It occurred to me in the middle if the night (after trying to sleep after being up for two hours with a baby who hates to sleep!) just what a dark place I came from, mentally.
I was really depressed (and didn’t know it), and was told depression was selfish and came from focusing on one’s own problems too much (but dad was allowed to be depressed).
I self-harmed regularly (they didn’t know of course), and was told people who did that were demon possessed.
I had suicidal thoughts constantly (sometimes I avoided taking medicine for my headaches because I was do tempted to take the whole bottle), and was told people who committed suicide were just selfish and lazy (when in reality it seemed like a very valid choice…my only two options to escape were death or moving out, and either way I’d lose my family).
I felt incredibly stuck, doomed to a life of obeying men and making babies, and was told that was the way I was redeemed in god’s eyes for Eve’s sin, that I actually wasn’t ‘less’ than a man even though I was supposed to obey them, and that I should be happy through it all.
I was punished or scolded for having the wrong facial expression, yet they didn’t take the time to find out what was really going on (not that I would have told…they lost my trust years before).
I was told if I acted like a child, I’d be treated like one and if I acted like an adult I’d be treated like one…and then only ever treated as a child, so I stopped caring.
I was afraid of god, yet told that I should go to him for everything even though I was supposed to fear him.
I was terrified of hell, and told I could never really know if I was going to heaven or not until I died.
I was afraid to even think about demons, because I was told they appear to people who want to see them and if I thought about them, they would interpret that as wanting to see them.
I was told family was everything, and the only people who would ever be there for me, yet they ditched me when I didn’t do what they wanted.
I was unhappy, but told that I was the problem.
They didn’t try to help…because there wasn’t anything wrong with me, I was just a bad person, or just acting like a teenager. I was labeled independent, bossy, selfish, arrogant, know-it-all, lazy, moody, and anti-family in my preteens and early teens…and they never saw past those things.
So last night when I was thinking about this stuff…I again realized how free and relatively unafraid I am now. (I still have some weird paranoias, but that’s another story!) I don’t think about suicide anymore. I don’t self-harm, and besides a bout of postpartum depression, I’m fairly depression-free. I don’t fear hell or god or demons.
I know what they think…they think I can’t really be happy because I’m not doing the “right” thing. They think if I say I’m happy, that I’ve convinced myself I am, but I’m not really. But the truth is, they are the unhappy ones. They have locked themselves in a prison of their own making, full of rules and asceticism and austerity and martyrdom. They say they love their god, but they are the ones who love themselves…because they think following all these rules they made will keep them right with god. They say they are selfless, that everyone else is the self-loving ones, but they are incredibly self-serving. They don’t realize that how to really love someone is to let them be themselves…not molded and pressed and squeezed into what they want you to be. Everything in their little kingdom has to be just right or they will cut you off.
Anyway…we are poor, but my peace of mind is priceless. There is absolutely nothing on earth that could ever convince me to go back into that dark place.