Depression, Secularism and Family

Yes, yes, I know..  I JUST wrote a blog yesterday..  But this is important..

After being diagnosed with severe depression recently, it’s no surprise that I have struggled with the very foundation of my existence.  My own family physician decided it was just mild depression due to the death of my husband six months ago.  So what did he recommend?

Therapy..  Only he didn’t suggest I see an ACTUAL therapist.  He “strongly” suggested that I find a local pastor/preacher to talk me through what was, in his mind, causing my depression..  Grief due to the death of my husband.

Having suffered greatly at the hands of religion for the better part of my life, which you may listen to here, it was the very worst thing I could have been told.

Now, my family physician has been absolutely wonderful up to this point and has taken good care of my families medical needs.  But this man also knows that I am an Atheist.  It was due to this knowledge that I began to consider changing doctors.

After the phone call I received from him today, that will now be a given.

I spent, literally, 30 minutes listening to him tell me how he had been highly medicated for his own depression after the death of his wife, 10 months ago.  He informed me that all the anti-depression medication in the WORLD would not help me.  All I needed was “god” to cure what was REALLY ailing me.  The man even had the nerve to give me the name and telephone number of HIS church pastor.

After his initial suggestion to find a local preacher to talk to, a good friend of mine suggested that I contact Recovering From Religion: The Secular Therapist Project.

Even though they were not able to help me find a therapist that was local enough for me to be able to travel to, they were kind enough to help me find one that wasn’t registered on their site at the time.

After receiving the call from the physician today, I called my therapist, with the intention to just set an impromptu appointment.  Instead, he not only took my call, but spent quite some time on the phone with me as well.

One of the joys of having a Secular Therapist is that they understand the workings of the community to a much finer point than those who are outside of it.  We have spent enough time talking that he knows the full situation with my immediate family and knows that having them close is simply not an option.  He also fully understands that within the Secular community, I have found a new family.  They all know I am weird as hell, a scientist (mad, even), that I doubt myself faster than anyone else ever will, I don’t always love myself, even though I believe I am a decent woman, and that I often feel disconnected from the people I love the most.  And yet, they have embraced me for the person I AM.

While it may seem a bit trite and silly, even, he suggested that I spend more time around the people who love me, but are HONEST with me.  My Inner Circle, if you will.  These are the people I trust.  The people who understand me on the deepest levels, even when in darkness.

He also reminded me to tell them thank you, to remind them that THEY are a very important part of MY life, and that I love and/or care for them deeply.

We all deal with our own version of hell at times.  Even within my own circle.  My therapist is absolutely right.  No matter what dark place I am in, these people always reach out a hand, without regard for their own troubles.  It is a trait I both embrace and respect.  It is what makes us human.

So to James, Jason, Deacon, John, Panda, Mercy, Chris W, Matt, Jay, Bee, Larry and Dev…  You guys all have a piece of my heart.  Even when we disagree, bicker, fight and bitch at each other, you all hold a special place with me.  You are all some of the most truly amazing people I have ever shared part of my life, both online and off.  Thank you guys for being there (even when you all wanted to strangle me).  You ARE my family.

I also MUST mention Ryan.  Even though we have not known each other long. I was wrong about you.  Very wrong.  I thought I was helping you.  As it turns out..  You have helped ME.  Thank you for being a shining light in my life.  You are a daily reminder of what is good in this world and a beautiful reminder of what humanity SHOULD be.  I will be eternally grateful for having the chance to know you.

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