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GroundedInMe

My Deconversion

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Hi everyone,

My deconversion began a few years ago when my throat constricted and I was desperately trying to take a breath. This had happened before but I had not tended to it. This time, as I prepared to attend a baptismal service, I was finally astute enough to know it was coming and put two and two together. 

I was having a panic attack triggered by religion.

Let's go back. In the beginning (haha) I was taken to church by close family friends (my parents are not religious). Later when those family friends stopped attending, the children's pastor would pick me up along with his wife and daughter. 

Fast forward to young adulthood and I'm a full blown Christian ("God, what item from this menu would you like me to order for lunch?") and also working part-time at the church as a ministry assistant to the pastor who drove me to church as a child.

I was very judgemental. I believed in upholding the standards, values and principles of the Bible (or at least my interpretation of it). Movies, clothing, language, punctuality, music, even Xtian music - I scrutinized and criticized it all. 

My panic attacks started when I stopped attending church. The pastor I worked for had moved to another church and I started a different job (non-ministry) where I worked different hours so I wasn't consistently attending church. I secretly enjoyed the freedom (and excuse!) to not have to be there AND not have any responsibility. 

My new job also made me realize that, in the real world, I wasn't real. It also introduced me to people who were real and I discovered I wanted that. 

But it's not like I woke up one day and said "I want to deconvert"

It's more like my body woke up one day and said "I want to deconvert"

I basically developed an allergic reaction to religion. I recall attempting to attend a church service one Sunday and I lasted less than 10 minutes before my throat constricted and I had to leave. I remember the incredible sense of relief running through my body as I pulled out of the parking lot. My body was telling me "no, this isn't good for you" before my reasoning could figure it out. 

I hear of many paths and last straws to deconversion. It tells me how many channels religion has to pull someone in. I see my deconversion as a divorce. I was very in love with God and I feel somewhat like a woman who got married very young, before she "found herself" and then realized she was in a bad place. 

Speaking of marriage, I am now married. I'd call him a very casual Catholic (attends Christmas and Easter). I cannot imagine how tough it can be to be married as Xtians and then one deconverts (kudos to those who have posted here).  My husband is great and we have a ton of fun together, but when it comes to this topic, he has no understanding, compassion or empathy for how challenging it is to deprogram guilt, shame, fear from the past. He tells me directly that he doesn't understand and that I should get over it. 

That hurts me a lot, especially when I'm already hurting. I struggle because I want/dream of being able to lean on him when I'm upset about something religion related (doesn't even have to be a panic attack)...but reaching out to him is also a dead end.

So I'm reaching out to this community for support, encouragement and validation. 

Here's some questions I have:

Has anyone else had religion induced panic attacks? 

What has helped manage triggers?

Has anyone experienced deconversion like a divorce?

What has helped with post-divorce life?

Does anyone need to reach outside marriage to garner comfort, empathy and a listening ear?

What resources have been helpful?

I could write more but will close here for now. I hope to contribute my own encouragement to those going through a similar journey. We are all courageous for stepping out of the suffering! smile.png

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Welcome, GroundedinMe!  You will find kindred spirits here.

 

Check out http://recoveringfromreligion.org/ for additional support.

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Have you done much research into Xtianity history? If not you will probably find it very interesting and it will support your decision to deconvert. I"m going to say the obvious which you probably already

know: Don't get your support from a man.I don't mean to insult you, but it doesn't hurt to say the

obvious.

 

I think you will get some answers to your questions here. I didn't get support except from 2 of my adult kids who live out of town. Mainly I visit this site. Keep coming back here. I'm convinced it will help

you. Good luck. bill

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Has anyone experienced deconversion like a divorce?

Divorce is a great metaphor, but i would even describe it as an abusive relationship. You slowly understand that "god" isn't only not right for you, but also manipulating you and destroying your trust in your own abilities( if something good happens in your life, you give him credit for it) and he is something you have to get rid off.At the same time it is heartbreaking and difficult because you love "him" or the idea of him and you are used to live with him.

