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Atheism And Depression


directionless
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I'm depressed a lot so maybe that is part of the problem, but atheism makes me feel worse.

 

I've noticed:

- When I'm depressed I feel a yearning to believe in something more than the grey world around me, but I can't believe in anything.

- When I'm not depressed I feel more hopeful that God might exist, but I also can appreciate life without God too.

 

Another problem with atheism: some experiences are inspiring to me, but atheism tells me they are hallucinations, coincidences, ... meaningless.

 

Anybody else feel this way?

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My experience was the opposite.  I think Christianity was causing my depression.  I can't say I have been upbeat ever since but it's 95% better.

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Depression sucks.  I am lucky enough to have never experienced it, but I know people that have and it is not something that I would wish upon my worst enemy.

 

I am very sorry to hear that something that has made my life immensely better has made yours worse.  Do you see a professional to help you out?  If not, I cannot overstate the importance of doing so. 

 

Atheism is simply one part of your life, one brick in the building that is your character.  Whatever it "tells you" as you put it needs to be tempered with everything else that makes you you.  Your experiences aren't meaningless, even if there is an explanation for them, even if that explanation seems unsavory.   Your experiences, and what you learn from them, more than anything else define who you are, that can not be meaningless no matter what any part of your worldview tries to tell you.

 

Theists try to evaluate everything through their "god-goggles".  Based on what you have said above you seem to be doing the opposite, trying to see it all through "no-god goggles".  Take them off if you can.  They are not necessary.  Learn from your experiences, get the appropriate help for your problems and form your own conclusions based on your interpretation of the evidence.  Don't feel like you need to conform to anyone's definition of whatever way that you define yourself.

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Guest afireinside

What can be more depressing than religion?

 

Everyone's going to hell and there's bad shit happening and the orchestrator of suffering doesn't intervene for the good of his creation but rather sits in judgement licking his lips at each soul he intends to draw to the grave- through disease, starvation, suicide, disaster, war and all the evil he created-and incinerate continuously for ever. Why? Just fucking because

 

Does religion alleviate depression? Does petrol extinguish fire?

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I'm depressed a lot so maybe that is part of the problem, but atheism makes me feel worse.

 

I've noticed:

- When I'm depressed I feel a yearning to believe in something more than the grey world around me, but I can't believe in anything.

- When I'm not depressed I feel more hopeful that God might exist, but I also can appreciate life without God too.

 

Another problem with atheism: some experiences are inspiring to me, but atheism tells me they are hallucinations, coincidences, ... meaningless.

 

Anybody else feel this way?

 

you don't have to wait for a god or anyone to paint the world a different color other than grey. That world is what YOU make of it and only you. You are in charge (and always have been in reality) for how you view the world and what "colors" you want to see it it. The change in views on your religion or what have you I am sure make it hard sometimes to see anything but grey. I promise there is a whole world of colors out there to experience and gather to yourself.

 

Why might I ask when you are less depressed does that help to make you believe that god might exist more? I am just curious of the motivation behind that feeling.

 

I have loads of experiences in life that are wonderful and crazy and seem to defy reality. Just because I don't always understand them does not mean they are hallucinations or magic. It could just mean I don't have all the answers and that in itself gives me a reason to find a meaning for them or at least a reason (generally scientific in my case) they happened or exist. Find a new meaning for them.

 

This is not an issue with being an atheist it is an issue with the conflict of the two ways you are seeing the world. Give it time and effort, seek new meanings and outlooks on those things that seem so grey and meaningless. Let them come from within. From within is always the place the best answers come from. That voice you hear when you are calm in your head is you, and you can live for you and not a god in just as colorful and meaninfull a way as with one. Believe in yourself.

 

By the way are you just depressed about religion or lack of or is it deeper and more clinical?

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If you have been depressed before, it is likely you are experiencing depression now too and while before you had all sorts of activities that somehow promised a reward, you are now left with yourself. When I left christianity I felt so overwhelmed by this emptiness that I had filled with praying, reading the bible, singing songs etc. I felt like it was all just grey and meaningless. It was a dark and not really good time.

