How “God” gave me panic and anxiety attacks.

This blog has been a great way for me to deal with some deep emotions and issues I’ve been dragging along for a while now. I don’t got a lot of traffic or feedback here, but that doesn’t matter, I need to express those feelings and here is the right place for that.

So what’s up with that title huh?

It all started a few years ago. Lets say I was at the height of my life as a charismatic religious zealot and the depth of my life as a happy healthy functioning human being.

I had been in the circus that is overspecialized religion for a while and everything that my life had been before that was as good as gone. My hope of ever making it anywhere with my music, my hope of finding love, my hope of being myself…all gone.

All replaced with, prayer, fasting, trying to find what inner demons still needed to be cast out and what family curses still needed to be broken. You know that kind of stuff you look back at and think “what on earth was I thinking?” …or even worse “what in the hell are they still thinking telling people that same crap to this day?”. It was only until recently I realized, what I was part of wasn’t a religion…it was a cult. Or at the very least something that was well on it’s way of becoming one. Not sure where they’re at now, don’t intend to find out.

As you might imagine, such an intrusive time in your life doesn’t just happen without it taking it’s toll… and for me that was, you guessed it, a series of panic and anxiety attacks.

During my lowest point I was very desperate to find a goal in life, and the church was the constantly making hollow promises that only seemed to push my real dreams and goals further away. To make matters worse, I didn’t really fit in either. I asked too many questions, was either too zealous or too skeptical…

During the weekends I’d be alone by myself, because my real friends became of limit as the church environment kept reminding me over and over again. And in church I didn’t have any real friends either. So I was alone, friday night, saturday, only to be interrupted for an hour or two on sunday…and then back to being alone again.

It was hell on me. There would be times where I’d have to go to the supermarket and as I left the house I felt this strong pressure building, fear, anxiety. My heart racing as I didn’t know what was going on trying to “act normal”…when I got back home I broke down and started crying uncontrollably. That happened several times, and naturally my response would be to try and find counsel or support from the church people. That was a big mistake I made. One told me “oh that’s normal, comes with the territory of being a christian”…nice propaganda pastor. Another one said “how dare you even be surprised, you did this to yourself” thank you for understanding, my so called friend.

This went on for a while, but it also seemingly went away as I tried to get control over it…by working out and not thinking about it. …oh right and “prayer”.

But you can’t shove something like that under the rug and expect it to never show up again. I grew more bitter and desperate, life seemed to slip away further and further…until I snapped and started praying a lot. (keep reading)

I’d pray to tell God, that if this was going to be my life and that if I had to give up on all my hopes and dreams only to sit in some two-bit church without a future, then God himself might as well kill me. I told him it wasn’t fair that he gave me hopes and dreams only to crush and destroy them. An everlasting unquenched thirst, sounds like a good description of hell. It wasn’t fair, it was a crime that was done unto me. In the name God himself. And I let it happen because I am/was a believer.

I know I write against putting prayers online, but for the sake of setting an example here goes:

God damn that church, and all the other ones like them. They are a disgrace to your name and a disease unto humanity. Release the captives like I once was oh God. Heal your children and set them free from the religious and malicious lies that are the cults called church.

At any rate, I was struggling with my faith, myself, my choices, my hatred,…I didn’t even know where to begin to turn. But slowly I managed to break free. Suddenly people started reaching out to me. One particular pastor comes to mind, a very different guy then what you’d expect under the name “pastor”, all tatted up, long grey hair, dressed in black,…my kinda guy. And he made an effort to guide me through it, hear me out, and comfort me through the pain and chaos. And gave me kind nudges about what healthy faith is and what isn’t. That man is still my friend to this day and I deeply respect the holy work he does.

From there I slowly started reconnecting with my old friends, started staying away from church and surrounding myself with healthier influences. I stopped watching all the ridiculous teachings of charismatic Christianity. Started looking at life through different lenses. I felt like I started getting more room to question things and to rediscover life little by little.

Don’t get me wrong the story doesn’t quite end there yet on that high note. The journey is still going on, and I’m still dealing with my panic attacks from time to time.
There are still moments where I hate life and the idea of a God who is in charge.
But at the same time I’ve learned to appreciate the good things that sometimes can grow from pain, the relativity of faith, the beauty of growing and giving a certain poetry to the victories that I do have in life. And I’m glad to say that those keep increasing.

Today I made my first phone call reaching out for therapeutic help…

…in the end it wasn’t God who dealt me these rotten cards. It was a bad “church”in combination with my honest and naive faith. So if you take way anything from my story I’d love to leave you with this:

Having a faith, religion or a set of beliefs that don’t quite mingle with what the rest of humanity believes is ok. As long as you keep it…

-personal: too many people will try and take advantage of your beliefs, keep them for yourself and the people you REALLY know you can trust (that excludes the churches who happen to say they believe the same things as you, …they are just as much strangers as the people you pass at random on the street).

-simpel: don’t complicate and detail your faith too much, trust me on this, I’ve tried and the only thing it did was mess my mind up really bad.

-relative: don’t try and live by a set of rules (oh the self reflection of this list…) in any case use common sense. God doesn’t expect you to pull a miracle out of your hinders every 5 feet. Neither does He/She/it expect you to be the next John the baptist. You get to live YOUR life, it’s a gift and it’s YOURS, so plan it and live it according to what you feel is best and what YOU want to make from it. Don’t let others their dreams take that place, no matter how noble them may seem.

Now I know that to some this may seem like the most basic advice that should go without saying…but I sure needed it in my life at some point.

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