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Have you done much research into Xtianity history? If not you will probably find it very interesting and it will support your decision to deconvert. I"m going to say the obvious which you probably already

know: Don't get your support from a man.I don't mean to insult you, but it doesn't hurt to say the

obvious.

 

I think you will get some answers to your questions here. I didn't get support except from 2 of my adult kids who live out of town. Mainly I visit this site. Keep coming back here. I'm convinced it will help

you. Good luck. bill

Thanks Bill.  I needed to hear the don't get support from a man, especially coming from a man (I assume!)  

 

Can I ask how it is when you bump into or interact with those you used to consider "brothers and sisters in faith"?  

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Has anyone experienced deconversion like a divorce?

Divorce is a great metaphor, but i would even describe it as an abusive relationship. You slowly understand that "god" isn't only not right for you, but also manipulating you and destroying your trust in your own abilities( if something good happens in your life, you give him credit for it) and he is something you have to get rid off.At the same time it is heartbreaking and difficult because you love "him" or the idea of him and you are used to live with him.

 

Yes, I've journaled about it being an abusive relationship before...how he was controlling and I was willingly being controlled.  Essentially being told what to do (and not do), who to talk to, how to talk, how to think, what to wear, how to spend my time and money...basically robbing me of independent thought and confidence!  

 

It is painful because I truly gave my heart, soul and body to the relationship, believing it was real and that he would be good to me.  Then finding out with all the prayer, fasting, believing, tithing, ministering, serving, etc, he did not hold up his end of the bargain on so many levels.  

 

What ways of coping do you find helpful?

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Has anyone else had religion induced panic attacks? 

What has helped manage triggers?

 

Has anyone experienced deconversion like a divorce?

 

What has helped with post-divorce life?

 

Does anyone need to reach outside marriage to garner comfort, empathy and a listening ear?

 

What resources have been helpful?

 

HI, welcome to the boards.  I hope you'll find some good support here.  Your description of panic attacks is sad to hear.  I would always say first that seeing a doctor is sensible, if you have not already.

 

I never had panic attacks.  But I did begin to generate a nervous anxiety, where I just wanted to bolt out of the service.  Just wanted to throw my bag over my shoulder and scoot out of there as fast as I could.  But held my ground, to breathe a sign of relief at the end.

 

I haven't had a divorce, so I'm not sure I can compare!  But I have had breakups.  But for me I think losing God was more like a bereavement.  Because it wasn't like God had just left me and was now elsewhere.  He was just gone.  However it was like having a breakup with all of my Christian friends when I told them about my deconversion, because there is a loss of that shared experience.  It was even hard to tell my non Christian friends that I was now like them, because they didn't quite know what to make of me at first.  But it was certainly easier with them.

 

It has helped to be able to talk to people here.  It has helped to watch some good video series such as those by prplfox and Evid3nce.  Check them out on Youtube if you have not already.

 

Also, I personally found watching lectures and debates involving Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins to be helpful.  So too Penn Jillette has some good videos about atheism.

 

Very importantly - reading.  I recommend

Jesus, Interrupted by Bart Ehrman (concerning the writing of the New Testament)

Who Wrote The Bible by Richard Friedman (concerning the writing of the Torah)

These helped me to solidify my belief that the Bible was only a human creation.

 

Also:

God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens (for an exposition of the horrors of religion)

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins (if you want to understand human behaviour, I think this is better than any psychology book)

 

 

Hope these help!

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GroundedinMe, welcome! I'm so glad you found us here as it can be incredibly difficult to find support in the real world. Your comparison of losing your faith in god to a divorce is an apt one, in my opinion. I realized christianity was not true at the beginning of June last year, and and the end of July my husband and I separated (not directly related to my loss of faith); so I experienced both at the same time. The separation from my very real husband has been very difficult emotionally, to say the least, but I found my realization that christianity is false, and thus god does not actually exist (personal, interventionist ones at least) was equally as challenging. My grief over 'losing' god was very real but there was no one in real life who could understand, and some even mocked me, as if I deserved the pain for apparently rejecting god. 

