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Unequipped for Real Life

WanderingDaoist ~

I write this as a student readying to graduate from college. It's been four years since I left home (and my home church), traveling thousands of miles to start what I hoped would be a new life. Sadly, I find the life I now live is so tarnished with my fundamentalist upbringing (Reformed Baptist) that it makes it difficult to enjoy. Thankfully I've mostly rid myself of the so-called "Catholic Guilt" which plagues anyone raised in a religious setting. That feeling that somehow, somewhere, God is watching and judging all my despicable actions like sex or vulgar language *being facetious, of course*. It was really only until recently that I managed to mostly do away with that and realize there wasn't someone constantly looking over my shoulder. Well, I suppose to be honest I still get that feeling sometimes, minus the guilt.

However, my upbringing has left its mark on me, and I can only hope I'll someday be rid of the anxiety, depression, and anger which plague me on a regular basis. I wouldn't place the blame for these problems squarely on the shoulders of the church, but would rather say that being raised in such a way has left me completely unequipped to deal with problems which would normally be addressed by prayer and reading the Bible.

I can only hope I'll someday be rid of the anxiety, depression, and anger which plague me on a regular basis. For my entire life up until I left home I was told that any behavioral problems people had was because of sin, and any therapy or, heaven forbid, medication would only be met with failure if not accompanied by magic words and a faith in something which I could never relate to. Sure, I was baptized, but that was a deluded attempt on my part to fit in to a mold created for me. At the time, I thought I was doing the right thing. The feelings all my church family had about God and Jesus could be shared by me if I only tried hard enough. But as I got older, and especially as I branched out on my own without the heavy hand of the Church to guide me, I realized that Christianity held no answers for me.

Now, as stated before, I continually find myself plagued with psychological issues which have no easy solution and which I'm only beginning to understand. Depression, ADD, anxiety, all of which were explained away as symptoms of the fall of man, have reared their ugly heads at the worst time as I enter adulthood and face a life on my own. Every day I find myself wishing I could have more understanding parents who wouldn't only view my problems through their own distorted lenses. Where I deal with depression all they see is the consequences of Godlessness. ADD is laziness and and being undisciplined. Talking to them is like talking to a brick wall, and I feel that I'll only be able to discover real happiness when they cannot continue to exert influence over my life. Freedom, freedom from mental illness, my parents, my upbringing, this state I find myself in, is something I've never known, and can only hope exists.

All I hope is that there is someone out there who can sympathize with someone caught between adolescence and adulthood, struggling to look forward to the future while still dealing with the demons of the past which aren't truly in the past.