(This is the first in a non chronological series on my religious journey and experiences as a woman with Borderline Personality Disorder)
This is a hard post to write. How do I express in words the sighing of my heart? How do I explain the winding roads, narrow paths, mountain tops, and valleys of belief? David writes in the Pslams “as the deer pants for water, so does my soul thirst for you O God”; and for most of my life I have thirsted for God. Yet, after spending my 20s steeped in a Christian faith, I am now in a place of uncertainty.
Uncertain. One of the most uncomfortable feelings for me. Faith kept me from the unstable waters of my personality disorder. Faith gave me the answers. Faith told me who I was, and what to do. Faith grounded me as a young adult, when previously I was totally unmoored.
I remember moments of panic when doubts would arise. I felt as if my feet were on shifting ground, and my identity was a house of cards. Doubt was the strong wind threatening to blow it all down. And then, what? Back to uncertainty. Confused. Lost. Even worse; addiction. Death.
I couldn’t handle it. I went back to the Bible, back to prayer, back to the safety of belief. Yet, when my husbands bipolar reared its ugly head and burned my life-as-I-knew-it to the ground, my faith was also a victim of its flame. And that hurt. After years of striving for righteousness, I failed the test. I went back to old behaviors. Went after men who would hurt me like I knew I deserved to be hurt. I even, for a brief moment, dabbled in drugs.
I was able to recover myself quickly, but the damage to my faith was done. I couldn’t think of Jesus without crying. I left my Bible shut. My Borderline Personality Disorder was in full effect, swinging me wildly in every direction.
Then, my husband came back. I was scared to take him in again. I guarded my heart. But, our love is too strong to resist, and soon I was carrying our 4th child; our first boy.
And then, my faith was returning. I open the Bible. I released my anger and pain. I asked for forgiveness. I came back.
But, it just wasn’t the same. I tried to get that devotion that I once had back again. I tried so hard, but something wasn’t right anymore. I felt like an actor. I felt unsure again.
I was feeling tempted and confused over my attraction to women. My faith told me this was wrong, but I missed that female connection so badly. I wanted to be with a woman, and I started to drift from my husband. My PTSD was really bad, so sexual contact with my husband was triggering to me. I felt like I would be safe with a woman instead.
This conflict between my desire for a same sex relationship and my beliefs that said it was a sin became too much for me to bear. One night, I poured out my feelings and desires to my husband and I allowed myself to go deeper into that desire. I spoke about my doubts, and they grew. My faith was tested once again; I failed the test.
I woke up the next morning feeling like I was hung over. Was last night real? Did I really let go of my convictions so quickly again? I felt a heavy sadness, and I felt lost again. I tried to revel in my newfound freedom to be with women. I sought someone to be with, but at the same time I felt my Borderline confusion getting worse.
Who am I? What do I want? What do I believe? Borderline Personality Disorder. It really hurts to be so confused over such basic aspects of identity. Am I gay? Bisexual? Am I a believer? Agnostic?
It was August 2015 and I was planning on getting baptized at a Hebrew Roots congregation, but instead, I was deconverting again. It all felt rushed, and disorienting. I didn’t leave the faith for a really discernible reason, which made it even more difficult to understand.
This year, I have tried to find my footing again, this time without religion. I have tried to find myself. I am focused on my children, and my passion for midwifery and as a doula. But ever since childhood I have had a yearning for the divine, and I can only suppress it for so long. I feel unfulfilled, yet I do not know how to fill this need.
I can only keep going, and trust I will find I answers I need.
(The next post will go over my childhood atheist upbringing, and my search for God as a preteen and teenager in Hinduism, Catholicism and Evangelical Christianity)