the walking wounded

I’m not sure exactly when I got disillusioned with organized religion. It’s one of those things that obviously happened at some point, but out of all the things that caused this particular cluster of jadedness, one catalyst stands out – in a culture that values martyrdom, wanting to die and wanting to feel pain for your own reasons doesn’t go over so well.

The church I grew up in (which my family has recently left, freaking finally) did not handle mental illness very well. Or at all. Ever. If anything, my community of origin tended to follow the approach of “if we don’t talk about it, it won’t happen to our kids”. This got applied to everything, and the results were predictably awful. Premarital sex? No way to confirm numbers on that one (yet), but I’d bet money that not all of my peers were as innocent as we thought. The entire concept of different sexual orientations? I still turned out bi. Mental illness? Ooooooh boy, that one got blown to hell and then some.

I’m not actually sure when I developed depression either beyond “some indefinite point in high school”. I had a nice little self-harm phase when I was 12, and I’ve got some tiny little scars on my thighs to prove it (life tip – safety razors are appropriately named, but I still did a little damage), but somehow that one hasn’t recurred. I’ve probably had anxiety since I was a little bug, but that only got confirmed and medicated a few months ago. I have recurrent suicidal thoughts, and every time I think those are gone, lol no. I’m not ashamed of any of this.

According to the culture that created me, however, I ought to be. Assuming it’s even real, and a lot of ’em don’t think it is.

I grew up thinking that the church was supposed to be a place of healing. For me, as a woman with multiple mental illnesses, it was anything but. Instead of hope, I found victim-blaming and denial, and I’m not that kind of a martyr. I can’t survive that thought process anymore.

Suffering is all well and good, they said – beautiful, even. I call bullshit. I am the walking wounded and I know better.

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