 

Then came the best time I had so far in my whole life. Unfortunately somehow I crawled back into my shell and I could not find out why so far. Or actually I did just the past two weeks. I do the same coping mechanisms as I did when in religion but now there is no religion attached to it. So I have to deal with all the emptiness and depression without the medicine of reading my bible and building up fake hope in order to make it through the day. And this feels quite lonely a lot of times.

 

I think you can see religion like drugs. You where taking them for so long and they where helping you but at the same time they had severe side effects. Now that you are not taking them anymore you have to deal with the issues instead of numbing your senses. And that is hard to do especially when alone.

 

And I would not say atheism is telling you about something to be meaningful or meaningless. If something inspires you in a healthy and good way, just be inspired by it and you don't have to give anyone credit except for yourself because it is your unique personality. Now with hallucinations I think it is a little tricky because it implies that there is something not quite right with your brain. And that is science that tells you this and not atheism. Is it possible you somehow want to give those experiences meaning because you don't want them to stop? Like you are afraid of losing some part of yourself when taking care of that issue? Is hallucinating a way of escaping life as it happens? (And note, I am no expert in those things and these are just some questions that pop up in my mind).

 

I deal with depression too and they are sometime more intense then others. Sometime they get to the point I feel completely lost and lonely and feel like I am the weirdest person on this planet and no one tells me how weird I actually am. Other days it is more in the back but when people ask me how I am I ALWAYS lie when I say good. Because good is different. But back in my religious days I tried to overcome depression by religious activity. And while that did help it never got to the root of the problem. It was the same kind of help that getting a hobby and be creative or productive is offering. Only that if you still felt depressed at the end of the day you felt guilty for being depressed...

 

I think you look for reasons at the wrong places. As I understand your depression has been there with and without religion. So religion has nothing to do with it. But religion gave you some relieve. Because it created a sense of hope. A sense of community maybe if you attended organized meetings. A sense of security maybe...etc. But those where only illusions. You can have the same with any other ideology. I knew once a guy who was a dedicated punk. So here punk's are the most left wing you can imagine. Then later on I saw him with the neo-nazi crowd...so how did this happen? I think for the same reasons you think Christianity has given you something valuable. He was not really looking for an ideology. He just picked the ideology that came with a sense of community, value, security and other psychological benefits.

 

Now what atheism is telling you is: You are responsible for your life. You can look for reasons of why you feel depressed and hallucinate etc. in tangible ways and not explaining them with a higher being etc. You can get the help that is available due to science. You can be sober and the awesome person you actually are with all your struggles. And it is OK to feel depressed. It is not your fault to feel that way. It has to do with your chemicals and that might be just genetic or it might be due to childhood and young adult brain development influenced by bad parenting or whatever. You did all you could all your life to be a good person. That is what atheism tells you. I would say that is a good message :D.

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directionless, I sympathize with you very much. There is a sentence from page 449 of the 'big book' of alcoholics anonymous that states this:

 

  • And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation -- some fact of my life -- unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.

The greatest frustrations I face are those in which I want to change certain things about life that I can't. I've had to learn which situations I can change and which ones I can't. It was raining last week when I wanted it to be sunny. I caught myself becoming so frustrated and then I asked myself that question....Can I change this? I knew I couldn't so I might as well change my attitude a little or I would remain miserable.

 

I cannot change a lot of things on this earth including the fact that I do not believe in a personal god anymore. Everyday, I must get up and make minute decisions on what I can change and what I can't. This helps me a lot in my own times of depression. I think sometimes, its really hard to accept some of the 'realities' of life...that is always my biggest struggle. When I start to accept a situation the way it is, I can relax a little and move on to something that does not frustrate me. I try to go concentrate on something that brings me a little pleasure in life. I try to live my life like this now and I go day by day.

 

Try hard to fit some pleasurable things into your day to off set any frustrations that you cannot change today. Once, I fully understood that you cannot change people and certain situations, I am able to breathe a little better. Go do something really nice for yourself today my friend.

 

New Serenity Prayer:

 

Self, grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference. 

 

Hug

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directionless, I sympathize with you very much. There is a sentence from page 449 of the 'big book' of alcoholics anonymous that states this:

 

  • And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation -- some fact of my life -- unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.

