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Surviving religious trauma and dealing with anxiety

By Dan Pazmino ~

I left Christianity about two years ago, but the effects of leaving the faith have only begun to erupt.

Like many people the study of the science and my life experiences started to discourage my desire to continue to the affliate with the faith. I was very involved in my non denominational church which really advocated the idea of "Gods will for your life". The church constantly wanted me to take a path I had no desire in exploring. Being in the children's ministry/ being in the prayer band. When all I wanted to do was make music and art.

It was very hard dealing with this especially when on many occasions I was told I should give up art.

This amongst the idea that my church community didn't really seem authentic and that Gods will wasn't really becoming a reality started becoming way too much. I did so much for God and there was no return not even what I thought Gods will was going to be. (Going to a Christian college and becoming a missionary).

When I stopped going to my church I noticed two things, that all the people I thought were my friends where never actually there for me in real life, and when they found out I wasn't going back that I was being shunned even more. This disgusted me, and made me want to be even less part of it. I continued in the faith personally until not being able to find any community that I really connected with.

Starting college was so lonely. I had lost my whole church community, most of my highschool friends went out of state and on top of that I moved out of my parents house. In that time I noticed the relationship I had with God started to shift to the relationship I had with men. I tried to fill that void with men and it only resulted in a huge disaster. I did things I never thought I would do, and began to feel slutty and wrong in the eyes of God. Really something that was the result of having such trust and expectations for the guys I was with and ending up being really heart broken and abused by these relationships. By the last relationship things where so bad that I was in such a stage of depression and under lying anxiety I decided to go meet a counselor from my school.

On top of this my doctor had prescribed me a light anti - depressant that didn't sit well with me, and then an anxiety pill which I continue to take. The medicine has really been the only thing that keeps me sane, I notice I am getting better but it hasn't been with even more difficulty. Such as the fact that I moved back in with my family, who are devote Catholics and my brother who is a fundamentalist and a street preacher. A lot of the things he says sound really stupid and I can't help but laugh but a lot of things hit straight to the bone. Like things about sex before marriage and birth control an hell/ the consequences of not repenting.

I'm usually able to tell myself those things are not true but at some point I have 10% of me that feels like maybe it's true. The fact of having him always around is even more traumatic. He's like a judge that constantly makes me feel like I'm not good enough. He gives me dirty looks and reads his bible loud and talks about hell every single day. It's such a toxic environment and it's so hard to have people not really understand how that feels like and understand why it's so traumatic.

I constantly hear people be like you just have to not listen but it's like how much of that can you put up with. I can constantly feel my anxiety increase everytime im in the house but it's hard because I can't really leave because that would mean not being able to continue go to college without the financial support of my parents. It even harder to have my parents take sides with him because they sort of agree with his beliefs. Lastly I've really been struggling with terrible nightmares and restlessness , something I never really dealt with as a Christian.

These are things that are tough because you don't really know how to make them go away, when you start to associate your illness with your lack of faith. Like I kind of prayed to have these problems go away in the morning and somehow I felt better which was so crazy. But the weirdest thing was like feeling anxiety just a little time after that because I felt I wasn't Godly enough to be asking for prayers from God it's crazy.

Idk what to do, I feel like I want to have a relationship with God but I can't without establishing what I really think is right and wrong, which I feel like I still associate with Christian morals. I would really like to hear how people have progressed in their spiritual life despite their past. Luckily I've found a way to study in Texas this semester so I won't be in this environment anymore, But it's still a healing process.

Luck to all of you healing ❤️