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Depressed Atheist? (Oh, no! Not that!)

Old 05-13-2009, 10:10 AM
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Depressed Atheist? (Oh, no! Not that!)

Yes, Iím an atheist and I have depression.

Iím not depressed because Iím an atheist, but the depression is clouding my emotional judgment.

Logically speaking Iím just fine, but emotionallyÖ.something is missing.

No, Iím not looking to be converted. Iím not turning in my ďAĒ card.

But I need something else. I feel so empty inside.

I know that I should be able to define my life and existence, but itís not working? Perhaps I need more time to thinkÖ

The depression makes it really hard to find motivation to keep going. I donít have anything to look forward to.

I read a lot of atheist blogs nearly all the time. I think that the way in which some atheists think about life is pretty neat, but it doesnít do it for me. Maybe I need more time.

Geez, being sober sucks.
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Old 05-13-2009, 10:43 AM
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I don't really think being sober sucks, but I know for a fact that being depressed REALLY sucks! Are you in counseling and/or taking any meds for the depression? I've been on antiD's for about 11 yrs and depend on them to stay somewhat sane and balanced.

Hugs!
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Old 05-13-2009, 12:42 PM
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Bam, you are not alone at all. In fact, I participate in an atheist forum and the people are the best! I've been there four years now and although I am not an atheist, they've never made me feel unwelcome. I guess I am just agnostic, but we've talked about so many things and the people are just, well, supportive. Pls. PM me for details if interested.
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Old 05-13-2009, 12:54 PM
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Sometimes I feel blah like nothing is inside.
I am not atheist but I don't practice organized religion.

I don't seriously know if there is a practice that encompasses what I am. I think I made up my own. But it does involve some elements of Buddism, Hindism and Christianity. I am more Aryvedic with belief in holistic healings and Japanese with zen and I do send out positive thoughts in the belief that everything is interrelated.
I would probably be cast out of the church for my belief and since I don't embrace each one in it's purist form I can't be called a follower.

The best emotional healing I've achieved is gardening. I feel in tune with myself and Here it comes that hokey cliche ONE WITH NATURE lol but it's true I just feel good. It fills up something missing inside me.

I don't know how to tell someone how to go about finding something they can apply to that part that is missing I hope you find it. Some people find it working with animals or expressing themselves artistically.
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Old 05-13-2009, 01:02 PM
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Hi Bamoozle,

Depression really stinks...have you seen your doctor? Medication for depression is not long-term, but I found that short-term medication gave me a mental break to sort things out...I'm not an addict (but am married to one) so I can't say if sobriety sucks more than other states of being...

I'm not out to convert or anything, but have you thought about visiting a Unitarian-Universalist church? You can be an atheist (keep your "A" card!) AND a Unitarian, which I find kind of neat. There's no shared beliefs, just shared values. They're nice values, too, like a belief in the inherent worth and dignity of every person. I'm an agnostic, and have found it to be a really welcoming place that encourages self-seeking. Feel free to PM me if you want and I can tell you more
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Old 05-13-2009, 01:49 PM
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sometimes i suffer from general malaise and the dropsy. i usually get over it.

yay
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Old 05-13-2009, 02:37 PM
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I'm not an atheist and I spent about 40 years depressed it was pretty much my natural state of being. Through LOTS of therapy, medications-some long term, some brief -to get past a hurdle-and ultimately through sobriety I've discovered peace within myself and I'm no longer a depressed individual. Sure I occassionally get down in the dumps but I just kick myself in the butt and within a day or 2 I'm fine. I do at times for a day or 2 allow myself to be depressed, I stay in bed, sleep, only eat junk food if anything, don't answer the phone, don't call anyone, don't shower...then I get sick of myself and start climbing up again.

Home you feel better soon.

Judy
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Old 05-13-2009, 03:45 PM
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I'm in therapy (today's session is what sparked this thread) and I'm on meds (I don't think it's working well enough...and I talked to my doctor about changing my meds last Friday and he still hasn't gotten back to me yet. He was supposed to call my therapist...and I didn't ask her today if he had because I was upset...).
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Old 05-13-2009, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by least View Post
I don't really think being sober sucks, but I know for a fact that being depressed REALLY sucks!

