The first part of anything I do here would be to explain my story.
I was diagnosed with clinical depression when I was 12, and I grew up in a situation where my family had to move almost every year due to my parents’ jobs. The first few times were due to my father being a Marine and the rest were due to my mother gaining a position opening warehouses for a government contractor.
Due to the way I was raised and the fact that I didn’t really have social connection, I had a hard time making friends. I didn’t really understand social situations and ultimately retreated to games, comic books, and movies as a place to learn about and understand people.
Fast forward to me being 18 in my first semester at community college. I was out of high school (Read: Hell) and in the real world. I still had no friends and hanging with my family’s dog at home wasn’t helping. It was at this point, after a very low day in the middle of a depressive episode, that I had intended to withdraw from. The school and kill myself.
Note: This was not the first time I had thought about it and had attempted physical action to harm myself.
I got to the door of the office when a person who had passed me earlier that day got my attention in order to talk to me…about God.
Note 2: My mother raised us non-religious and due to certain traumas I’ve had, I had decided to be an atheist.
The discussion was full of questions they were surprisingly answered. I went to a bible discussion with other Christians and felt both welcomed and drawn to their group. That weekend I attended my first service and started to study the Bible.
After two weeks of being taught concepts about Christianity, I decided to get baptized due to a car accident where I had been scared to death due to my seatbelt malfunctioning during the ride home from my last study.
I said that I wanted Jesus as my Lord and that I believed in all of the supernatural things that he had done, including being raised from the dead. I dipped into the water and everyone clapped. I had a group to belong to.
For the first few years, things went well. I learned a lot of new skills and I grew more confident in my abilities. I was finally proud of myself. I went on dates and was able to better understand mixed gender relations. I was able to use and develop my latent abilities to connect to others and see what I felt others could not. I was able to encounter people from all walks of life and from all over the world. A part of that was living in Los Angeles, but a major part was the connectedness of the church as a whole.
After, I’d say, the first five or six years, I noticed that my depression hadn’t lifted and actually, I had started developing slight anxiety issues. I started to feel like the situation with my life and the church was not really mixing, but I kept the thoughts to myself.
During the end of my time in the campus ministry, I really started having trouble as some of the people around me were not really motivated to move on in their lives. They seemed so focused on a style of life that I was not interested in living. This coupled with my increased depression, stress, and lack of support in a very clear time of need made me feel very isolated from people in general.
My girlfriend at the time had terminal cancer and I received zero support from other members of all backgrounds, including staff members. This did nothing to help and made all of my problems worse, to the point where I made reckless and selfish decisions that did nothing to really help me. I graduated university with very few friends and no real hope for life.
I moved into the single ministry and my situation became much, much worse. I never felt that connection in a spiritual way or an emotional way that I had previously had. I kept drifting from group to group and from job to job.
I eventually found I was not really welcome in my old group and I wasn’t married yet, so I had nowhere to go. I moved to South Korea and joined the ministry here.
At first being here was nice, but as I soon grew to realize that Christianity here is generally the same as Shinto in Japan; people believe, but they are more focused on their emotions and general culture. When trying to fix or change issues, it just didn’t work. There are a lot of issues (enough for another post later) and I’m just at the point of realizing that the stress, trouble, and lack of support in the church is not okay and also that ultimately, I might not really believe and only focused on it in order to gain friends.