 

The anxiety and panic attacks you mention are a concern if they are still occurring as they can spiral out of control. I would suggest a non-christian psychologist if that is the case. Christianity can mess us up in so many ways; I have suffered depression and anxiety from my time as a christian and have found help through a great ex-christian therapist. This website has been amazingly helpful to me, and is honestly my major support with this issue. What you are going through is completely normal. Read as much as you can on this site and you will see you are not alone. Look forward to hearing more from you :) 

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Has anyone else had religion induced panic attacks? 

What has helped manage triggers?

 

Has anyone experienced deconversion like a divorce?

 

What has helped with post-divorce life?

 

Does anyone need to reach outside marriage to garner comfort, empathy and a listening ear?

 

What resources have been helpful?

 

HI, welcome to the boards.  I hope you'll find some good support here.  Your description of panic attacks is sad to hear.  I would always say first that seeing a doctor is sensible, if you have not already.

 

I never had panic attacks.  But I did begin to generate a nervous anxiety, where I just wanted to bolt out of the service.  Just wanted to throw my bag over my shoulder and scoot out of there as fast as I could.  But held my ground, to breathe a sign of relief at the end.

 

I haven't had a divorce, so I'm not sure I can compare!  But I have had breakups.  But for me I think losing God was more like a bereavement.  Because it wasn't like God had just left me and was now elsewhere.  He was just gone.  However it was like having a breakup with all of my Christian friends when I told them about my deconversion, because there is a loss of that shared experience.  It was even hard to tell my non Christian friends that I was now like them, because they didn't quite know what to make of me at first.  But it was certainly easier with them.

 

It has helped to be able to talk to people here.  It has helped to watch some good video series such as those by prplfox and Evid3nce.  Check them out on Youtube if you have not already.

 

Also, I personally found watching lectures and debates involving Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins to be helpful.  So too Penn Jillette has some good videos about atheism.

 

Very importantly - reading.  I recommend

Jesus, Interrupted by Bart Ehrman (concerning the writing of the New Testament)

Who Wrote The Bible by Richard Friedman (concerning the writing of the Torah)

These helped me to solidify my belief that the Bible was only a human creation.

 

Also:

God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens (for an exposition of the horrors of religion)

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins (if you want to understand human behaviour, I think this is better than any psychology book)

 

 

Hope these help!

 

Hi!  Thanks for your encouragement.  My panic attacks occurred 6 years ago and yes, I did see a physician and psychologist about it.  Thankfully, I haven't had physical symptoms in years but I do carry that mental energy and it flares up now and then.  I think it may be similar to what you call nervous anxiety.  

 

I relate a lot to the pain (but necessity) of separating from Christian friends.  When I told one of my closest friends (and accountability partner) about my panic attacks, she said I need to read the Bible and pray more.  I explained to her that if I had developed a nut allergy, would it be right for her to suggest I eat some nuts to solve my problem??  She still didn't get it.  We don't speak anymore.

 

It's sad because some friends I would have loved to keep, but they are so bound and intertwined with those I don't want to keep, that I had to let it go.  Bereavement indeed.

 

And many thanks for the wealth of resources!  The only one I am familiar with is the Youtube videos from Evid3nce, which I found online last year.  Everything else is now on my reading and listening list - thanks :)

 

 

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GroundedinMe, welcome! I'm so glad you found us here as it can be incredibly difficult to find support in the real world. Your comparison of losing your faith in god to a divorce is an apt one, in my opinion. I realized christianity was not true at the beginning of June last year, and and the end of July my husband and I separated (not directly related to my loss of faith); so I experienced both at the same time. The separation from my very real husband has been very difficult emotionally, to say the least, but I found my realization that christianity is false, and thus god does not actually exist (personal, interventionist ones at least) was equally as challenging. My grief over 'losing' god was very real but there was no one in real life who could understand, and some even mocked me, as if I deserved the pain for apparently rejecting god. 

