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Where does your faith come from?

(8 Posts)
Ohnoredundo Sun 09-Oct-11 19:09:03

I'm struggling. I've suffered terrible anxiety since the birth of my DS have become obsessed with The Big Questions. Why are we here? What happens when we die? Will I die and have to leave DH and DS? Things just don't make sense anymore.

So at the risk of sounding a bit loopy I often ask for 'signs' from God for reassurance. I've been given a few in my time and that should be more than enough but for some reason I just can't accept the 'fairytale' of life after death.

I would love to know how others cope with the unanswered - because I don't think I'll ever be okay with the 'not knowing'. Maybe this post should be in mental health...

hiddenhome Sun 09-Oct-11 20:20:55

None of us can ever be sure of course. I won't say "it's just a matter of having faith" because that's a bit trite and not really accurate.

I have spent years and years wondering about things like this and basically got fed up with myself. I have felt the 'pull' towards God all my life and just decided not to keep fighting it anymore. I was miserable as an agnostic and feel much happier since taking the plunge.

I'm returning to the Catholic church now, so there's always plenty of opportunities to question and wonder as there's significant parts of the catechism that I struggle with. There's times when I think it's probably just a load of bunkum of course, but atheism just seems so nihilistic and miserable and I still sense God in my day to day life.

What I try to do is focus on the here and now and not keep thinking about what might be or will be in the future. I try to be a Christian in my day to day dealings with others and leave the bigger questions to answer themselves as it's impossible to do so here on earth grin

A couple of books which are nice are: Finding Sanctuary and Finding Happiness by Abbot Christopher Jamison. They bring your sense of faith back down to earth and let you find it on a day to day basis....I find this brings a sense of peace.

In the meantime. If you're suffering unduly from anxiety then perhaps a trip to see the GP might help. Anxiety is really common after having dcs and it can get out of control. I'm currently on citalopram for depression and anxiety and it's revolutionised my life. I was reluctant to take meds at first, but, honestly, they can be a life saver. There's no use suffering unnecessarily.

If you get the chance try to look into going on retreat for a couple of days. Do a search for your nearest retreat centre and they'll probably run weekend retreats if you're able to get away. A Christian retreat centre doesn't necessarily mean that you need to commit to any branch of faith, or indeed, any faith at all, it might just give you the peace and space that you need.

Hope you feel better soon. Make that trip to the docs though. Anxiety is easily treated smile

Ohnoredundo Sun 09-Oct-11 21:34:33

Thank you so much for your lovely, considered reply. Arghh life is so hard! I'm popping onto Amazon to order those books now.

I have started going to my local C of E church but although I really enjoy the sense of community, the messages of forgiveness and a weekly chance to think of others I'm scared as if you're a Christian you're a Christian - you don't accept the existence of other 'Gods'. I do. And I'm not sure about the wine and bread thing etc etc.

Do you mind me asking you what made you take the plunge re. meds? And what your symptoms were? And how old you are? I'm so cheeky!!! The GP prescribed my ADs but I just am so adverse to taking them I can't even explain. Also I've started counselling so I'm hoping that helps too smile

hiddenhome Sun 09-Oct-11 22:43:15

Don't worry about what others believe in. You'd probably be very surprised if you were to know what churchgoers really felt about their faith/beliefs. The wine and bread are only taken to be the actual blood and body of Christ in the Catholic church.

I had been depressed for months, but was trying to deny it and finally made an appointment to see the GP and told her I was depressed. She prescribed citalopram. I had been adverse to taking them as well. I really didn't want to do it, but I'm so glad that I did. I'm a totally different person now and really feel like I've woken up after being dead for so long. I'm 41 btw. No real reason to be depressed apart from a bad past and too much acute stress.

Symptoms of depression include:

Feeling tired all the time
Losing interest in everything
Just going through the motions
Eating too much/too little
Problems sleeping
Feeling no happiness or joy in anything whatsoever
Avoiding others
Random aches and pains

I guess everyone is different, but these are some of the symptoms. I think that it's easy to try and just soldier on and ignore how you feel, but once you've started to recover, you then realise just how bad you felt before treatment. I feel sorry for my family that they had to put up with my terrible attitude and outlook for so long.

Which ADs have you been prescribed? Have you started them yet, or are they still in the cupboard? ADs plus counselling can often be better than just counselling alone. I'm having CBT atm as well and you tend to get more out of counselling if you're not feeling so acutely depressed. Honestly, think about taking the ADs. Give them a chance and see what happens.

The Christopher Jamison books are really nice. There's no pressure to be religious and they're not preachy or anything, just nice and gentle. They are written from a Christian viewpoint because he's a monk, but there's no promotion of it or anything like that.

pillowupmyjumper Thu 13-Oct-11 23:15:07

i have always found this website helpful...i think something wierd is going on... it does sound like you need to do a bit of soul serching and maybe pop down to the docs for a chat

i had this exact thing last year and it culminated in a 'episode' confused

i'm much better now and have never felt happier

good luck x

pillowupmyjumper Thu 13-Oct-11 23:21:58

also don't be scared of AD's ... they are great to give your brain a rest while you work through your worries

coffeecake Sun 23-Oct-11 22:09:27

I have always believed in the fact that everything happens for a reason. So if you got anxiety, something in you is urging you to do something.

I got horrible anxiety after the birth of my first child too, and like you was totally freaked out by medications.
In fact one of my symptoms was sleeplessness, and so the GP gave me something to help me sleep.

I went home with the meds, read the side effects... and never touched them.
Personally, I didn't use "willpower" or medications to cure my anxiety (which by the way is now cured... with a few niggling bouts once or twice a year which is no more than the usual human being experiences I guess).

I used "surrender". I stopped fighting, I let go, and yoga helped me to do that a lot. A fantastic book I recommend is "The power of Now" from Ekhart Tolle who is a brilliant spiritual teacher, but doesn't preach any particular religion (it sounds a bit like Buddhism to me, but he doesn't say so).

And regarding the anxiety, a book that really changed my life was "self help for your nerves" from Claire Weekes. She believes in surrender, and makes you realize that some of the symptoms are completely normal.

I remember being in a terrible state of anxiety on night, and after reading a certain chapter, having the best sleep I had ever had.

What I wanted to say was, it is possible to get better without medications, but obviously I am talking about my personal experience.

And trust me you feel a sense of such achievement after conquering it, you're ready to take on the world!!

P.S: I too have joined a church recently as I have always felt drawn to God, even as a young child although my parents were not Christians at all, I loved the bible and I prayed every single night (why? I am not quite sure), thanking God for giving me this life.
I too find it difficult to swallow certain things that are said at church, but I feel a sense of Peace there, enjoy the singing, enjoy the praying and the sermons. So I would advise to carry on doing what you feel is right, even if you do not agree with everything.

I am sure everything will turn out for the best, take care xx

Ohnoredundo Mon 24-Oct-11 21:58:31

Thanks for your lovely post coffee cake - only just spotted it. All of your advice is fab and I'll be adding those two books to my Amazon cart ASAP smile you have put a smile on my face before bed time. Thanks again. X

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