Jump to content

Struggling To Find Peace


directionless
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi, this is my intro thread (I hope this is the right forum) :)

 

I'm a single guy in my 40s.  My family was Episcopalian.  We probably weren't very religious compared to most Christians.  We stopped attending church when I was 10 or so, but I read the Bible several times cover to cover.  The more I read the Bible the more I became suspicious.

 

In college I was so doubtful that I wanted proof of some kind.  I thought maybe I needed to be "saved" and get the Holy Spirit.  I tried attending a mega church with some fellow students, and I tried being re-baptized.   Nothing happened so I decided that either God doesn't exist or maybe He didn't like me.

 

So for 20 years I considered myself an atheist.  It wasn't a traumatic transition for me.  I felt disappointed, but shrugged my shoulders and made the best of it.

 

A few years ago I had a brief breakdown.  It's complicated to describe - some type of psychosis illness.  I didn't know anything about psychology and I unfortunately interpreted the experience as spiritual.  So I joined a church and attended every week.  I tried to read books and do the religious practices at home, because I thought God must be trying to lead me to something.

 

After a couple of years of trying very hard to be a Christian, I realized it didn't make sense.  My "visions" didn't match any religion, and I became depressed and gave up.

 

About a year ago, I learned about schizophrenia and delusional disorder and I can see similarities to my own experience.  So I assume it was a related illness.

 

ANYWAY, my problem is I'm back to being an atheist, but it's not as easy for me this time as it was the first time.  I have "real" memories of seeing Jesus and talking to Satan and so forth.  Odd patterns and coincidences can make me think God is trying to tell me something (names of people, junk emails, etc.)  I often pray, because it makes me feel better.  But intellectually I'm an atheist and I know I had mental illness.

 

I hope that makes sense.  I'm not concerned with what I believe, but I want to get back to normal. :)

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

(Sorry I can't find the button to edit my original post.)

 

My question: Often I feel like an atheist and a Christian concurrently sharing the same mind.  For example, the other day I prayed that God would help me be an atheist.  Or sometimes I will be reading something about atheism and realize I'm praying at the same time.  If I am harsh and try to stop praying, then I'm faced with complete uncertainty about reality and that is very scary due to all the hallucinations in my memories.  Is it better to have cognitive dissonance or complete uncertainty about reality?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have no advice concerning the mental illness side but the xian doctrine is pretty much a mind fuck.

 

Welcome to the forum and you get the edit button at 25 posts IIRC.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator

(Sorry I can't find the button to edit my original post.)

 

My question: Often I feel like an atheist and a Christian concurrently sharing the same mind.  For example, the other day I prayed that God would help me be an atheist.  Or sometimes I will be reading something about atheism and realize I'm praying at the same time.  If I am harsh and try to stop praying, then I'm faced with complete uncertainty about reality and that is very scary due to all the hallucinations in my memories.  Is it better to have cognitive dissonance or complete uncertainty about reality?

 

 

Welcome to Ex-c directionless! Thanks for sharing your story with us. Keep posting all your concerns...we will try to help you through this.

 

Chances are, you are suffering from cognitive dissonance.....two conflicting thoughts at the same time. This is very normal during 'deconverting' from one belief to another. You'll come through this!!

 

Stay here and read as many posts as you can. It will get easier.....Hug for you today!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Super Moderator

Welcome!

 

Is it better to have cognitive dissonance or complete uncertainty about reality?

 

Cognitive dissonance is nothing more than lying to yourself. Nobody has all the definitive answers, so welcome to the club. One answer I do have is that Christianity is a crock. Many people think there is still some kind of a god, but I have yet to see any evidence so I'm leaning toward NO to any extraordinary claims without proof. Of course neither I nor anyone else can definitively prove there is no god, no leprechauns and no fairies, but it really doesn't make sense to believe in them just because you want to.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the welcome, everybody. :)

 

The mental illness and Christianity are intertwined unfortunately.  I haven't been to church in 2 years, and I haven't had any hallucinations in over a year.  But little things can trigger worry.  Like I might see a cockroach and think it is spying on me.  During my breakdown I had those kinds of delusions.  Now I don't "believe" the delusions, but the emotions persist.  Or as another example, somebody put a bible quote in the signature of their email, and I started worrying that this person might be a prophet giving me a personal message from God.  I know these ideas are silly, but they don't go away.

 

I know that makes me sound crazy, but I don't take medicine, I've never been hospitalized, I continued to work during my mental breakdown and managed concealed it.  So it was very minor compared to people who really experience psychosis.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Atheism isn't the only alternative. There are ways to be spiritual that don't include supernatural deities, demons, heaven, hell, sin, or salvation. There are a number of mystic forms of spirituality that seek inner peace. There are also a number of forms of Deism that seek spirituality from a rational perspective. It is possible to be spiritual but not religious.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Atheism isn't the only alternative. There are ways to be spiritual that don't include supernatural deities, demons, heaven, hell, sin, or salvation. There are a number of mystic forms of spirituality that seek inner peace. There are also a number of forms of Deism that seek spirituality from a rational perspective. It is possible to be spiritual but not religious.

 

Buddhism appeals to me, because I would like to lose my ego-centric perspective.  I think that would make me happier and make people around me happier.  Many of my psychological problems come from self hatred and I think Buddhism would help.

 

Unfortunately there was a series of weird coincidences that triggered my breakdown, and one of those coincidences involved Hinduism/Buddhism.  So when I've tried to read about Hinduism and Buddhism I start feeling uncomfortable psychologically.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.