Religion Was My Way Out
I was raised in a very strict religious household. Despite all that, my childhood was rough. Nobody would want to have the childhood that I had. I had two very rebellious older sisters, whose constant reckless lifestyles very often clashed with the values and rules that my parents brought us up with. Arguments turned into fights. Fights turned into being kicked out of the house. So I never really got to know my two older sisters because of the constant shift between the streets and home.
I was scared. I used to cry myself to sleep, hoping and praying that the situation would change and we would be one of those perfect families that you see on T.V. Unfortunately, it seemed like that only happened on T.V. Quarrels and shouting got so common that it became like a second language to me. I would fight with my sisters, fight with my friends at school and push everyone away. I hid and shoved my emotions back inside, ignoring my feelings every time they attempted to come out. I became introverted with my emotions and tried to cover my pain and suffering with a fake smile and a laugh. I always tried to make people laugh, except for my own soul.
Crying for me was a big no-no, because crying signified weakness. And I wasn’t weak. I could get myself through alone when I was young, so I sure as heck could make it now. My mind became so twisted and dark that I had no escape route but to go deeper. I started experimenting in pornography and cutting and from there things started spiraling downwards. I would pray for forgiveness and allow myself to get rid of all the guilt. The next day, I would find myself in they same situation again, and it ended up in a viscous cycle: doing wrong, asking for forgiveness, doing wrong, asking for forgiveness. Until one day I got so hopeless in finding forgiveness that I just gave up and all little dignity that was left in me was gone.
I didn’t care anymore, so I gave up my quest of religion and instead turned to my sinful indulgences for comfort. My mind kept repeating over and over to me: “Why would a loving, just and kind God forgive you? Your sins are WAY too big, and it’s too late now.” I was vulnerable, and these words started playing on my mind. They would echo through my skull with a voice so loud that I thought I would never be forgiven of this sin ever. Then I got so deep that I even started cutting. Soon I started cutting myself more and more often. I began stabbing myself on the back of my left-hand wrist at school with my protractor and using any sharp object that was around me to cut myself. Every time I felt sad, alone or depressed, I knew my dear sharp friends were there to comfort me. I dared not to even look up to the heavens. I was too much of a sinner.
One day I did something very wrong that caused my dad to confiscate my tablet and search it thoroughly. He found out that I had social media I was not supposed to be on and he read my web browser history. The stuff he saw wasn’t pretty and the chats he read between me and this other guy still make me cringe to this day. Then he found something else very intense and hectic that went beyond what he could take. He then went through all my emails and found out that I was communicating with a social worker and slandering lies about my parents. I selfishly discussed private matters with her without taking into account that I had other sisters that leaned on both my parents for provision.
My father was in tears. The big man. The boss. The tough guy. I made him cry? Then that meant I passed the ‘way too far’ sign a long, long time ago. Suddenly, at that moment, I remembered everything I had been taught about God, His love, and His forgiveness. Suddenly, it was all real to me again. I knew I had messed up, but I did not have to continue doing so, because there was hope. I dropped to my knees and wept and prayed. I kept questioning myself and my life. How did I get so deep? How did I fall so badly that I refused to speak to my God? He was always there, waiting for me, but my mind was too busy with other things. To this day, my dad and I both agree that that incident happened for a reason. If my dad didn’t start asking himself what I was doing and what I was getting myself into, I don’t know where the heck I’d be right now. There is a still small voice in your head that people misses out on because they’re too focused on other things. Sometimes you just need to clear your head, sit in silence and just focus on your path and plan for your life.
Well, after I asked God to forgive me, I reached out to help get help for my addiction. I started focusing and meditating on religion and making something of my life. Religion was my way out. It was my path to a better life. I was not only changed, but transformed. See? There’s a difference. When you finally wake up to the reality of your reckless living, it’s like a yearning or thirst for peace and love, a renewed desire to live a better life. It makes you want to cry and laugh and go mad all at the same time. Everyone has a different path, a different journey to take. Religion was my path, my way out. Maybe your path is to find religion as well or maybe it’s something different. For me it was God’s love and mercy waiting for me. And all I had to do was reach out, grab it and hold on. Hold on and never let go. Never give up. I’ll repeat it: NEVER GIVE UP! I did. I gave up on myself, on my family, on my situation and most importantly on my God. But I found a way back through prayer and belief in something bigger than myself. That’s the power of hope!
So, to all of you that endured this story to the end: There’s hope! No problem is ever too great that it cannot be overcome. When we look at it from the side of depression, sadness, etc. it looks as if we’re drowning. But a change of perspective goes a long way. My advice: Don’t do drugs and never lose sight of who you are or the dreams you have. No matter how far in deep you are, swallow your pride and find help in whatever form that may be. Whether it be religion, counseling, rehab, etc. There is always hope. After you find the help you need, you can continue on your journey to finding out the purpose for your life. Never give up! There is always hope!
- A great number of children, teens, and young adult have stories similar to yours. Thank you for sharing and communicating hope to others. It is really great that you found something that worked for you and you were able to get better.
- Everyone has a different journey and many have different beliefs, but there is hope for everyone and every situation. However, that may look different for different people.
- Although you are doing well now you may want to consider other things that may be helpful should you have difficult times in the future. Some things you may want to consider are going to see a mental health professional, talking to friends and family you trust, speaking with your religious leaders, and/or consulting you physician.
- Other methods for coping with difficult times include journaling, exercise, yoga, meditation, volunteer work, listening to music, breathing and relaxation techniques, or other healthy activities that you enjoy doing (sports, hanging out with friends, bowling, etc.)
- Have you talked to your family about why you were doing the things you were doing? Why or why not?
- What did they have to say about it?
- Have you sought professional help with a counselor or other mental health professional individually and/or as a family? How is that going?
- What are at least five things you currently like about yourself or your life?
- What are you goals for the future and your plan to make those goals a reality?