HoneyBib

Religion robbed me of my life

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Hello, I am currently 17 and I have a family history of Chronic anxiety, Panic attacks and Mental breakdowns so I know that I am very likely genetically predisposed to anxiety and panic attacks, my family generation have been religious fundamentals and I am the only athiest in the family right now.

 

Anyway here is my athiest testimony:

 

I was around 10 where I was moved from a Public School due to constant bullying after 3 fantastic bully-free years in it, I was put into a Christian School, I was a an anxiety-free girl up until I was moved into the Christian School where my anxiety-predisposed mind was triggered due to getting constantly taught about the rapture, heaven, hell, God’s will, what to be and what not to be, what to like and what not to like, etc.

 

As a result I become very clingy towards my mother and would follow her around like a shadow, I would panic if she was late picking me up or couldn’t find her anywhere, I was like this all the way from when I was 10 (until I was 16), as a result of the rapture and hell being  pushed in my face all the time by school with the message of “be prepared as it could happen any second from now”, which prevented me from being able to not worry whenever my mother kept trying to reassure me “Don’t worry it will happen long after your gone”.

 

I would get nightmares of being left behind, demons, hell, not-making it and I became too fearful of ever telling my mother about why my fear of the rapture and hell would not leave, I also was too scared to tell her my nightmares as I was scared that I could be damned if I shared dreams that may be prophetic.

 

Fortunately my trembling fear of the rapture and hell never got in the way of me dwelling on the future and I could easily sink in and enjoy a movie, a game, family time,  cooking, going out, etc. and I was very excited to bring home my Ragdoll kitten from the breeders in 2010 and even bring her with us to the new house we moved into in early 2013.

 

But I never knew nor seem to have thought of what could have and would be ahead of me:

 

In mid-2014 when I was 13 I suffered a horrible anxiety that has left deep, mental pain in my heart that will likely last me for life, I was watching Youtube videos on the 3DS early in the morning before school and came across a video of a boy who was blind, I had a feeling not to watch the video but my impulsive temptation and rather poor critical-thinking that I had unknowingly shut off all my life drove me into watching it.

 

During school as I was sitting alone worrying in class amongst all my classmates talking in their conversations with each other I thought about if I could go blind in the future, I had this urge to ask signs and I thought for a second if I should not ask but because I believed that asking for signs and recieving confirmation from God is what you are supposed to do I ended up asking for signs.

 

As I sat in class, inside my head I asked God, “God, will I go blind when I am 50”? and as soon as I changed my mind about asking I coincidentally overheard the word “yes” from many of my classmates (obviously the word ‘yes’ is a common word but I never thought about that at the time) seemingly non-stop conversations, despite the fact that a sane rational person would shrug it off as mere coincidence I was unable to no matter how hard I wrestled with my mind, due to the years of being taught that  “God speaks to us in any way possible and speaks to you constantly whether you realise it or not”.

 

The final nail in the coffin for me was that it was impossible for me to deny the overheard words as just people’s words from conversations I asked God, “God, are you sure?” and just afterwards I happen to overhear the word “I’m sure” from one of the classmates who were talking to someone else in a conversation. I then spent the rest of my day at school not doing work because I kept thinking “God told me I will go blind when im 50”.

 

When school finished I went home that day and kept thinking about it until it was night time where I decided to ask my mother as she was in a happy mood cutting up the vegetables, “Mum, I asked God if I will go blind and I heard the word yes and when I asked him “God, are you sure?” I heard the word “I’m sure” soon after” my mother kindly answered “Don’t be silly, God would not give you bad news” I felt relieved and was about to go back to my usual enjoyment of life until I recalled bible passages such as the one where Joseph interprets the dreams for the 2 imprisoned men and other ones where God does give bad news.

 

So after that day I got worse and worse and went through several months of what could have been the constant feeling of excitement, enthusiasm, freedom, humor, eccentricness and joy was now several months of crying, feeling-trapped, wanting to escape my body, begging God for signs that I won't go blind, regretful feelings, and multiple panic attacks.

 

My anxiety would die down at early 2015 but I could not enjoy life the same since and I was not able to enjoy christmas nor my birthday, I was a completely different person to who I used to be where instead of being the happy, extrovert girl who always tried to make a friend (but often failed or had short-lived friendships) was now a depressed, lonely, introvert who could not enjoy anything as her mind just constantly fixated on this fear with everything she could think of prior to being 13 just eating away at her deep blue heart.

 

Fast forward to early 2016 and I got a little bit better some excitement when I saw the teaser trailer for “Zootopia” that had a fox in it, I always loved foxes and so seeing the trailer  for a movie with a fox as the protagonist was an excitement to me, however while I had many moments of somewhat enjoying life here and there it was no where near the same as it was before I was 13 and I would often cry silently alone at night and curse at myself for my decision I made when I was 13.

