Video and telephone sessions are currently being offered in addition to in person
Feeling like you are unsure of your religious beliefs, and subsequently wondering if that makes you a "bad Christian, Morman, Jehovah's Witness" etc may be the first step for unpacking what you have been through and embracing a new and free life. You may wonder if you will be sent to hell, or how you will be able to go on without the people you have relied on.
Religious trauma syndrome (RTS) occurs when an individual struggles with leaving a religion or a set of beliefs that has led to their indoctrination. It often involves the trauma of breaking away from a controlling environment, dogmatic lifestyle, or religious figure(s). You may feel sad, angry, lost, or anxious. You may be grieving the losses of people who still exist but no longer associate with you. Healing from trauma can feel scary and having a mental health professional guide the process can help.
I was raised one of Jehovah's Witnesses and left the congregation at 22 years old. My father was and Elder in the congregation and this was all I knew. Leaving the religion was filled with challenges, including the disillusionment after noticing the inconsistencies in the beliefs and hypocrisy of members, figuring out what I actually believe, and letting go of guilt. Leaving meant leaving people I grew up with, my best friends and even some relatives. That experience has informed my empathy for those who are processing the trauma of dogmatic religions and cults. Not all religions or religious beliefs lead to religious trauma, it is only those with fundamentalist, dogmatic, authoritarian foundations who use specific tactics to keep members from questioning them.
Recovering from Religion ~ One of the largest resource sites of its kind, it's a must-visit for both the religious who still value their faith and the non-religious seeking secular help. See their vast list of mental health and crisis information, find a local support group, or listen to their podcast.
Feelings of depression and thoughts of suicide are common with those struggling with RTS, if you are feeling this way don't wait to reach out. Feeling Suicidal? If you need immediate emergency assistance, please call 9-1-1. You can also visit the emergency room of your nearest local hospital. You might be thinking there is no point to life anymore. That without your faith or community, life is meaningless. Starting over can seem cripplingly overwhelming. Though the hotlines below may not be familiar with your religious background, they are familiar with depression and desperation. If you're thinking of ending your life, don't hesitate to give them a call. Help is available. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline ~ 24/7 availability by phone and chat, including Español and support for the deaf and hard of hearing in the U.S. Call 1-800-273-8255
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