 

That's a beautiful perspective, and speaks to me too. 

 

When I think about it, and how hard I've tried to change myself to be the "all perfect person", it doesn't provide any fulfillment. Being religious has a lot to answer for this - "fixing" other people, rather than just accepting them for who they are. I seem to recall that was Hitler's approach as well.

 

More to think about. And @directionless, can really sympathize, my own family struggles with this a lot. I hope you find peace with it.

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I occasionally deal with depression as well. When I realized I was an atheist the depression did seem to kind of swell up. However I think it is getting better. It is important for me to continue doing things I found meaningful as a christian. I have to remind myself that I still find things like exercise, music, art and friends meaningful because they actually ARE meaningful to ME. I have a tendency to "shut off" when I get depressed and recognizing that and deciding to get up and do something-even if it's just going for a walk in the park-is very helpful in preventing feelings of meaninglessness and helplessness.

 

 

The main thing that has been difficult for me is having friends. Almost all my friends are Christians and I only ever really saw them at church events. Now that I don't involve myself with church I often feel distanced and lonely. I'm learning to make more of an effort to connect with people. I'm also recognizing who actually cares about me.

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I'm depressed a lot so maybe that is part of the problem, but atheism makes me feel worse.

 

I've noticed:

- When I'm depressed I feel a yearning to believe in something more than the grey world around me, but I can't believe in anything.

- When I'm not depressed I feel more hopeful that God might exist, but I also can appreciate life without God too.

 

Another problem with atheism: some experiences are inspiring to me, but atheism tells me they are hallucinations, coincidences, ... meaningless.

 

Anybody else feel this way?

Sometimes I ask for assistance from my own personally created spirits to handle some imaginary issue causing me anxiety. Imaginary beings combating imaginary problems. Using illogic to quell illogic. :) Works for me.

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directionless: I wish I had the answer to depression. I have suffered from it for a long time. Medication has

helped me significantly. Although I still get depressed, it is so much less. Why don't you see a good psychiatrist and see if medication will help. It has helped a lot of people. bill

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Dogmatic religion isn't all that there is to the idea of God and supernatural. Nor is the simple 'no'.

 

I, too, find joy in those thoughts (and many other things wishful), despite (or possibly because of) not having any idea of what there actually is, except me and my perceptions.

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Thanks, everybody, for those replies. smile.png Sorry to be so sluggish acknowledging them. For some reason I can't get motivated to write much. There are some good thoughts in those replies, so I want to write something back - if nothing else to show that I appreciate the effort people took to write. I don't know what is wrong with me right now.

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Margee,

Thanks for posting the New Serenity Prayer (# 8) above

 

New Serenity Prayer:

 

Self, grant me the serenity

 

to accept the things I cannot change;

courage to change the things I can;

and wisdom to know the difference.

 

Peace,

 

+ Human

 

Thanks Human...it's the only way I know how to live now. Helps me a lot!! The shit that life can throw at you, if one dosen't have a half decent attitude..you can sink real fast. I cannot let that happen. As busy as I am, I am starting to enjoy life. My husbands favorite saying is: ''It is what it is''. That's good too!!

 

Hug

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Hugs from me directionless

 

And don't feel obligated to respond if you don't feel like...but also don't feel like you have to retire and deal with your sorrows on your own.

 

And I too like the: "It is what it is" or "This too shall pass". Only problem...sometimes it won't pass and that is when it is good to have a forum like this one and if possible other sources of help. Hang in there sleep.png

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I've been much less depressed since I lost religion.

 

That said, a lot of people think they need faith to feel wonder or find meaning. You really don't. In fact, I find the wonders of nature even more profound without the whole "God did it" simplification behind it. I find social interaction more fulfilling, and generally enjoy life more.

 

The trick is to stop telling yourself that stuff can't be awesome without an invisible sky man. Nothing becomes less profound because there is a lack of invisible spirit being involved. Relationships, nature, existence, and life are just as profound and meaningful without him, if not more so. It means a lot that you don't have to share priority with God or religious functions. You don't have to split your attention between the people you care about and the things you want to do and religious responsibilities. You are free to devote all of your attention on the things that are really important to you and that's a good thing that can make those things even more fulfilling.