 

The anxiety and panic attacks you mention are a concern if they are still occurring as they can spiral out of control. I would suggest a non-christian psychologist if that is the case. Christianity can mess us up in so many ways; I have suffered depression and anxiety from my time as a christian and have found help through a great ex-christian therapist. This website has been amazingly helpful to me, and is honestly my major support with this issue. What you are going through is completely normal. Read as much as you can on this site and you will see you are not alone. Look forward to hearing more from you smile.png

Hi Wanderinstar!  Thanks for the welcome.  I read your response and think of how this time last year you were experiencing such a painful season of change(s)  And it sinks my heart to know some would mock you.  What's sad is that I used to judge people so much - maybe not to their face but in my heart and with others.  

 

Like a mentioned to SquareOne, I did see a physician and psychologist about it for my panic attacks and thankfully, I haven't had physical symptoms in years but I find sometimes I feel the guilt and shame of what I've been and done and what I haven't been and done and it plays in my mind, which I'm working on.  

 

Ironically, I used to be one of those Christian therapists.  And even more ironically, I worked in two practices, the other run owned by a homosexual couple and they treated me FAR better than the Christian practice.  

 

In Xtianity, my world was made up of Xtian everything.  If I could pump Xtian gas into my Xtian car from an Xtian gas station, I would!  Now, I see that it's a lonely road to separate from that.  I've been needing a site like this, more than I realize.  

 

Of course you don't have to answer this question, but how are you doing around the year anniversary of your deconversion and divorce?

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Thanks GroundedinMe, I am doing really well! I have managed to withdraw myself from most things christian, except one of my best friends who is very respectful of my deconversion (she saw the horror I went through in the name of christianity so she knows it would be harmful to push me back). Being away from the craziness for over a year (and I had begun to withdraw a couple of years before that) has really helped me center myself in reality. My husband was also very destabilizing to live with, unreliable and unpredictable so the relative calmness since we split has helped the anxiety ease. Going through a divorce is incredibly painful and stressful so my life is not all sunshine and flowers but relative to how unwell I was prior to my deconversion I am very happy.

 

I was just told by my doctor today to not get ahead of myself and assume I am now going to be fine as I do, and most likely always will, have a serious mood disorder. Still, life is pretty peachy without the pressures of christianity and a very dysfunctional marriage. It is so refreshing being able to find, and be myself again - perhaps for the first time to a degree. I was like you in that I wanted everything to be christian. I was really obsessive about it as I lived in fear I would allow demons in my life and disappoint god. 

 

Glad your anxiety is under control. It is so awful to live with. Were you trained in a christian or secular method?The small amount of pastoral counselling I trained in was very focused on sin as the core problem, and our 'depravity'. Then was the crazy deliverance ministry stuff. Therapy from this mindset can be incredibly damaging. I am a big fan of clinical psychology and some secular counselling though. The stuff that is evidence based. This site has really sped up my recovery and transition from christianity. It is difficult to find people IRL that have any understanding of what we are going though, but not here :)

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Hey Wanderstar, hope you had a nice Sunday!  Isn't it interesting how you leave christianity and are then able to center yourself.  Back in christianity I would have considered myself extremely centered but now I realize I was lost and now am found! lol  And I think it's a treasure that a christian friend can BE a friend and not be coercive and judgemental.  Leaving christianity taught me how to be a better friend to all kinds of friends.

 

Sounds like your divorce (though of course still a divorce!) was in some ways a hindrance to your overall health and well-being.  I'm so glad you're removing the harmful stressors in your world.  

 

I was trained at a christian university but it had secular accreditation so methods were very secular.  I had always been to secular education prior so expected a lot of christianity.  I was really disappointed to see that since I was such a hard core believer.  I remember a fellow student went as far to question one of our professors.  She wondered if he was truly saved.  

 

The deliverance stuff I wasn't as exposed to, both in school or church (it was more conservative) but I think I did get into it a bit when it came to praying for (or against) things.  Strange.  Back then all that was so real to me and now I've stepped out of it and see how it was all so fake.  Such an illusion but I lived it, not dreamed it.  

 

Thanks for the chatting - it has helped me so much just to know there's people out there who understand the hell I've been through :)

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GroundedinMe, welcome, and yes, quite a few of us here experience anxiety, depression and panic attacks. I remember my first experience with a panic attack around age 4, when I believed I had done something (I don't remember what, probably existing) and God and my parents no longer loved me or cared what happened to me, because I was bad and unloveable. Cue absolute clench of paralyzing terror, something I at 4 certainly couldn't understand or make sense of! 