 

In 2017 I saw the trailer for the film War for The Planet of the Apes, and out of excitement I asked mum to book a ticket to the cinemas for me and my sister to see it when it came out, by then I had forgotten about my blindness anxiety as semi-enjoying life became the norm, but a month before the movie arrived in cinemas I was sitting alone upstairs on the couch and was thinking of how everyone else were fully enjoying life carefree while I was here, just in the background only being able to partially enjoy and get immersed, I then realised “Hey, it is because of my blindness anxiety I suffered back in mid-2014“.

 

For many days I wrestled with my mind by constantly telling myself “Those “signs” I got back in 2014 are just coincidences where I asked at the wrong time” I managed to relax one night as I was watching some anime on the ps3 (quite unusually I preferred dialogue-heavy ones over action ones), I managed to peacefully overcome my mind by convincing myself that “The signs were just coincidences and God would never do such horrid things”, I managed to peacefully go to sleep feeling at peace until I woke up in the middle of the night itching all over and was unable to get any sleep.

 

So I woke up that morning feeling tired and worried again, I tried to shake off the thought of ‘signs’ as being coincidence but this time just like when I was 13 I couldn’t shake them off as such, I did not want to end up how I was in 2014 all over again and I did not want to put my family through such stress again.

 

So I started asking God to make me see certain cars as signs that I will go blind where I saw a few but most never came, unfortunately I did not think about how “comfirmation bias” can make you inherently dismiss all the misses and focus on the ‘hits’, because I saw a about 2 out of the 12 cars I asked to see as a sign I will go blind I worried at first but then with a lot of mental strength and resistance I decided not to be how I was back in 2014 so I managed to convince myself “I only saw 2 out of 12 cars and God would never tell me such signs, what was I even thinking?” and I dismissed the old testament issue as being “Perhaps God little different in the old testament then changed after Jesus died”.

 

Unfortunately as months ticked by unaware that I was wasting my entire year of 2017 as well as the impending diagnosis of my Seal Point Ragdoll Cat “Honey”’s Kidney Failure that would come in August, I kept obsessively reminding myself “No God does not do this” where I obsessively prayed to God “God, no signs no matter what please” where I obsessively (I had OCD) tried to accurately remember exactly what coincidence happened (e.g. “did I see this before and after or while I imagined asking?”)

 

Though day by day I kept telling myself “I will trust in God no signs no matter what for now on from today” my anxious and Obsessive urge would draw me back into obsessively worrying again instead of kicking back and enjoying life.

 

Then in August of 2017 I was coincidentally thinking of Kidney Failure as I was stroking my relaxed cat Honey, then later on that night after the cat came inside from the backyard (the backyard was fenced off so she could not get out) she came inside tensing her abdomen and moving rather stiffly, we thought she was marking her territory at first but then we realised that something must be wrong with her.

 

So we took her to the vet and they confirmed she had a bladder infection and Chronic Kidney Failure, we were told she was borderline Stage 4 (the final stage of the disease) and would have 18 months to live, I was in shock that our cat who had been so iconic to us is dying, we brought her home that night and my mother asked me if I wanted anything to eat and I told her I need some time to myself upstairs.

 

I went upstairs into my room to wrap my head around it, I then began crying to God “God, why did things have to be this way for me and my family? Why did I have to suffer an anxiety when I was 13 for so long? Why is it that as soon as I am about to become happier something goes wrong?” and I cried alone for 5 minutes until I decided to come out of my room, grab the cat, put her onto my lap where she would affectionately sleep on my lap, and I lied down on the couch and watched season 2 of the anime “Kill La Kill”, I then cried as the credits were playing as I knew that while I was living in the present and Honey was alive with me, I knew that eventually she would die and the night I spent time with her on my lap would become a far away memory just like how the day we adopted Honey was 7 years into the past.

 

Days went by and I promised to spend time with my cat but I couldn’t due to school, my anxiety, and OCD that I was dealing with,  2 months before New Years day 2018 I went out the sunny backyard with the cat and I called her by her name, she came trotting up to me and jumped onto the wooden seat, I went to sit on the wooden seat and I gave her pats as she brushed her fluffy cheeks against my hand, I tried to enjoy spending time with her but knew my OCD and anxiety was getting in the way, I kindly said “Oh Honey, I will spend time with you very soon, dont worry” and I went back inside where as I was walking towards the backyard sliding door, there she was sitting on the wooden seat looking at me as if she was wondering why I didn’t stay to keep patting her.

 

I continued to suffer in silence with my anxiety and OCD, by the time it was the School Christmas Holidays my cat had taken a sudden dip in her health and she became seriously ill and a shadow of her former self, I realised how I had taken too long to spend time with her.