I'm inclined to agree with Least, I don't think it's your sobriety bringing you down. Although it is weird (for me anyway) to have to FEEL all my stuff without throwing something at it to numb me real quick.
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Old 05-13-2009, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by uglyeyes View Post
Although it is weird (for me anyway) to have to FEEL all my stuff without throwing something at it to numb me real quick.

Yeah.
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Old 05-13-2009, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Bamboozle View Post
Yeah.
Ditto.

*hugs* Bam.
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Old 05-14-2009, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Bam
I know that I should be able to define my life and existence, but it’s not working? Perhaps I need more time to think…
That sounds like a symptom of depression. Or not, but for me I had a hard time defining anything when I was deeply depressed.
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Old 05-14-2009, 11:50 AM
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Ok. I get depression. I get atheism. I think it is interesting that you made a thread that linked the two. Do you feel like you have some sort of hole in you? Does that question make sense?

I ask this because this is a feeling that I had. And I am wondering because I used to always say that I was having a crisis of faith although I had no faith and had never had faith but for some reason something in me was convinced that the deep sense of longing I had was more than simple sadness.
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Old 05-14-2009, 05:18 PM
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Thank you for your post, sfgirl.


Originally Posted by sfgirl View Post
Ok. I get depression. I get atheism. I think it is interesting that you made a thread that linked the two. Do you feel like you have some sort of hole in you? Does that question make sense?

I do feel empty. I feel like something is missing…and since I don’t have a clue as to what that something is, I don’t know what it is that I should be looking for.

I miss the sense of peace I once had when I believed…or maybe I never had that and thought that I should…Maybe all I had was an illusion of peace.

I don't think that my atheism and depression are linked as in, one was caused the other, but my “personal philosophy” and my depression is a dangerous combination.

Originally Posted by sfgirl View Post
I ask this because this is a feeling that I had. And I am wondering because I used to always say that I was having a crisis of faith although I had no faith and had never had faith but for some reason something in me was convinced that the deep sense of longing I had was more than simple sadness.
There is the depression…and the sadness…

…a deep sense of longing…


…yeah…I have that….but for what? I want something to believe in because every time any suicidal thoughts smack me in the face I know I honestly have no reason to keep going on. I need something to care about…but in a profound way.

I’m scared right now…I can’t believe I was so honest with my therapist this last session…I’m really surprised she didn’t report me. I had to repeat over again how I was NOT going to kill myself and that the only reason I was telling her all this crap was because the “negative thinking” is what I do a lot. I know it’s important for me to talk about it.

Am I making any sense?
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Old 05-14-2009, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Bamboozle View Post
I want something to believe in because every time any suicidal thoughts smack me in the face I know I honestly have no reason to keep going on. I need something to care aboutÖbut in a profound way.
I know this may be of no help to you Bam. Yet I want to convey...that...if I can have that one moment of clarity after years and years of searching...I believe others can have it too. What helped me was a *revelation* that struck me to my very core. I guess it was my 'Ah-ha' moment. When it all clicked...me..the world around me...the world as a reflection of me and finally there is no...me. Now I work to expand that moment into everyday clarity. Call it purpose or meaning or whatever...it still sustains me along my journey...propelling me further along the long road of ultimate awareness.

When or how your *revelation* (its the best I can describe it) will strike you Bam I don't know. But I would be honored to be along side you during the search that brings you to your 'Ah-ha' moment.
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Old 05-14-2009, 06:18 PM
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I think I get it. I am going out right now and I want more time to respond because I have a lot to say. When I get home I will write a lengthier reply.
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Old 05-14-2009, 06:43 PM
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Sure thing...I'll probably go to sleep soon, so if I don't see it tonight I'll be checking tomorrow. Night all.
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Old 05-14-2009, 06:53 PM
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Hello, bam. I'm a depressed atheist too. I'm a very cynical person too and much of what I read deals with very negative and depressing subjects-war and other types of crises affecting the world. I've come to the conclusion that there is far more bad in the world than good... and as I've written in another post there is no greater meaning to anything IMO. All we can do is try to be happy and live "morally", whatever that means to us. In the end, it won't matter much. lol

People who think they have discovered a purpose in their life are no more "healed" than I am. My way of viewing things is just as legitimate as anybody elses.