 

The idea that the world is "grey" or otherwise lessened without stupid beliefs is an anxiety created by faith in religious belief. The doctrine constantly tells you that life without God has no meaning or that the world and existence is bleak without absurd faiths. It's one of the ways it keeps it's claws in people and it is absolutely false.

 

It's easy to sit around and get all emo while thinking about how awful and bleak the universe is without a magic sky man to see to your needs and protect you from pretend evils that threaten your magic and eternal inner spirit self that probably doesn't exist to begin with.

 

To be honest, the idea that we might be "eternal" and "live forever" is both absurd and horrifying. Even in Paradise it would suck beyond belief after a while. Humans aren't wired to "exist" for that long.

 

Atheism isn't the same as being goth and emo. You don't have to stop thinking things are beautiful, denounce kindness or wonder, or stop enjoying your life and good company. The world did not become less wondrous or amazing without God. If anything, it's become more amazing and wondrous. The true scope of it all becomes clearer and the complexity even more impressive without "God did it" to brush away real explanation.

 

If you're depressed, seek help. Go to a doctor or get some therapy and see about getting yourself stable. Don't sit around wallowing in your own misery and writing bad poetry about death and misery. Get out of the house and do stuff, go to a movie, visit a park, go out with friends. Get on top of depression and deal with it. Beat it back and figure out that the reasons you're depressed are as much bullshit as Jesus was.

 

Christianity creates self loathing, it invites depression. Getting out is a good step to get away from it, but you can't just stop in the doorway. Take the next step and get out into the world and see it for what it really is. It's not nearly as gloomy as you seem to believe, and it's certainly not going to be any better with faith in an imaginary sky man. It's not all sunshine and rainbows, but it isn't that with Jesus either. The shit is still just as shitty with him as without him, and the beauty is just as impressive without giving him credit for it as well.

 

If the world really seems that bleak to you, it's not a problem caused by Atheism, it's a problem caused by your former faith drilling the lie that the world is a meaningless and dreary place without magic Jesus sunrays making everything wondrous into your head repeatedly over the years. They did it to intentionally cause doubt and fear in those who might drift away such as yourself, not to make people who are in the faith already feel better about it. It was a deliberate attempt to screw with your head.

 

This is one of the biggest reasons why I dislike religion so much. These harmful bullshit mind games they pull. The average worshiper is unaware of it or how it works. It's worked into the culture and hidden quite cleverly in the teachings, but the church itself knows damn well what it's doing, and it's doing it intentionally. It really pisses me off.

 

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I haven't been on in a while, but I came back because I was just feeling at an utter loss when I thought about death being the end of me. It's just hard for me to comprehend sometimes, especially given my raise (obviously Christian). This forum definitely gave me a lot to think about and made me feel a bit better. Thanks everyone!   wub.png

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I've been much less depressed since I lost religion.

 

That said, a lot of people think they need faith to feel wonder or find meaning. You really don't. In fact, I find the wonders of nature even more profound without the whole "God did it" simplification behind it. I find social interaction more fulfilling, and generally enjoy life more.

 

The trick is to stop telling yourself that stuff can't be awesome without an invisible sky man. Nothing becomes less profound because there is a lack of invisible spirit being involved. Relationships, nature, existence, and life are just as profound and meaningful without him, if not more so. It means a lot that you don't have to share priority with God or religious functions. You don't have to split your attention between the people you care about and the things you want to do and religious responsibilities. You are free to devote all of your attention on the things that are really important to you and that's a good thing that can make those things even more fulfilling.

 

The idea that the world is "grey" or otherwise lessened without stupid beliefs is an anxiety created by faith in religious belief. The doctrine constantly tells you that life without God has no meaning or that the world and existence is bleak without absurd faiths. It's one of the ways it keeps it's claws in people and it is absolutely false.

 

It's easy to sit around and get all emo while thinking about how awful and bleak the universe is without a magic sky man to see to your needs and protect you from pretend evils that threaten your magic and eternal inner spirit self that probably doesn't exist to begin with.

