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Old 02-25-2010, 09:28 PM
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Struggling with life

Hello my fellow secular peeps.

I would love to find a place to go where I can deal with my depression as an atheist. Every single time I do a search on the internets I stubble across sites asking the question, "Are atheists more depressed than ______?"




Gah! No, we aren't. Depression doesn't discriminate.




This is beyond frustrating. I would love to talk to a large group of atheists/agnostics/etc. who live with depression daily. Does this exist?

Most atheists, like the rest of the populace, are quite content. Their "solutions" for atheists with depression do not work. They don't understand. They can't understand, much like others who never had to deal with depression.

Are there any books out there on this topic?


I know links aren't allowed to be posted so please feel free to shoot me a PM if you can point me in the right direction.



Slogging through Google returns is getting old.
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Old 02-26-2010, 07:36 AM
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Never done a web search for it, but I've never seen religious beliefs and a medical condition treated together anywhere than 12step programs (not to start a debate on the whole religion v spirituality thing). Are you looking for a board such as SR to post on? I seem to remember that you see a theripist, does it come up there?

I consider myself agnostic and have had depression issues for years. I've managed it with a combination of meds, therapy, and most importantly giving up the drugs, which definately made the condition worse. There have definately been times I have envied those who do have religious faith, as it seems to make their lives easier to live, but I just have a really hard time changing my core beliefs. They are the base of what makes me, me.

Good luck finding a suitable forum. Take care.
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Old 02-26-2010, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by tyler View Post
Never done a web search for it, but I've never seen religious beliefs and a medical condition treated together anywhere than 12step programs (not to start a debate on the whole religion v spirituality thing). Are you looking for a board such as SR to post on? I seem to remember that you see a theripist, does it come up there?


There are loads of books, etc. that cater to believers. Having something to hold onto gives a lot of people strength.

I can't relate to that. I find my strength from other people who share common problems/interests.

I personally believe that many atheists get in a twist about depression. I understand why--every time the subject comes up atheists must go on the defensive.


I'm tired of reading all of the bickering on the internets. I want to find a support group of atheists dealing with depression. I don't think it exists.

There is a need for this. I'm not ashamed that I suffer from depression and that thinking in a logical/rational way about the world does not help this. It's not enough.

I think it's very important for me to connect with others who understand--others who may have been believers before. There are sites dedicated to people who have deconverted...and I think that's great...but nothing that emphasizes dealing with any kind of mental illness/disorder.


*sigh*
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Old 02-27-2010, 07:08 AM
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Hey Bamboozle,

Athiest here.

Okay, it's my belief that my depression stems from a darwinian idea. Usually it means that I'm doing things that are bad for me and not doing things that are good for me. In my case, I am genetically predisposed for depression. So, part of recovery was to swallow any pride or fear and get properly medicated.

Next, came "hugging porcipines" Meaning, doing things that would feed my depression. Like hanging around in PJ's all day. Being pretty unproductive. That had to go.

The way I see it as darwinian, is that if I do not treat my depression. I'm going against the way the species needs to go in order to progress. It makes me ineffective. So, I get more depressed, and that will turn into isolation. Because I don't want to be around people, and they certainly don't want to be around me. It's the universe's way of seperating me. Weeding me out of the pack so-to-speak. The universe is still evolving. We, as humans, are a part of it and so are evolving with it.

So, a good question is this: Is what I'm doing going in tune with the way the universe would like me/it to go?

Then it comes down to just doing the next right thing.

I hope that makes sense :-P
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Old 02-27-2010, 08:24 AM
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Hmmm. Had to get a precise definition; "An atheist is one who denies the existence of a deity or of divine beings." I'm not intelligent enough to know about questions of divineness and such. Philosophy, theology and the like are all interesting but the fact that there is so much diversity amongst beliefs would lead to the logical assumption that no one form of thought can claim provable or verifiable correctness. The fact that you are looking for a "group" indicates that you, like most humans, find value with social connectivity. My suggestion Bamboozle, would be to associate with non-judgmental people whether they be of a particular faith, atheists, agnostic or whatever. You and I will never be able to live up to the standards of those amongst us who find it so easy to make judgments. Finding those that accept us the way we are assists with building our self-esteem and allows us to naturally feel a sense of inner peace, hence reducing our depression. The challenge is finding those that are non-judgmental. Be open minded, and like minded people will be attracted to you. Good luck on your journey.
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Old 02-27-2010, 08:32 AM
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^ Well said.

With my own recovery program and the people within my group. There's much diversity. I'm able to take what is thrown at me from a Christian or otherwise viewpoint, and turn it into a language I can understand.

Ouchpotato gave some good solid advice.
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Old 02-27-2010, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Bamboozle View Post
Are there any books out there on this topic?
Don't take this as Proselytizing but have you ever looked into Taoism or Zen.
They are both spiritual in nature but avoid talking about God or any other form of deity.

IMO all spiritual disiplines can be used to ease suffering of just about any kind.
I find that when I am spiritually fit nothing can really bother me enough that I feel I am suffering.

To an outside observer my life looks more tragic than it has ever been before (Crummy job, no savings, no marriage, home is in forclosure, ect...) yet I somehow feel more "sense of purpose" in my life now than when I was at my career peak.

