J is doing better- we spoke on camera last night and I was so happy to see him! He said tonight that I make him happy and relaxed. It really hit home after my last sad frustrated post that even despite the distance, he feels happy talking to me. That’s a definite bonus.
I’ve recently been reading a blog ( https://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/46008726/ ) called Defeating the Dragons, run by a brave and lovely woman named Samantha. She talks about her struggles with being raised in a fundamentalist baptist church, and attending a college (US college, not an English one) where she was in an abusive relationship. It was a Christian college, and the reaction of her tutors to the fact that she’d been raped was that she had to pray for her sins.
Yet, despite all the hell she’s been through with religion, Samantha is still a Christian.
I am in awe of that amount of faith and I feel pleased that she ended up sticking with her faith, something she held so dear.
I read her blog because of my own issues with religion. My parents do not acknowledge the fact that I no longer believe in their Christian god, and don’t understand why I haven’t been in church since just before I was admitted to hospital for PTSD and the voices (who are quiet now, and they’d better stay that way). They know about the horrible brainwashing I went through with my friend B, when my ex tried to get us to believe we were angels. For me, his words succeeded in making me believe in this delusion, and he let it string on because he thought it was funny.
I tried not to lose my faith. I believed I had to keep believing in what he’d said because they were direct orders from GOD, duh, and not believing in them would make me a sinful Christian and a fallen angel.
Religion has been there all through my life, as a powerful and often misused force. I remember feeling horribly guilty for anything and everything I’d ever done through the week whilst saying confession in church. I must have only been about six then. I used to think that if I wasn’t thinking about God every single moment of the day, I was a bad Christian. I was consumed with guilt over pretty much everything, because I had read in the Bible the penalties for being sinful. Surely, as nobody was born without sin, that made me the worst sinner in the world?
Sexuality was a huge problem too. I used to feel red-hot guilty that I couldn’t decide whether I liked boys or girls more. Being bisexual is tough for the largest majority of the population to understand, but for the Church, being who I was would land me in hell. I was damned.
I continually felt wrong and sinful and guilty. I thought I should be a missionary because being anything else would have been selfish and a sin to God. I spent a lot of my religious life feeling like a pariah or like God himself had chosen me for a special purpose.
Religion is damaging enough, but put that together with a mental health problem and it gets seriously damaging.