 

To be honest, the idea that we might be "eternal" and "live forever" is both absurd and horrifying. Even in Paradise it would suck beyond belief after a while. Humans aren't wired to "exist" for that long.

 

Atheism isn't the same as being goth and emo. You don't have to stop thinking things are beautiful, denounce kindness or wonder, or stop enjoying your life and good company. The world did not become less wondrous or amazing without God. If anything, it's become more amazing and wondrous. The true scope of it all becomes clearer and the complexity even more impressive without "God did it" to brush away real explanation.

 

If you're depressed, seek help. Go to a doctor or get some therapy and see about getting yourself stable. Don't sit around wallowing in your own misery and writing bad poetry about death and misery. Get out of the house and do stuff, go to a movie, visit a park, go out with friends. Get on top of depression and deal with it. Beat it back and figure out that the reasons you're depressed are as much bullshit as Jesus was.

 

Christianity creates self loathing, it invites depression. Getting out is a good step to get away from it, but you can't just stop in the doorway. Take the next step and get out into the world and see it for what it really is. It's not nearly as gloomy as you seem to believe, and it's certainly not going to be any better with faith in an imaginary sky man. It's not all sunshine and rainbows, but it isn't that with Jesus either. The shit is still just as shitty with him as without him, and the beauty is just as impressive without giving him credit for it as well.

 

If the world really seems that bleak to you, it's not a problem caused by Atheism, it's a problem caused by your former faith drilling the lie that the world is a meaningless and dreary place without magic Jesus sunrays making everything wondrous into your head repeatedly over the years. They did it to intentionally cause doubt and fear in those who might drift away such as yourself, not to make people who are in the faith already feel better about it. It was a deliberate attempt to screw with your head.

 

This is one of the biggest reasons why I dislike religion so much. These harmful bullshit mind games they pull. The average worshiper is unaware of it or how it works. It's worked into the culture and hidden quite cleverly in the teachings, but the church itself knows damn well what it's doing, and it's doing it intentionally. It really pisses me off.

 

 

you didn't lose anything. you gained back control over you. I know it probably does not help but don't feel like you are the lose in this. Feel like the winner because you actually are. You just won back your mental freedom.

 

edit:

 

and I totally misread that and thought you said you were more depressed. My bad. Still you are the winner you gained for sure. Losing is what all those slaved to their faith still are doing. Losing the chance to be who they really are. Sounds like you are moving the right direction.

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Hugs from me directionless

 

And don't feel obligated to respond if you don't feel like...but also don't feel like you have to retire and deal with your sorrows on your own.

 

And I too like the: "It is what it is" or "This too shall pass". Only problem...sometimes it won't pass and that is when it is good to have a forum like this one and if possible other sources of help. Hang in there sleep.png

Thanks, moanareina. smile.png I feel better this morning. Usually these depressed moods only last a few days for me. Technically I don't even have clinical depression, because the duration is too short. That's lucky for me. I can't imagine how hard it must be for people who deal with those feelings for months.

 

However, getting depressed frequently for just a few days gives me an opportunity to notice the way that my beliefs and perception of the world depend on my mood.

 

I've noticed that my mood determines my religious beliefs. When I'm depressed my existence seems meaningless and I wish for something else. About 10 years ago I would become obsessed with solving the mystery of UFOs when I was depressed. In the last few years, I have replaced UFOs with Christianity and supernatural. So it reminds me of your earlier mention of the friend who switched from a punk group to a neo-Nazi group.

 

But when I'm depressed I don't believe in God. Or if I believe in God, all I feel is anger and bitterness towards him.

 

Then when the depression ends, I feel thankful and who can I thank but God? But at the same time, I don't need God, UFO conspiracies, and supernatural possibilities so much when I'm feeling normal. If I believe in God, it is simply to thank him for things. I am o.k. with atheism too.

 

So my religious outlooks depends on my mood. Actually my outlook on everything depends on my mood. I wonder if other people notice that?

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I haven't been on in a while, but I came back because I was just feeling at an utter loss when I thought about death being the end of me. It's just hard for me to comprehend sometimes, especially given my raise (obviously Christian). This forum definitely gave me a lot to think about and made me feel a bit better. Thanks everyone!   wub.png

I can sympathize with the worries about death. I used to wake up in a panic because it seemed like I could almost see death right in front of me like looking over a cliff into the unknown.

