamed of doing but couldn't? Maybe now you can.

 

Sometimes it's frustrating when the feelings of meaninglessness come along, but it's never as bad as the depression I felt while in the church and watching my life pass me by while I waited on God. No longer do I have to have unrealistic expectations about my importance in this universe. I can take great joy in helping one person without feeling like I need to change the world. Honestly, it's a relief more than anything.

 

 

 

I remember lacking motivation in so many things like my school studies because of Christianity. I felt that I shouldn't "store my worldly treasures", and it made me feel real guilty when I would rather read science or fantasy books instead of the bible. Now I really enjoy being able to do what I want to do without worries that I am not "constantly in prayer". No matter what you did in Christianity you were never ever good enough. It's a terribly depressing thing.

 

The craziest thing about it is that I never thought that it was something wrong with the religion, I always thought it was something wrong with me.

 

 

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Hey Aaron

 

I feel your pain. Got saved 30 yrs ago at the age of 14. Raised in the A of G churchs. Attended Southwestern A of G college, travelled in a singing group ministering from church to church and state to state. 2 youth pastor positions...3yrs ago I almost accepted an associate pastor position...and now... a deconvert. My deconversion was slowly in the making for many years. I am currently going through the same pains that you are going through. I find myself still occassionally listening to Christian vocalists like Matthew Ward. Music is moving so naturally someone like Matthew Ward stimulates that feel-good sensation. But it is not enough to cause me to travel back out of boredom, lack of purpose or not knowing my place in this world. Though I did not realize it at the time my whole relationship with God was based on religious environments and dogma.

 

To say the least, going through what you are going through is a process that is not very comfortable. At the same time you can claim hold of purpose and leave your legacy.

 

Your best days are in front of you.

 

Let Life Be Wonderful!

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Hey Aaron

 

I feel your pain. Got saved 30 yrs ago at the age of 14. Raised in the A of G churchs. Attended Southwestern A of G college, travelled in a singing group ministering from church to church and state to state. 2 youth pastor positions...3yrs ago I almost accepted an associate pastor position...and now... a deconvert. My deconversion was slowly in the making for many years. I am currently going through the same pains that you are going through. I find myself still occassionally listening to Christian vocalists like Matthew Ward. Music is moving so naturally someone like Matthew Ward stimulates that feel-good sensation. But it is not enough to cause me to travel back out of boredom, lack of purpose or not knowing my place in this world. Though I did not realize it at the time my whole relationship with God was based on religious environments and dogma.

 

To say the least, going through what you are going through is a process that is not very comfortable. At the same time you can claim hold of purpose and leave your legacy.

 

Your best days are in front of you.

 

Let Life Be Wonderful!

 

 

Hello! Welcome to Ex-C. It's always good to see a fellow former AG here. Do you have a testimonial? I'm always very very interested in pentecostal testimonials. Even more so in ones who were pastors. I almost became a pastor once... haha.

 

 

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