 

On New Years Eve I slept on the armchair next to the Honey who was unconscious and lying on her side on the computer chair, me, my mother, and my sister said farewell to Honey as they went to bed and I hugged my mother and said farewell and Goodnight to Honey as I went to sleep on the armchair.

 

I woke up to see Honey on her side just as the night before but not breathing, I knew she was dead so I prepared her body by curling it in a ball to make it look like she was just having another one of her cozy sleeps, just as I was about to get breakfast my mother woke up, and said with tears “She looks like she is sleeping”, I then took another look at her body and I began crying, I then dug a hole and buried her that day with the last thing to see of her was her bushy brown tail poking out from the dirt in which I then covered up with more dirt as I cried.

 

It has been 7 months after my cat Honey died, I have been grieving on and off since then, a few months ago when I was about to get over her and move on my sister watched a Youtube animatic video that had the ghost of a cat trying to get his owner to notice him, it had the song called “Ghosting” (by Mother Mother) in it, when I saw it, I began crying over my cat, and to this day I would often sadly think of the times when she was alive, the missed opportunity to spend quality time with her, the previous house I used to live in that had a golden sunny shine through the large tall golden window, and many of my childhood memories of my life.

 

And then 2 months ago I came across articles of why God is not real and it convinced me enough to lose my already withered faith in Christianity - I became an athiest, this threw a bigger punch to my heart as I then realised I all long I was alone and talking to an imaginary friend, I realised how I had been paranoid of the rapture for all my life, then suffered the blindness anxiety at 13 which would have been avoided had I realised with all my questioning and intelligence at the age of 10 or 12 that God was not real.

 

I knew that had I avoided blindness anxiety I therefore could have carried on with my happy life I used to have, spend quality time with my cat, and I would not have to worry but perhaps be comforted by the possibility of Nietzsche’s Eternal Return being real.

 

I feel doomed, trapped, helpless, I know I am not myself anymore, I feel trapped in a past event that is not changeable, I feel nervous and stressed as the thoughts play in my head, “What happens after death? does time repeat and therefore I repeat my life with the exact same stresses and everything all over again? (Nietzche’s Eternal Return), “What if there is a hell? How can I comprehend experiencing something like I am right now and then experience nothing and remember nothing after I die?”

 

for the past 2 months I feel surreal and far away from my old self as images of the house I used to live in, my childhood, my old personality, my hobbies, my joys, my cat, my anxiety, flashes in my head while that “Ghosting” song plays in my head, I can barely sleep and I wake up in the middle of the night with constant flashes of my life prior to my blindness anxiety, I experience imaginary hopeful scenarios of me changing the past where I don’t ask for signs or become an athiest prior to being 13.

 

I find that everything I used to enjoy (such as video games, online games, drawing, writing, reading, spending time with family, going out, and everything else I used to love listening to (such as Coldplay, Potbeleez, etc.) now reminds me of my life prior to the horrible months of agonising anxiety and I feel like I am different to everyone else like I am just standing alone amongst a blurred crowed of happy joyful people.

 

I am currently waiting for counselling (which is 2 months away) I am trying to wrap my head around how I suffered such an anxiety when I was 13 all over a lie I was taught to believe from when I was a baby, and how I missed every opportunity to spend time with my cat and form a bond with her all because of a fairy tale.

 

I know that had I never been indoctrinated into religion I would have lived an anxiety-free life and being 13 would have been the best year of my life where I would spend the  years following that year with more joy, more learning, and quality tome with my now deceased Cat “Honey”.

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Seek help from a secular mental health professional of your choice.

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I currently am seeking help from a secular mental health professional, but the wait is 2 months, it does not fix the damage that has been done to me by both religion and possibly by me.

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12 minutes ago, HoneyBib said:

I currently am seeking help from a secular mental health professional, but the wait is 2 months, it does not fix the damage that has been done to me by both religion and possibly by me.

 

Such perceived damage can be successfully managed and often completely healed.  Be patient.

 

Mental illness is usually caused by chemical imbalances in the human brain.  Although effects of religious dogmas and personal action can aggravate the condition, they can also mitigate them.  Again, be patient.  Acquire tools to help you with the hard work of healing.

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Hi HoneyBib,

I'm sorry for all that you've been through!  So many of us here have experienced a lot of anxiety while we were Christians.... Like you shared - worrying about being damned...  For me, I became fearful that if I didn't give away enough money to the poor, God would be displeased with me... I couldn't enjoy anything that i spent money on because of the guilt and fear....  And I would obsess constantly whether I was sinning at that moment and pray compulsively for forgiveness.  And pray again in case I wasn't genuine a second ago!!

 

Anyway, I am proud of you for realizing all that you have at such a young age.  You are really smart and perceptive.  Despite your fears, you have a deep inner strength - a place inside you that is only yours.  That is great!

