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.


2 Responses to Recovery

  1. sideon says:

    “…my entire body relaxed as soon as I heard that…”

    I would have done a double-take with the BYU diploma, too. It’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that some people do attend BYU who aren’t LDS and who don’t believe. While in Utah, it’s so easy to paint the entire State with a broad stroke of Moism. I’m not recovered from it – I still do it all the time (vast generalizations – the stroke thing is a different topic).

  2. Simplysarah says:

    So I’m reading this story and thinking, wow, what I’ve been experiencing really isn’t unique! It’s so affirming to recognize that.

    The complete sense of relief I felt after speaking to my therapist for the first time…knowing that she wasn’t LDS…I walked out of there in ecstasy, thinking, “this must be what it feels like to be in love.” Yes, I am in love with therapy.

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