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Old 06-11-2018, 02:28 AM   #1
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Default Do I have PTSD from leaving religion? (RTS)

I’ll try to keep this as short as possible
-I am an ex Muslim (saying this isn’t easy)
-I didn’t leave Islam in one day, it was a two year process of self argument and it wasn’t fun
-I left because of an profile on instagram.
-I was one of those “Islamic worriers of the internet” my whole life was dedicated to serve Islam. I had plans to become an “influential Muslim” in the future, and that plan was what gave me my indentity and sense of “self” and “purpose”
-Because of me being a “warrior” I had to face that Instagram profile and “prove him wrong” as I always do (I’ve been arguing with people on the internet and defending my beliefs for 4 years maybe) but as I did try to face that profile I realized that I couldn’t give counter arguments, I felt weak and wrong which made me really mad and with time I started to hate that profile a lot. I also became obsessed with it, I felt as if a had to know what he was posting so that I could research and prove him wrong, but every time I did, I end up failing or learning something about my religion that I really didn’t wanted to know. With time I started having doubts, I think I reached to a point where I can’t go on with my life without knowing what he posted and when I do take a peak at what he posts I start to shake and shiver, this was the most stressful time in my life, my grades plummeted and I felt really depressed. That’s all I remember, that part of my life is really foggy and all I have is fragmented memories
-with time I became far from my religion
-sometimes I try to reconnect, I start crying then I let go
-with time I believe i devoleped OCD, I started over thinking and had two relationships where I started to overthink and doubt my own emotions
-with time I started to get confused by my emotions, as if I don’t understand
-I always doubt my feelings, when I get mad it’s like I hear a voice in my head saying “are you really mad or are you faking it” same thing goes with every emotions…mostly love
-with time I started to feel as if I left “my self” in the past, now I don’t know who I am or what I want to be
-sometimes I feel really depressed, sometimes I feel energized out of no where and sometimes I feel blank
-sometimes I tell myself that I’ll be able to fix myself and be happy, the next day I’ll tell myself I don’t want to be happy
-I can’t stand anything “Islam” related, I get mad, angry and feel stressed when I hear anything Islamic related.
-life was very simple before all this happened, I had a goal, a purpose and a feeling of self. Love was simple and easy, life was good. But now I feel empty, hopeless, depressed and confused. I can’t even love without doubting my own emotions, saying “ I love you” has become very hard for me because I’m afraid Im lying and end up hurting the person I’m with...
Is this happening to me because of PTSD caused by the stress I had when I was facing that “profile” and trying hard to grasp on my beliefs?
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Old 06-13-2018, 08:01 AM   #2
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Default Re: Do I have PTSD from leaving religion? (RTS)

I absolutely feel for you! Something very similar happened to me, only with Christianity!
It's so exhausting! I have such a tough time because I've lost my spiritual identity. It's extremely painful and I feel so empty, constantly looking for something to fill the hole...
I think losing one's religion is difficult when one decides to research it their religion is correct. But when someone is "forced" to lose it at the time when they need to prove it, when their life depends on spiritually and its taken from them "violently", that can indeed cause a deep trauma. I believe I suffer from trauma caused by losing my faith involuntarily.
What hurts a lot is that people don't understand. They'll tell you oh cool how you're free, do whatever you want. Religious people will tell you to believe without evidence. Or they'll give you arguments that you used to believe but make no sense anymore.
People on both sides assume your situation can be easily solved and it's not a big deal. Yet you're dieing inside and can't do anything to solve the conflict. You may try things, you may try to "forget" or you may try to "keep believing without feelings or evidence, by pure will power". Neither of these works. It drives me crazy. It causes me so much pain and even more pain is caused by feeling absolutely alone and misunderstood by everyone.
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Old 06-13-2018, 02:47 PM   #3
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Smile Re: Do I have PTSD from leaving religion? (RTS)

Hello Person: I see this is your first post, here on PC. So... welcome to PsychCentral! I hope you find PC to be of benefit.

One other forum, here on PC, you may find to be of interest would be the spiritual support forum. Here's a link:

https://forums.psychcentral.com/sanc...itual-support/

I'm sorry I cannot tell you whether or not what you are expeiencing would constitute PTSD from leaving your religion. I think this is something you would have to explore with the help of a skilled counselor or therapist. Anything I would suggest would be simply a guess based on very little information.

It's difficult for me to relate to what you have experienced since I've never had any religion. The closest I come is that I have been a student of the writings of the American Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön. Pema teaches the ancient Tibetan Buddhist discipline called "Lojong" or "mind training". And one of the primary precepts of Lojong (as well as with Buddhism in general I would surmise) is that we must learn to be comfortable with uncertainty. Ultimately, there is no firm ground... nothing to hang onto... no sanctuary... if you will.

One of Ani Pema's original teachers, the late Chogyam Trungpa, has been quoted as having said: "Chaos should be regarded as very good news." This is because he understood that we learn & grow the most when we are challenged, not when we imagine we have everything sewn up. So, from that perspective, perhaps the challenge for you is to find a way to use your loss of faith in Islam as a vehicle for advancing yourself as a spiritual person. I don't know. But these are my thoughts on the subject.

There is such a thing as existential depression. Perhaps you've heard of it? PyschCentral's archives contain some articles on the subject. Here are links to 5 of these:

https://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is...al-depression/

https://psychcentral.com/blog/coping...dium=popular17

https://psychcentral.com/blog/existe...human-anxiety/

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/nlp/2...dium=popular17

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/good-...omment-page-1/

My best wishes to you...
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:46 PM   #4
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Default Re: Do I have PTSD from leaving religion? (RTS)

EXACTLY
I feel happy a bit now that someone understands me.
The problem here is that Muslims, especially in the Middle East, don’t treat ex Muslims so nice. We are hated by society and some people literally want to kill us.
It’s like you’re living in constant threat and you have to choose WISELY and CAREFULLY what friend to tell about you being an ex-Muslim.
Life isn’t fun anymore.
I’ve reached to a point where I over think too much. I’m in doubt constantly and every time I feel depressed or down it feels like I’m faking it, this pisses me off.
My whole system feels destroyed, I can’t feel nor express emotions like a normal person anymore…
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:57 PM   #5
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Default Re: Do I have PTSD from leaving religion? (RTS)

Thank you, what you wrote felt refreshing.
Ever since I left my religion, eastern philosophies started to become of interest for me.
There is this “small” and “hopefull” part of me that wants to dive deep into these philosophies like Buddhaism and Hinduism, maybe they would help me rebuild myself after these 4 chaotic years. I trust them as philosophies because some people consider them as philosophies rather than actual religions and because they encourage meditation. When I was a Muslim I didn’t believe in meditation but ever since I left I tried it out of curiosity and it felt beautiful. I wish to continue meditating but the depression i have is really making me very lazy and because of it I’m sometimes telling myself that I don’t want to be happy anymore.
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Old 06-14-2018, 08:25 AM   #6
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Default Re: Do I have PTSD from leaving religion? (RTS)

You're so brave! I admire your strength to be faithful to your reason despite your fear. I hope you'll be able to find peace.
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