When I got out of the psych hospital, I was still pretty shaky, but the new medication had really helped, and I was functioning better than I had in quite a while.
The day after I got home, I went back to work, and two days after that, I gave my two-weeks’ notice. The psychiatrist in the hospital said I really needed to get into therapy right away, but the move suddenly took all my time and attention. I had to pack, get the inside of the house painted, and lay down new carpet. The last week of July I got in my car and drove from Texas to Provo, where I would spend the next two weeks at my sister’s house.
The new job was what I expected: challenging and fun, for the most part. My team lead is a revelation-receiving TBM (she says she can sense “shifts in the universe”) who is, unsurprisingly, bipolar and quite daft. But I’ve worked with her before, and we get along just fine. I just decided not to talk about religion at work. So far, so good. When she brings religion up, I just nod and turn back to work.
Anyhow, I flew back to Texas and loaded up the largest rental truck I could find. My dad, my youngest son, and I got in the truck and drove 2 days, stopping only in Amarillo before we arrived in Utah.
I kept saying I was going to start therapy, but I would find reasons not to go. Finally, in November, I made an appointment to see a woman in Provo. I walked into her office and saw a large BYU diploma on the wall. Shit. Now what? But I was there, so I talked about a lot of the problems I have had, but I avoided the church issue until the very end. I said something like, “I have had a very hard time because I realized that I no longer believed in my religion.” She said, “I take it you’re a Mormon.” I said yes, and she said, “I think you should know that I’m not LDS and never have been.” She said that my entire body relaxed as soon as I heard that.
It turns out that she has seen a lot of patients in the same boat that I am, and she feels the same way about the church that most of us do: it’s a rather soul-sucking religion that does a lot of damage to its members.
What I learned from my therapy sessions was that I’ve spent my entire life trying to be what I was supposed to be. Growing up in the church, I learned that certain things were expected of me: I was supposed to go on a mission, get married in the temple, get an education, and support my stay at home wife and myriad children. I was so used to saying yes (and so terrified of saying no) that I ended up living someone else’s life. Now that I am out of the church, I have to figure out what kind of life I want to have and then go out and make that life. And I also need to learn to say no.
It hasn’t been easy, but I’m getting there.