 

I hope you are not facing any deaths for yourself or loved ones that is making you think about it more than normal.

 

This brings up another example of how atheism robs me of things that help me. One reason I'm not as scared of death is because I had a dream where it seemed like I died and met a light that I believed was Jesus who seemed to see some good in me. That dream made me feel less worried about death. (BTW I have never been worried about hell; it's the uncertainty.) So atheism tells me this was just a silly dream, but it helped me. On the other hand, I don't know how Jesus could exist either. Christianity doesn't quite work.

 

Anyway I hope you feel better.

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Hugs from me directionless

 

And don't feel obligated to respond if you don't feel like...but also don't feel like you have to retire and deal with your sorrows on your own.

 

And I too like the: "It is what it is" or "This too shall pass". Only problem...sometimes it won't pass and that is when it is good to have a forum like this one and if possible other sources of help. Hang in there sleep.png

Thanks, moanareina. smile.png I feel better this morning. Usually these depressed moods only last a few days for me. Technically I don't even have clinical depression, because the duration is too short. That's lucky for me. I can't imagine how hard it must be for people who deal with those feelings for months.

 

However, getting depressed frequently for just a few days gives me an opportunity to notice the way that my beliefs and perception of the world depend on my mood.

 

I've noticed that my mood determines my religious beliefs. When I'm depressed my existence seems meaningless and I wish for something else. About 10 years ago I would become obsessed with solving the mystery of UFOs when I was depressed. In the last few years, I have replaced UFOs with Christianity and supernatural. So it reminds me of your earlier mention of the friend who switched from a punk group to a neo-Nazi group.

 

But when I'm depressed I don't believe in God. Or if I believe in God, all I feel is anger and bitterness towards him.

 

Then when the depression ends, I feel thankful and who can I thank but God? But at the same time, I don't need God, UFO conspiracies, and supernatural possibilities so much when I'm feeling normal. If I believe in God, it is simply to thank him for things. I am o.k. with atheism too.

 

So my religious outlooks depends on my mood. Actually my outlook on everything depends on my mood. I wonder if other people notice that?

 

 

Hm...you say usually...so how often you have those episodes and now intense are they?

 

And I hope this isn't sounding rude or so but there are some questions coming up in my mind when I read your lines.

You say you feel thankful and you don't know who to thank for but God when you get out of a depressed episode. So you think God got you out of it? Or why would you need to thank him for this? And if so, why did he let the depressed episode happen in the first place? Why did he not get you out of it earlier? To me this sounds a little like a child that is thankful that daddy stopped beating it up.

 

Why does being thankful has to be directed at someone? Why does being thankful has to be directed at God?

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Hm...you say usually...so how often you have those episodes and now intense are they?

I wish I could take objective measurements. When I think I'm feeling a certain way, how does that compare to somebody else? Sometimes I wonder if there is absolutely nothing wrong with me except that I whine too much.

 

But on your question, every day is up and down. When I wake up I feel distracted and my thoughts go in circles for the first few hours. Often I space-out staring at my keyboard and sometimes that helps me feel better. By lunch time I'm usually more productive. (Luckily I work in a family business, so nobody can fire me. smile.png ) I exercise after work whenever possible and that makes me feel peaceful and happy and tired.

 

Probably every two weeks I have a day or two where I can't get suicide off my mind. I would never commit suicide, but sometimes it seems like I wish I could. Life seems so pointless. Especially for an atheist. I cease to exist. Everybody who would be hurt ceases to exist eventually. Why not? When I'm in that mood, I would like to nuke the whole planet just to show how I feel about life. Usually if I skip exercising for a couple of days, I will start going down into one of these experiences.

 

I've had the depression problem all my life, but luckily it isn't constant like it is for some people. In college I discovered exercise makes it go away, so that is very good. When I tried antidepressants they made me feel terrible, so I'm afraid to try them again.

 

The last few years, I've been recovering from a short psychotic episode. There is more distracted thoughts and anxiety now where it used to be only depression. I think the psychosis is gone, but it left a lot of screwy memories and ideas that I need to set aside.