 

I've struggled with panic and anxiety all my life, triggered almost always when I believed I had done something bad (even inadvertently) and God was going to punish me for it. And as I write this, I realize that, since my full detachment from that mindset, and from God, I have not had a single panic attack. I don't have to "manage" anything on the scale I did before. My anxiety and depression are small localized events (about a 2 on a scale from 10, when I used to live my life with "These go to eleven.") and easily managed. I no longer feel doomed or cursed. Wow. Realizing that is a more powerful comfort than anything I ever got from God/Jeeezus. 

 

 

 

The anxiety and panic attacks you mention are a concern if they are still occurring as they can spiral out of control. I would suggest a non-christian psychologist if that is the case. Christianity can mess us up in so many ways; I have suffered depression and anxiety from my time as a christian and have found help through a great ex-christian therapist.

 

Signing on to what wanderinstar said. 

 

 

 

Does anyone need to reach outside marriage to garner comfort, empathy and a listening ear?

 

No, but my husband has always been a non-believer, and had a traumatic event when he was 12, when a neighbor tried to convert him. On the other hand, I don't talk about my deconversion to him that much, because partially I've always felt my beliefs were very personal (I didn't talk a lot about God/Jeeezus, either), and partially because a lot of it, he already knows just because he knows me. 

 

I would caution you, though, about "reaching outside marriage" for comfort. If this is ONLY about the deconversion process, that's one thing. But if you are looking for that in your life in general, there is something bigger going on that you'll have to address. Deconversion is a huge emotional step and for many, it is as powerful or even more powerful than finding Jeeezus the first time. And a lot of people transfer those heightened emotions to a place, group, or people, mistaking that elevated emotion for real connections and healthy relationships. 

 

But yes, this place is here for you as much as you need. Post away!

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Welcome, GroundedInMe!

 

My husband also grew up in Catholicism, but when we met he was infrequently attending a UU (Unitarian Universalist) church.  He was never very religious and it didn't have a big impact on his life.  He has been very supportive of my deconversion (he actually told me at one point that he thought I used to be too religious, ha!) but he doesn't really understand why giving up on God is such a big deal to me.  He never lived his life thanking God for everything, asking God which path to take, and calling out to God for answers to life's questions... so he doesn't really "get" it.  I can talk to him about some things, but I have to recognize his limits of understanding.

 

I have told a few friends about being an atheist.  All but one of them were not (or not very) religious, so they weren't upset by the news.  The one who had been religious is someone I knew 20 years ago and lost contact with.  She and I had discussed being Christians but also talked about things in the religion that confused us.  I recently found her on Facebook and told her that I gave God the boot.  Turns out, she responded that she was "probably an atheist" too.

 

None of those contacts really amounted to much discussion about deconversion, though.  The emotional support and understanding that I needed most, I found here.  This is a great place.  I also got a lot out of the Evid3nc3 and prplfox YouTube videos that SquareOne mentioned above.  If you're itching for more YouTube action, check out NonStampCollector and darkmatter2525.  Their videos cut right to the core of things in the Bible and Christianity that constantly make me facepalm and wonder: why could I not see this? how did I blind myself for so long? why did it take me so long to figure out that this is all so ridiculous????  I try not to beat myself up too much, but unfortunately, that is one of the things that I'm best at in life.  :(

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None of those contacts really amounted to much discussion about deconversion, though.  The emotional support and understanding that I needed most, I found here.  This is a great place.  I also got a lot out of the Evid3nc3 and prplfox YouTube videos that SquareOne mentioned above.  If you're itching for more YouTube action, check out NonStampCollector and darkmatter2525.  Their videos cut right to the core of things in the Bible and Christianity that constantly make me facepalm and wonder: why could I not see this? how did I blind myself for so long? why did it take me so long to figure out that this is all so ridiculous????  I try not to beat myself up too much, but unfortunately, that is one of the things that I'm best at in life.  sad.png

 

Absolutely agree with this.  DarkMatter2525 and nonstampcollector are really insightful, and pursue their target with devastating accuracy, with a sharp wit and a disarming charm.  I wish I could force Christians to sit and watch all of their videos, but what can you do.

