I have been through a lot, I have seen a lot and I have learnt a lot. What I have learnt about life is that it’s made of choices. We are decision makers not the Mighty God in heaven. Being brought up as a Roman Catholic I was always forced to believe that nothing is in my power, my destiny has been decided for me and I can’t do anything about it. I remember ( as a child) attending the mass at our local church and listening to a priest talking about sins, purgatory, hell and heaven. There was a set of rules to avoid further suffering after life ( the life is meant to be a nasty long trial which leads to heaven or hell) : confession, money donation, frequent church attendance, prayer, prayer, prayer and overwhelming fear of everything which might be considered evil ( because that surely would bring you misfortune) may grand you a ticket to the garden of Eden. When a bad luck knocks at your door you must still pray as this is the God testing your strength and faith in him. I remember that everything was based and built on fear:
– fear of misfortune
– fear of hell
– fear of suffering
– fear of death
– fear of loosing everyone you love and literally burning in hell
People were brainwashed to think that they would be thrown into eternal condemnation and torment if they didn’t follow the rules which were imposed on them. That manipulation caused some of the vulnerable people like my mother to develop depression which derived from her well established anxiety. Her anxiety was created upon feeling rejected and misunderstood by her own parents which prompted her to moving out, meeting my father ( who battled his own demon of being an alcoholic) and marrying him. She did it after three months of ignoring all the possible signs which kindly whispered to her that her husband to be needed to help himself first before entering another marriage ( his first marriage fell apart because his former wife didn’t put up with his alcohol abuse). My mother’s parents were against her new relationship warning her that she is making a big mistake. After the wedding, my mother had tried to hide the lack of consistent income, alcohol abuse of my father and general personal torment of ‘it wasn’t suppose be like that’ from her parents who refused to attend her own marital celebrations ( due to their disapproval). Eventually, she had succumbed into realms of anxiety completely and asked my grandmother for help ( after I was born). My grandparents had helped my mother financially a lot, without them we wouldn’t have money to buy simple necessities like bread and milk many times to come. In the meantime, my brother was born and my father continued drinking while working in out of Germany. My mother had developed a self- destructive coping technique of being completely devoted to her faith. She had spent hours praying on her knees, listening to Roman Catholic radio, dragging us to church and hoping that one day our destiny would kindly change. In her own point of view we were condemned.
As a young girl, when my friend borrowed a cassette with songs which I previously recorded from the radio my mother was furious because it turned out that she took that cassette and recorded a podcast from her favourite religious radio station over my songs. The whole cassette wasn’t graciously smitten by Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath anymore but was a 80 minute long lecture of how to avoid being sent to Purgatory after death. I found it hilarious but she was furious not because she had lost it but she was afraid that my friend’s parents would think bad of her devotion to God. She knew it was very intense.
My mother was stricken by depression and anxiety but she knew how to hide it well from others. She suffered within four walls, us- her children were listeners, she had said ‘goodbye’ to us so many times because she was convinced that she was dying on a heart attack ( in reality she had suffered from reoccurring and frequent panic attacks). She had constantly prayed and that had made her even more paranoid to the point of viewing others as our enemies. We had moved at least five times before my 8th birthday due to my father’s unstable employment. She had begun to isolate herself more and more. None of children’s friends which I had made were good enough for her because according to her they were taking advantage of me. She continued deepening her faith and stating that if she could she would become a nun and that one day she would be one. I had always felt responsible for her and my younger brother. As a child, I despised being forced to pray or going to church because I saw that it didn’t help my mother but made her mental well-being worse and worse. When I was 6 years old I was trying to count how many years I had left before I became 18 years old adult because I knew that I could legally take care of my brother at this age ( if anything really happened to my mother as she had stated she was dying).
When I was 11 years old and my achievements at school were getting worse I opened my mouth and tried to talk to my teacher about problems at home. My teacher talked to my mother who obviously denied everything and stated that I had a well developed imagination. My grandfather died soon after. My mother took it very hard and went through another episode of severe depression which made her almost hospitalised due to lack of appetite and severe anemia. The whole experience prompted her to become independent. She had stopped relying on my father, found a job, went back to Uni and finished her degree. My father realised that he could loose her and stopped drinking. He stopped drinking when I was 15 years old because my mother threatened him to end their marriage for good. He didn’t want to end up loosing everything plus he loved my mother who had pulled him out of the gutter on and on.
She continued her trips to church and says to this day that God helped her during those difficult times. I don’t deny God, in fact, I believe in God as they call it- I view it as good helpful energy which can help you in your life if you make sensible and right choices. What I don’t believe in is religion itself. Religion has been created to control the society and prey on vulnerable people like my mother. She credits her religion for all the achievements in her life but I credit her OWN CHOICES. We have a choice to be good or bad. Being sensible has its perks but being bad has its consequences.
My mother still continues her daily trips to church, donates money to it and prays intensely for my brother in hopes for being released from prison. He is in prison because he committed a crime out of his own stupidity. He faces consequences of his poor behavior and choice. My mother sees it as a trial which has been sent down on our family from God- bullshit.
I have separated myself from it because I tried to change her point of view for so long. I had tried to help her mentally which had left me depressed and emotionally drained. I aim to lead normal life away from fanaticism and excessive religious devotion but at the same time I respect my mother’s choices because I love her. It breaks my heart seeing her being used by her own faith and her mental health suffers because of it. She believes the more she prays, the bigger the chance for her poor destiny to reverse itself. She refuses to live a life. She is an adult and she has made her choice of being stuck in one spot walking in circles…
Categories: A-Z Mental Health