Saturday, February 23, 2013
I'm not sure where to start or what to say. My weightloss journey over the past few years has been difficult. I had a mental breakdown 2 and a half years ago. Prior to that I had been pretty faithful on Spark and had lost about 20 lbs. But, since then, losing weight has not been a priority and I gained weight over the last 2 and a half years. Since February 1 I have been involved in Spark again. But, the emotional stuff I am dealing with has been getting in the way of me exercising. I have been sleeping most of the day. I do go to a therapist, but have been unable to see him for about a month because he has needed to cancel my last two appointments.
The biggest thing I am dealing with right now is the fact that I was raised in a cult. I'm not sure how many people are aware of Bill Gothard, but he is the leader of a very organized, world-wide cult called Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) and Advanced Training Institute (ATI). I was involved in ATI from about 1993 until approximately 2002. Its teaching is centered on 7 basic principles. The only two that I can remember are design and authority. I will think of the others later. I have been through the Basic Seminar many times and should know them off the top of my head.
But, the teaching that has troubled me the most is the teaching about demons. I was taught that if you made one mistake (sin), then the demons would attack you. Also, my parents burned my Cabbage Patch dolls and trolls because they were demon possessed. Additionally, I was taught that demons enter your house and will move items and if you lost something, probably a demon came and moved it. As a result, I am fearful of demons and demon attacks and have hallucinations of demons occasionally. The hallucinations started when I was about 21.
The other aspect that has been difficult for me is that if I was not cheerful and smiley all the time, then I would get into trouble. Therefore, I have buried all my emotions. It was easy for me to do throughout my teenage years because I didn't have much to get upset over. I wasn't really bullied. My siblings and I got along (my mom had 3 kids in 2.5 years, so we were really close). I didn't have a boyfriend until I was about 22, so I never had any of that drama in my teens. Plus, I was working daily in our restaurant, graduated high school at the age of 16 and took classes from Bill Gothard's post-secondary program. I went there for about 3 or 4 semesters. Then, in 2002 I started at Circleville Bible College. For the first time I was around Christians that believed differently than I did. That started me questioning everything I was taught. Then, in 2004 I transferred to Cedarville University. While at Cedarville, my grandma passed away. I had not experienced death (other than animals) until I was 17 when my great-grandmother passed away. Then, in a period of about 5 years, I lost my great-grandmother, great-uncle, and paternal grandparents. When my grandmother died in 2006 I fell apart. For the first time I couldn't stuff my feelings any longer. Around 2002 I had been engaging in self-harm because I was convinced I wasn't alive because I never felt anything. I was like a huge icecicle with a plastered smile on my face. To this day, I still don't really express emotions. I am working on that in therapy, but it isn't easy. In fact, it's quite difficult for me, especially because I was taught that any negative emotion was a sin. And by negative emotion, I mean sadness, anger, frustration, being mad, any emotion that is the direct opposite of joy is sin. And, it's of the flesh to be happy. I was taught that we were to be joyful no matter what was going on. And, that in troubled times we could be joyful because the Lord was in control of everything. So, in my mind, this translated into the fact that it is a sin to cry.
I realize this is a long blog, but I have needed to process these thoughts for a long time, and have been unable to go to therapy since these thoughts surfaced about 2 weeks ago.