Maybe this is a good time to focus on your art. By letting your creative juices flow you'll discover something about yourself. Or not..maybe you already are? Some of the most profound things are expressed when we're depressed.
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Old 05-15-2009, 03:19 PM
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(note: I have no familial religious background and don't associate myself formally with any religion or group)

Bam,

Sorry it took me so long to finally write this. Ok, so for a very long time before I got sober I had this "hole in my soul" (I hate putting it that way but that is how it felt). This is what I would tell my therapist. It felt different than depression (I'm on zoloft) because even when I was happy which was actually often it was still there looming in the background. It was unfillable. Nothing I did could fill it. I knew it was linked to meaning. I needed to find meaning in my life. For awhile I thought that had to do with career or something but nothing seemed to work. I imagined that maybe if I found the right boyfriend then I might fill the hole. But part of me knew that none of these external changes were going to help things. The hole had been there almost my whole waking life through good patches and bad and it seemed regardless of external circumstance it still was there empty. I even tried a few years ago to give up drinking as an experiment to get rid of it. For four months I did not drink, in retrospect I realize I was a dry drunk, in an attempt to fill my "hole." It did not work. I never really said in my head that it was a "spiritual void" but I knew that it had to do with meaning. I felt like my life had no meaning and again that that feeling was more existential than biochemical depression. Towards the end of my drinking career I was burning through existential and religious literature by Saints and the like trying to search for their epiphanies and make them my own.

Then I got sober. I had no idea that getting sober and filling this hole were linked. In fact, due to my previous experiment I thought that they were unlinked. But something was different about me getting sober this time— I surrendered. That is the only language I can lend to it and I don't quite understand it. I had been trying *so hard* to fix my life, to find meaning that finally I just gave up and in that something happened. I have been to a couple of AA meetings and listened to some ladies talk and they report very similar voids. I was completely offput by the AA spiritual program as well (I am not trying to get you to go to AA because I got sober without AA and don't think I could have done it with AA) but now I get it. Their program of recovery, the steps, all of it is about filling that hole which so many alcoholics tend to have. That is probably what drinking is about. For the first time in my life, in sobriety, my hole seems to be filling up. I don't understand it. I don't necessarily attribute it to God or an HP. In fact I really dislike the language of AA and don't understand it. I don't understand talking to your HP. I don't understand giving your will over to God. So much of that I do not understand but if you can find your way and I don't think that means you need to subscribe to God or even an HP, I think that you can find meaning in your life. Lately, I have been reading a lot about Buddhism and recovery which to an atheist might be tolerable. I am getting into mindfulness because I have seen its effects on me when I try to stay in the present moment. For me, "my spiritual awakening," has not been an a-ha moment, like for zencat, maybe that will happen for you. I basically spent four years waiting for that to not come. It has been a progressive journey. It is hard for me to write about because a lot of it I don't understand. Mainly because so much of it is not in my rational mind. I guess my advice which is probably the secular version of let go and let God, is give up and be open. Although I think that is a lot easier said than done.

I just read an amazing book on recovery called Mindful Recovery: A Spiritual Path to Healing from Addiction by Thomas Bien. I think it doses out spirituality without being too fruity or in the clouds while also giving practical advice and pretty sure it is not heavy on the God or HP stuff. I really suggest it. I don't think that atheism is in conflict with finding meaning. I do, however, think that clinging to any idea too rigidly is in conflict with healthy recovery.

Hopefully what I wrote made some kind of sense
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Old 05-15-2009, 03:34 PM
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Dear sfgirl,



In his one attempt to explain his addiction to me, my husband spoke of a gap in his being, which sounds so much like a hole in your soul...he told me about trying to fill it in other ways, but that nothing has ever worked. I hate to admit that, although I did not say anything to him about it, at first I took it very personally (you know, "what, our love isn't enough for you?" kind of thinking). You seem to be much more eloquent than he is (maybe it's because your a woman ) and I think that reading your story has maybe helped me understand him a bit better.

So...from the very bottom of my heart and soul, I thank you for sharing your story and bringing me one step closer to someone I love.

All the best,
Daisy
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