 

I don't think atheism causes depression, but it offers nothing to help a person out of depression. There are billions of humans on Earth and probably billions of other Earths. We all die and decay. To be honest, Christianity never helped with depression either, but it didn't seem quite so bleak.

 

(Sorry to blabber on. You can see why the therapists find me so exasperating. smile.png )

 

And I hope this isn't sounding rude or so but there are some questions coming up in my mind when I read your lines.

You say you feel thankful and you don't know who to thank for but God when you get out of a depressed episode. So you think God got you out of it? Or why would you need to thank him for this? And if so, why did he let the depressed episode happen in the first place? Why did he not get you out of it earlier? To me this sounds a little like a child that is thankful that daddy stopped beating it up.

 

Why does being thankful has to be directed at someone? Why does being thankful has to be directed at God?

That is a good point when you explain it that way. smile.png I guess it's just a habit from growing up as a Christian. But it does seem silly.

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Depression sucks.  I am lucky enough to have never experienced it, but I know people that have and it is not something that I would wish upon my worst enemy.

 

I am very sorry to hear that something that has made my life immensely better has made yours worse.  Do you see a professional to help you out?  If not, I cannot overstate the importance of doing so. 

 

Atheism is simply one part of your life, one brick in the building that is your character.  Whatever it "tells you" as you put it needs to be tempered with everything else that makes you you.  Your experiences aren't meaningless, even if there is an explanation for them, even if that explanation seems unsavory.   Your experiences, and what you learn from them, more than anything else define who you are, that can not be meaningless no matter what any part of your worldview tries to tell you.

 

Theists try to evaluate everything through their "god-goggles".  Based on what you have said above you seem to be doing the opposite, trying to see it all through "no-god goggles".  Take them off if you can.  They are not necessary.  Learn from your experiences, get the appropriate help for your problems and form your own conclusions based on your interpretation of the evidence.  Don't feel like you need to conform to anyone's definition of whatever way that you define yourself.

Thanks, those are good suggestions. I like the term "no-god goggles". smile.png

 

It seems like part of being an atheist is wearing "no-god googles". Maybe it's actually "naturalism goggles". I think science is founded on the assumption that naturalism is at least mostly true (otherwise science would be less useful). And modern culture is founded on science and naturalism. I often feel that Christians and other supposedly religious people are actually wearing "naturalism goggles" because that is modern culture.

 

When I'm feeling o.k., I can appreciate the beauty in the natural world, but when I'm depressed I can't appreciate this beauty.

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My experience was the opposite.  I think Christianity was causing my depression.  I can't say I have been upbeat ever since but it's 95% better.

 

I've heard other people say the same thing about Christianity. I suspect if I had been a more serious Christian, then it would have been stressful and depressing. I was one of those people that never went to church or read the Bible, but I kind of sort of believed in God sometimes. I'm still that way a little bit.

 

What can be more depressing than religion?

 

Everyone's going to hell and there's bad shit happening and the orchestrator of suffering doesn't intervene for the good of his creation but rather sits in judgement licking his lips at each soul he intends to draw to the grave- through disease, starvation, suicide, disaster, war and all the evil he created-and incinerate continuously for ever. Why? Just fucking because

 

Does religion alleviate depression? Does petrol extinguish fire?

I believed 99.99999% of people would go to heaven no matter what they believed or did, so hell never bothered me. But even with universal salvation there are the other problems you mentioned.

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When I tried antidepressants they made me feel terrible, so I'm afraid to try them again.

 

This is understandable, but there are many different types of meds available now and it would be a shame to write them all off based on one experience of a med that might have been completely different to other options.  Which med was it, and how long did you take it for?  What were the negative side effects?  

 

The fact that exercise helps your mood suggests your brain responds to chemical changes, so it is logical that it may also respond positively to meds, as long as you can find the right ones, and take it/them for long enough to get past side effects and into positive effects.

 

It's also possible to see a psychiatrist and get an accurate diagnosis, which can be very helpful even if you don't try meds.  A good psychiatrist will also be able to offer a range of treatment options that don't involve meds, if that's what you prefer.

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