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Welcome to the club, Grounded! biggrin.png

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Yo I'm answering the questions like a questionnaire hope you don't mind hah

.

Has anyone else had religion induced panic attacks? 
Noope, I've never experienced panic attacks, however the last time I went to church with my parents (who don't know I've deconverted, it's still a bit soon) I suddenly realised this was a COMMUNION service - and communion had always been a big thing to me - as in not partaking unless you were sure of your faith. So the time came closer to it and I could feel the dread building and I kinda just wanted to run out of there. It was all rather unpleasant.

.

What has helped manage triggers?

I think maybe you should just treat it as you would any other panic attack (my friend has panic attacks in trains and stuff so I know a bit about them) Which is realise it's okay to avoid situations if you can, and that whole cognitive behaviour therapy thing where you have stages of thinking through things that get your mind back on a more rational track. Your psychologist or whoever probably knows a bit more about that.

.

Has anyone experienced deconversion like a divorce?
Yesss, that was definitely one of the metaphors for it in my head at the time, it was heartbreaking and painful and all that unpleasantness.

.

What has helped with post-divorce life?
Now I see it more as one of those relationships where you get swooped up in it all and idolise the other person and you come out of it realising you never really knew the other person at all. But you don't need them, without them life is full of possibilities and curiosities and thinking for yourself! Understanding life on my own terms is difficult, but it feels good because it feels like something I should've been doing all along.

.

Does anyone need to reach outside marriage to garner comfort, empathy and a listening ear?
Not married, but my boything couldn't really understand what I was going through, all he could do was listen and get all sad that I was sad, so I figured it wasn't really fair on him seeing me all confused and needing empathy and not being able to help so yeah, I ended up here! I still share what's happening with him and how reading about other de-converts is helping me now and then and we're pretty comfortable with the situation. I'm lucky I have someone who realises this is difficult (but necessary) even if he doesn't exactly understand everything, I feel very sad too for those with Christian spouses who just don't want to know!

.

What resources have been helpful?

I was never in to the Christian help books so now I'm not into the ex-christian help books haha! Reading a few fiction books with semi-religious themes and pondering them has been useful though.

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Welcome fellow therapist! As you probably already know coping is a long term process and not a one time event. The thing that has helped me the most is telling my loved ones about my deconversion. This is not easy but once it is done you no longer have to deal with keeping the secret, which greatly reduces the anxiety.

 

You also might consider marriage counseling yourself. My wife (still a believer) and I have gone to an EFT certified therapist and it has helped tremendously in terms of both of us understanding where the other is coming from and dealing with problems in new ways.

 

Another useful illustration for your consideration is the formation process that therapists often refer to with homosexuals. There is the initial stage of denial for many, followed by personal acknowledgement, then sharing with a few close friends, then sharing with the public. This can be a turbulent time, and often entails making one's sexuality a primary part of one's identity and can be perceived by some as overly aggressive. Eventually, however, sexuality becomes just another part of the person's identity and is not so central. I have seen that there are similarities for the deconverted in terms of their process of identity formation. This is a pretty rocky time for you right now but it will get better, especially the more you are honest with yourself and others.

 

By the way I went to a Christian but secular accredited school myself for my Masters. I sometimes wonder how much money I could have saved going to a public school. Oh well. Also you might Google the Therapist Project. It is a network of anonymous secular mental health professionals who seekers can find if they want. I recently joined as it is free. You might consider it when you are ready.

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I'm not married or currently in a relationship, so I can't really address the relationship questions. Though, with Christianity, I'd say it would qualify as an abusive relationship; it also seems to really suck the life out of women. 

 

My experience has been similar to Pantophobia's regarding panic attacks. I remember experiencing them at a young age (not 4, but more around 8 and 9), but they became increasingly worse and more related to religion as I got older, particularly in my preteens. I've had quite a few panic attacks in my life and even passed right out due to one in my late teens (this particularly one was unrelated to religion).  Though, I DID pass out once in my Sunday School close in my early teens (not really sure if it was the bloody video we were watching, the religion, or a combination). If you ever wanna be really embarrassed, turn 13 and pass out in front of about 32 peers a a couple adults, LOL! 

