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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

It's been a while. Things have changed...

I haven’t been very active on the Facebook page The Atheist Nurse on Facebook or here on the blog  for the last 7-8 months. Life happens. Things happen. I’m still very much here, but searching for balance.

Most of us go through a sort of process when we deconvert. Those of us with evangelical backgrounds seem to be “wrecked” a bit more than most. When I awakened and began my deconversion, my family was “concerned.” Eventually that gave way to being tossed aside like yesterday’s news. It was a long time coming, but that didn’t make it any easier. Suddenly I found myself in the throes of transitioning from one extreme to another (evangelical to atheism) while simultaneously being abandoned by my entire support system. I was torn apart inside. It was the most emotionally painful experience I could have imagined. I lashed out…and continued to lash out for many years. That was the beginning of this page.

The Facebook page brought me an audience and new found support. It helped me regain footing, but it also fueled the fire of hate that burned inside me. At the time, I needed that. It was the only way I knew to express myself and to begin recovery --- but I began to be consumed by all of it. The hate began to consume me much more so than it ever had before.

After 9 years of being euthyroid, I ended up in the hospital with my thyroid in hard overdrive again…on the verge of a second thyroid storm. I almost didn’t survive the first one in 2004. I laid in the hospital bed and realized something had to give. I was hurting inside, filled with hate and rage and being fueled by the very thing  (Facebook) that was intended to help me heal. 

My wife and 6 year old son walked into my hospital room with smiles. My wife was genuinely happy to see me and my 6 year old was beaming, happy to be able to see his daddy. That’s when it occurred to me I’d been focusing all my energy in the wrong places. The answer was standing right in front of me. I took some time away from the Facebook page and the Blogspot. I desperately needed to gain perspective and work on finding a balance.

Now, 8 months later, a good deal has changed. I’ve let go of a lot of the hate. I’ve met and talked with my mother and have had a small bit of contact with her. My father chooses to keep his distance, and that’s fine. It’s better that way, and there is just too much that he needs to clear up before I could have any real interaction with him --- and he’s not really emotionally capable of doing what would be necessary. But I’ve been able to let go of a lot of the hate that centered around him and that’s good. Or maybe I’ve refocused the hate and diverted all that energy toward more positive things.

Being fueled by hate and anger is like being fueled by an anaerobic system. It only lasts so long and eventually you’re left with the nasty byproducts of an inefficient and self-limiting process for energy production. My view of people and the world has taken a much needed turn; it was destined to happen at some point. I’ll be discussing some of that in days to come.

So here I am. I’m returning. But I’m doing so while searching for a clearer focus. I’m doing so with a different perspective. We’ll just see where it goes from here…

The Atheist Nurse
The Atheist Nurse on Facebook

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Keeping the world at bay takes it toll. In the end, you eventually wither and die, or live lonely, miserable and forced to wear a smile every day so no one knows the difference. I've come to think I don't like either of those outcomes.

I'm giving up some of the things I find comfort in. That's the tricky part. I have to sacrifice the audience...and the hate filled rhetoric and venting. I'm just now realizing those things were/are temporal. The hate filled venting can continue for only so long before it begins to sound like an irritating broken record...before it turns into the pit of misery I have allowed myself to wallow in. The audience...most of them will humor you for a period of time, but then they grow sick of listening to the rhetoric and watching you wallow in your own misery. They will grow weary of listening to you while you effectively continue to drop a quarter in the soda machine but never receive the soda. Eventually the audience will quietly put their bags of popcorn down, lift up their seats and exit the theater. And're left alone.

It felt good for a was therapeutic in some weird way...the ranting...the open expressions of hate and anger...reliving the past day after day after day. It continues to "feel" therapeutic. But the reality is that by continuing this behavior I'm taking one step forward and two steps back, I think.

It's time to lower the sword. It's not going to turn everything "OK." I realize that. It won't erase the hurt. It won't make my anger magically disappear. But it's a start. A start to, hopefully, a better way of dealing with all the baggage because, obviously, the sword is not advancing my position. It's time to try a different tactic. I'm smart enough to know when I'm running around in circles. And I'm humble enough to know when to say, I've been going about this the wrong way.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Long is the way, and hard, that out of hell leads up to light...

When does it stop? The anger. The feelings of betrayal. When will the 8 year old little boy that lives inside me stop hurting? When will that 8 year old stop needing people to validate his sense of helplessness? When will the little boy inside me feel like the people who hurt him most, his parents, have suffered enough. When will I wake up and feel "OK," I imagine “normal” human beings feel? WHEN WILL I BE “OK?”

I may never be “ok,” in the sense most people think of. It’s a grisly truth, but it IS truth. I suspect I will never forget my childhood. I don’t think I will ever forget how I’ve felt betrayed and abused by my parents. Time can not be rewound. Life isn’t like typing this blog, where if I don’t like the way something goes I can delete it and make it different. As much as I sometimes wish I could change my childhood, I can’t. Perhaps it’s a foolish wish. 

Recently I’ve found myself coming to the realization that it’s approaching time for me to consider a different direction in life; to consider recognizing the past is the past, and as painful as it has been, life must go on. By continuing to subject myself to reliving the past, I’m effectively preventing a happy and meaningful future. A very dear friend said to me today:

“...just to find a way to be happy with yourself in the world the way that it is. When we die, that’s it. If we’ve spent the time fighting, we’ll just die tired, angry, and surrounded by chaos. I’d rather die happy, loved, and at peace.”

I’ve enjoyed wallowing in my own misery for far too long, and...misery loves company. I’ve aligned myself in the company of others who have similar pasts as mine, others who have suffered from years and years of brutal indoctrination. At one point it was therapeutic to be in the company of people who truly understood me, who understood the pain I was dealing with. But now it’s different. To remain in their company only fuels the fire. 

I have a wife and a son. I think my wife has suffered with me. My unhappiness and misery has most surely spilled over into her life, even if it’s not readily apparent. The ripples may be subtle, but they exist. That’s not fair to her, and my 6 year old son certainly doesn’t need to grow up in the same muck as I did. It’s time for change. 

I fervently believe religious indoctrination destroys minds. I remain adamantly opposed to fairy tale beliefs. This is a cause I continue to support, atheism. But at some point I have to take responsibility for my future and stop turning everything into a personal battle. It just doesn’t make sense anymore. My happiness and that of my wife and son must take priority. To put it simply, it’s time for me to have happy in my life. I’ve gone without it long enough.

This is when things change. I know there will be good days and bad days, but it’s time for a change. Where do I start? I don’t know. How about a positive memory? It’s been so long since I recognized that my childhood actually did have pleasant moments; I've spent every waking moment for years focused on the negatives that. When I was young, maybe 7 or 8, I was terrified at night time...lying in bed. Scared of the demons and monsters that might be lurking in the shadows ( I still fault my parents for these ridiculous and unnecessary fears, but no sense to relive it day after day after day) . There were times my mom let me sleep in her help me feel more comfortable. I remember how safe I felt during those times. She made me feel safe. As much evil as she was capable of, I remember the times she smiled. To this day I think she had one of the most genuine and beautiful smiles I’ve ever seen.

It has to start somewhere...