 

You are going to be ok!  You will have an amazing life.  

 

Remember that while you are in an anxious place, your mind can trick you.  It makes you think that you are feeling anxious BECAUSE of all these seemingly real things to fear... But in reality, you are coming up with things to fear BECAUSE you are already anxious.  Does that make sense?

 

Try not to listen to the worrisome questions your brain is coming up with right now.  Just trust that:

- these anxious times will pass

- you are strong

- you will experience joy and peace

 

Even that fear of death that we all have will mellow when you are less anxious over all.  It's interesing to remember that old people tend to be LESS worried about death than younger folks.  Somehow we make peace with it.  You will too - just don't obsess right now.

 

Eat healthy things, get plenty of rest, exercise, and get some sun.  Get busy living 😃

 

We're here for you. 

 

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Welcome to the forum HoneyBib. 

 

It's very easy to look back on your life and think you know which ways it'd have been different if you'd done things "right", and feel so much regret and shame. I've done so much of that, sometimes I feel like I have nothing but regret over most of the first 30 years of my life!

 

The thing is, we honestly don't know this stuff. We can't remove one major factor, such as religion, and know how everything else is (or isn't) affected by that. Maybe something else would have come up in between you and your dear cat. Maybe you would have come across some other random video and landed with something else to fear than going blind. Maybe something really big would have come up anyway to rob you of the joy of life. Maybe not - we can't know, it's a different path, and we can't really see how it's like. 

 

Counseling won't erase the past, but it can be very helpful in ways you don't expect yet. All the best to you. 

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Welcome to the forums!

 

It's good that you're seeking professional help. In the meantime,  try not to be too pessimistic. Most of your life is still ahead of you.  There's plenty of time to improve your situation,  and your mental well-being. We can't change the past, but we can learn to live with it,  and,  in time,  to be ok with it. Best of luck, and let us know if we can help.

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Welcome to X-Xian @HoneyBib! I'm sorry you have to deal with so much anxiety! Your mind can play all sorts of tricks on you. I hope you know there is so much more life ahead of you and these things can be overcome. 

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It triggered true mental illness in many people. It causes some of us to be delusional and why should it not? The entire premise is a mass delusion. You have to believe someone raised himself up from the dead! Once you get past that, well, the idea that God can do terrible things just cuz is a no brainer. 

 

I also have mental lllness from religion only I live in a country where there is almost no mental health care for certain populations. So I cannot get it treated. It is very hard because there is nothing I can do about it. 

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Welcome Honeybib 💕 A good place to get psychological support is from Marlene Winell. She is a psychologist and a membr of ExChristian.net.  Marlenewinell@journeyfree.org.  Check out her website. When you sign up with her she'll send you notifications of her live webinar conferences. She will also contact you by phone.

 

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4 minutes ago, JenniferG said:

Welcome Honeybib 💕 A good place to get psychological support is from Marlene Winell. She is a psychologist and a membr of ExChristian.net.  Marlenewinell@journeyfree.org.  Check out her website. When you sign up with her she'll send you notifications of her live webinar conferences. She will also contact you by phone.

 

Here's another website with Marlene's contact details: http://marlenewinell.net/recovery-harmful-religion

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Hi @HoneyBib,

 

I’m sorry that you are going through hard times, panic attacks really suck. I suffer from them too, my brain sometimes feels like a hall of mirrors. It turns out that I have anxiety about having anxiety!

 

I consider myself fortunate to live in the 21st century in a developed country with access to psychologists and pharmaceuticals.

 

It took me 45 years to find my way out of the religious indoctrination, you are braver and wiser than I was at your age.

 

Hang in there and please keep posting x

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On 8/1/2018 at 10:42 PM, sdelsolray said:

 

Such perceived damage can be successfully managed and often completely healed.  Be patient.

 

Mental illness is usually caused by chemical imbalances in the human brain.  Although effects of religious dogmas and personal action can aggravate the condition, they can also mitigate them.  Again, be patient.  Acquire tools to help you with the hard work of healing.

 

Also look into vitamin and mineral deficiencies as well as hormonal imbalances (lady hormones especially imbalances in estrogen and progesterone can cause anxiety issues as well). Those can also play a huge role.And I agree that she can definitely come out of this.

 

To the OP: Religion may have robbed you of your childhood, but you are still very young. You have a lot of life ahead of you to live on your own terms. And I know it doesn't seem like it right now, but things will get better. You are stronger than you think. The reason I know that is that you've made it to this point.

 

For me I've found yoga, exercise, healthy diet, sunlight, proper sleep schedule very very helpful. Whatever tools you decide to utilize to aid in healing will be up to you but there really are ways to heal from this.

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