Religion and Mental Health
**I’m going to preface this post with an disclaimer. If you are a religious person I am not attacking you, your beliefs or your religion. I am just sharing my experiences. That is all. Also please do not attack me in the comments or attempt to convince me that I am wrong.**
Growing up in church I never thought in all my life that I would have lose my faith. My mom took my brother and I to Sunday school every week, enrolled us in vacation Bible school every summer and read us Bible stories at home.
I took being a Christian pretty seriously. I was encouraged to not be lukewarm about my faith but rather to be passionate about it.
In high school I remember reading a devotional about the importance of putting God and others before yourself. I had always had poor self-esteem so my depressed, self-critical mind understood this in an over the top way. I comprehended it as that I am not important at all and that I should do whatever I can to help others even if it’s at the expense of my feelings/health.
I went to a relatively small Christian college because I wanted to learn the trade of journalism as well as grow in my faith.
In my second year I took theology with one of my favorite professors. Towards the end of the semester I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t actually sure about Christianity anymore. I was devastated because I thought my foundation was so strong, but it cracked in two.
For two years I searched to find my faith. I spoke with friends and Biblical/theological scholars; I took numerous classes and read many books. I could not grasp what I once had so after graduation I gave up.
I struggled to understand the world through a skeptic’s eyes which is quite different from how a Christian views the world. I had to figure out what I believed now that I was a non-religious individual.
I have found value in myself, given myself permission to rest and I don’t have to live up to a “higher being’s” expectations of me that I would never meet.
I am content in my skepticism and have no desire to go back to Christianity. I have found strength within myself to cope with mental illness and get through issues on my own. I believe in my own power which is something I never did before.
Since I always ask a question at the end, I won’t make this one any different. How has religion helped/hindered your mental health journey?
Remember everyone, we all have different experiences and points of view. Let’s not push our beliefs on to others.