When I was married and had plenty of money in the bank I often felt depressed as if there was something missing in my life. I did not know what it was but I somehow felt empty inside. Now I just look like my life is empty.
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Old 02-27-2010, 06:39 PM
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I got nuthin but (((Bam)))
Hope you find something.

D
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Old 02-27-2010, 08:53 PM
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Boleo's right.

I'll add Buddhism. It is both a religion and philosophy. I like Buddhism philosophy. However, I am not a buddhist.
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Old 02-28-2010, 12:22 PM
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I like to go fishing. You ever do any fishing?
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Old 02-28-2010, 05:00 PM
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I used to fish, windy. Been a long time. I'd be afraid to do it now...the pollution (even for a small town) is too bad. I suppose I could catch and toss back, but I'd rather eat what I catch.



I've been stuck in the house because of the snow.




I found a very small group online but there isn't much activity. I'll keep searching.


I'm a very simple human. I'm not looking for a philosophy to follow or anything like that...I just want to socialize with similar people in a similar situation...pretty much what everyone wants.
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Old 02-28-2010, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by ouchpotato View Post
Hmmm. Had to get a precise definition; "An atheist is one who denies the existence of a deity or of divine beings."



Atheism means to lack theism.

A person could identify as atheist and assert that there are no gods, but most atheists do not do this. They simply lack theism.


I do not assert that there are no gods. I assert that I lack theism.
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Old 02-28-2010, 07:18 PM
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"I just want to socialize with similar people in a similar situation...pretty much what everyone wants".

Well, we're okay enough, right? ;-)
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Old 02-28-2010, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Alizerin View Post
Boleo's right.

I'll add Buddhism. It is both a religion and philosophy. I like Buddhism philosophy. However, I am not a buddhist.
I was baptized a Lutheran as a baby, but have been an atheist/agnostic most of my life. I just have such a real problem with the "supreme being" or whatever you want to call it. Right now I'm in the middle of "Buddhism for Dummies" --I kid you not. It says it is not a religion. But the more I read the more intrigued I am. Zencat gave me some encouragement a while back and some things to check out but when I found this "for dummies" book, I thought, what a great way to start. I'm basically a depressed type of person, especially since my semi retirement few years ago. I am on the generic brand of of prozac and have been for 2 months. Not sure if its doing any good or notl Anyway if you want to share experiences, please feel free to PM me. Anytime. I think I NEED SOMETHING, but I just don't know what that something is.
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Old 03-01-2010, 03:42 PM
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Yeah, I feel like something's missing, but that's probably because I'm a bit isolated at the moment.

I'm not sure my meds are helping me as much as before, but I do what I can with my thoughts.

I picked up a book I bought a while ago on how to build self-esteem. I'm reading it here and there and it helps to keep me on track.

I just read what I wrote. I don't feel very with it today. I've been having some memory problems and my schedule is irregular b/c of work. After tonight I have the next two days off. That should help.
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Old 03-01-2010, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Alizerin View Post
"I just want to socialize with similar people in a similar situation...pretty much what everyone wants".

Well, we're okay enough, right? ;-)

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Old 03-01-2010, 07:25 PM
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Hope you get mo betta bamboozle.
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Old 03-01-2010, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by windysan View Post
Hope you get mo betta bamboozle.
You don't get "mo betta" all by yourself. If I had the answers, I would be "all betta." I'm going to try the MyWayOut program. (Google if you're interested.) Stuff should be coming in the mails as I speak.

I've been a loner/isolated person most of my life. On the outside, I was "social teen", but on the inside I mostly felt like I didn't fit in. Booze probably helped me feel like I fit into a "group." And it was a great group. We were a bunch of braniacs who liked to drink on the weekends. No harm, no foul, right? Well, that was the start.

Continued into college. Didn't interfere with grades or anything. Got a great job in San Francisco after graduating out of Madison WI. Now I'm close to the time when I can collect SS. and you can believe I will collect it as soon as I can. I may be hit by a truck between the time I am eligible and the max benefits time.

Anyway, I,m back into reading Buddhism for Dummies. My therapist (who I no longer go to) thinks the world of the Dummies books. She has read many and whole-heartedly endorses them. So far I have to agree.
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Old 03-02-2010, 05:17 AM
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I totally get you on Atheists being defensive about depression, that may be because if you mention being depressed when people know you are Atheist you are swamped with advice about how to 'fill that void' with an outside agency YAWN.

Zen etc are all useful tools I suppose but depression is what it is, do Buddhists and the like never get depressed?

I don't tell people when I am suffering from depression anymore, the (generally speaking, well meaning advice) feeds into my low self esteem by making me feel like what I am going through is my own fault.
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Old 03-02-2010, 07:17 AM
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Hi bamboozle

So sorry that you are depressed, it's a terrible state to be in. I've saw a really interesting lecture on depression the other day, maybe it would be interesting to you.

YouTube - Stanford's Sapolsky On Depression in U.S. (Full Lecture)

Also, an article in the NYT recently.
Depression’s Upside - NYTimes.com

I know that does not answer your original question. I don't know specifically of any online communities for depression for atheists, but there are quite a few vibrant skeptic/atheist communities out there, maybe posting in one of those would lead you in the right direction. The one I'm thinking of specifically is Skepchick, a great website of skeptic women.
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