From Atheist Republic
Gina1 shared on our public forums her experience of dealing with depression and loneliness after abandoning her faith. Gina1 wrote that after leaving her religion she initially felt liberated. However during a crisis or tragedy, she no longer has her faith to comfort her. Furthermore, she deals with crippling anxiety when thinking about death, uncertainty, and the fear of “what if” she is wrong about her unbelief. Although religion was a major part of her life, she cannot see herself going back, even with the comforts that it formerly provided.
Here are some of the most interesting responses to Gina1’s post:
Ellie Harris, although admitting to never being religious, sympathized with Gina1. He reassured Gina1 that it is a fundamental human need, and one that is not exclusive to religions, to desire camaraderie and moral support that is typically provided by religious communities.
Pitar shared his experience in becoming an atheist as a child and learning early on not to rely on faith as an emotional crutch, in spite of the isolation he felt due to his unbelief. He conceded that it must be more challenging for adults who abandon their faith and the comfort it provides at a later age than he did, as they typically enter “reality” without a warm welcome or support group. He insightfully pointed out how a religious belief system actually stifles individuality, suppresses one’s true identity, and forces people to be part of a false structure that is not true to the nature of the human heart. He concluded by hoping that Gina1 will appreciate the way in which she is being true to her nature with her atheism and not just view herself as someone who has gone by the wayside.
Mitch made a distinction between one who is clinically depressed and one who is grieving since abandoning faith. He stated that if one were clinically depressed, the depression would not dissipate regardless of one’s personal beliefs.
Jeff Vella Leone offered encouragement by suggesting that Gina1 should feel proud that she now understands something better than others, rather than feeling like someone who has lost something. He thinks that once Gina1 has arrived at this point, the depression she feels will go away.
The Pragmatic acknowledged that anyone who is isolated, ostracized, or shunned for their beliefs could easily become depressed. He offered a link from a secular website that helps atheists find an empathetic therapist.
Gina1 felt encouraged and comforted by the responses of the forum and suggested she may seek out a Unitarian church to regain her sense of community…