 

I would definitely say therapy helped the most address the panic attacks since not all were related to religion, though I did suffer pretty severely from anxiety disorders while religious and I do believe religion helped trigger most (but not all) of my anxiety issues. My mother was another pretty big trigger. And I hate to say it, but my most severe panic attacks began after my two sisters were born (pretty sure my mom had major issues that were never addressed and treated me like mom jr to the girls). 

 

I have received free therapy from students at a university. This has been incredibly good for me as you basically get two therapists; the students film the sessions, go over it with an actual licensed therapist, and then address any points next session that might have been pointed out by therapist guiding them. 

 

I rarely bring up religion, though. I'm always scared the person might be a Xtian and out to convert me! 

 

Welcome to the boards! I find this place to the absolute best place to be especially under General Theological Christian Issues and Science VS Religion because it tends to settle any niggling doubts.  

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Hi all,

 

Just want to say thanks for your welcome, replies and sharing.  I'm sorry for a delayed response, that is also a blanket one, but please hear me when I say it's all very encouraging to know that although no path can be exactly the same as mine, just hearing how you can relate is extremely comforting. 

 

It's also been encouraging to read other topics on this forum to see and hear where others are at.  We've all been affected painfully, but sometimes differently.  Though we live around the world, we always know we have a place here we can call home :)

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I've never had religion-induced panic attacks, but I do experience extreme discomfort and anxiety at church and I often get very cross with the people around me while I am there. What helps me with these problems is to concentrate on writing down the points I DISAGREE with from the sermon/service. It also helps to be able to discuss those with a fellow nonbeliever, i.e. my boyfriend. 

 

For me, deconverting feels like I would imagine a divorce to be. I want to get away from religion really badly. I know I will be happier and better off. However, I feel obligated not to deconvert because I fear what my family and friends will say and think. I also remember the good things about religion and I wonder if maybe I can reconcile with it. We had such a good time when I was

a good happy little Christian girl. I don't want to be forced to start over with my whole way of looking at life. But, it will be better. And so even with the pain and sadness that come with deconverting, I do it anyways because I know my life will be improved. 

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I have experienced both divorce and deconversion.  I did not see the experiences as comparable.  I did have a panic attack during the course of my divorce, but nothing like that for deconversion. Deconversion for me was, and still is, an ongoing process. It lasted much longer than the divorce experience.  No, I can't really compare them.

 

A divorce is traumatic, but it is ridding yourself of some person you know is dragging down your life. A deconversion is long term if you were raised in a certain religion from childhood (at least for me).  This is changing the whole way you view the world.

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I would only add that I still believe in a god of sorts but it is rather ill-defined and I do not have any dogma attached to it.

 

I cannot see atheism as true. But thats me and my own view.

 

I think you seem a bit high strung and so anxiety attacks may be part of your make-up. You do not have to have them but you are inclined to them. You can, I believe, overcome them through cognitive or rational emotive therapy. There is nothing supernatural causing them so please do not see a Christian "counselor". They will do nothing but tempt you to see them as either the holy spirit or the devil bothering you. jesus.gifzDuivel7.gif

 

It is stress caused by religion or leaving religion. Both can be scary, hence the anxiety. Face your own self and your inclination to these attacks but see them as something that can be overcome. Like being lazy, hateful, gossipy or nosy. We can change and you can put these attacks behind you. We all need to grow as humans and to face our fears without medicating (sex, porn, food, dope, entertainment, cigarettes). I think these medications are just a means of avoiding the pain of life. I personally feel better when I overcome pain and grow beyond it rather than medicating. Plus I dont panic when I step on the scale anymore. yellow.gif

 

 

The world social system is stressful and inflicts pain on us all given its mechanized, inorganic nature. We are slotted from childhood into roles designed to make others profit, not to self-actualize. So find your own way, make friends and lean on them as you need to.  10.gif  You can be anxiety free eventually, but that does not mean you will be necessarily.

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