This post might have nothing to do with your postpartum depression and anxiety,
Or it might have everything to do with it.
You be the judge.
I have a problem with the religion I grew up with.
A big problem.
Now, I know a few people who seem to find religion to be helpful in their lives.
These people seem to experience it as a source of hope and security.
For me, however, this was not the case.
I could write books on this subject, and I plan to one day.
But here is my problem with religion in a nutshell.
Actually, let’s break it down into numbered points:
I learned that there is a big God outside of me that created me
I learned that somehow there is something very wrong with me
I learned that the God who created me wants to save me from my innate badness because HE is loving
I learned that if I don’t believe the right thing or love this loving God enough, that He will burn me for eternity in a pit of fire
Now, what was the result of this very literal interpretation of Biblical texts?
Well, the result of it was a terrifically deep sense of fear in living life.
No, no, fear just doesn’t do it justice.
Let’s go with paralyzing TERROR.
I have lived my entire life in a malaise of terror.
Terror of this so-called loving God
But more importantly, terror of myself.
As a very young child, I started to feel terrified of myself.
I was terrified of my thoughts
Terrified of my feelings
Terrified of my dreams and impulses
Terrified of my desires
Hell, I was terrified of the fact that I was terrified.
And do you know what happens when a person is terrified of his or herself?
Well, in my case, you end up with an extremely submissive, people pleasing person that withdraws from life and instead dwells in a world of thought-based commentary, desperately seeking a sense of CONTROL.
If only I can control what I feel.
If only I can control what I think.
If only I can control what I do.
If only I can control how other people treat me so they don’t make me do, think, or feel a threatening action, thought, or feeling.
"God, I shouldn’t have said that."
"Oh no! Why am I thinking like that?"
"How can I make this feeling go away?"
To this day I often sit in conversations with people that are very close to me and say nothing at all.
My husband calls it being a good listener.
I’m going to tell you the truth.
I am a good listener, but I’m also fucking terrified of saying anything.
Because the minute you have an opinion, you might be wrong and worse, you might make someone upset.
So I’ve learned to stay quiet
To bury what I really think and feel deep deep deep down
To only speak when I feel completely sure that I’m right and that I won’t upset anyone
Yup, it’s true, and it’s kind of liberating to admit it.
So the poor little body that I dwell in has grown into rigid tension prison.
Almost every breath is shallow and constricted.
My movements are tight and rigid.
My muscles are clenched a very large percentage of the time.
Because living life has always been fucking terrifying.
Now, don’t get me wrong. The teachings came from people with the best intentions.
The beliefs came from the best intentions.
The religion was created with the best intentions.
But this is the result.
This is what you get.
Is it alright?
Is it what we want?
Is it a desireable framework for living life?
You tell me what you think.
I’ve already put my cards on the table.
And man does it feel good.