When I was in college I was very active. I was consistently involved in projects, theatrical plays, movie making, open mics, dating, dancing, exercising, skiing, long boarding, classes and Divine Comedy. I had so many "Things" going on and I loved it. My activities were a great distraction from the occasional spat with depression, suicidal thoughts, or sexual frustration. I had a full and mostly happy life.
Since leaving the church I feel like my "Thing" is Mormonism. I find it ironic that it took me leaving the church to identify myself by it. My stand-up comedy is all about Mormonism. This blog...obviously is all about Mormonism. My life story is Mormonism. Every person I meet wants to know how, why and what Mormonism is. The church’s isolation tactic makes socializing outside the cult very difficult.
My boyfriend Alex is a very talented guitar player. He is in a Van Halen Tribute band. Music is his "Thing." My roommate loves to read and talk about reading. That's her "Thing". My co-worker is all into yoga and he loves buying stones and mediating with them. It may sound goofy to some but it is his "Thing."
I used to have so many "Things" but lately I feel I have nothing.
"Oh Emma, that's not true." I tell myself. "You love your job! Car sales are really fun and fascinating and perfect for your personality."
And it's true. I do love my job, but some days my job does not love me back. My job can’t be my only love in life. Some days at my job people will ask me about my past and Mormonism will come up. I don't love those days.
I have spent the last few weeks contemplating this loss of personal development. I had a bad day at work and the walls of self-loathing started closing in. I'm ashamed to say I started falling back into my old habits. Depression, and suicide idealization. I tried to snap out of it. I went for a run but as I ran my eyes were scanning the city skyline for tall buildings to jump off of. I began to shut down. I began to cry in broad daylight, nervously pulling at my hair. I was having what felt like the beginning of a nervous breakdown. It was frightening. I called a few people but no one picked up and when they tried to call me back it was too late. I had fallen so deep into depression that I hid from everyone. That night I drank a few beers to try and knock myself out. At work I was barely present. My managers noticed I was not my normal happy go lucky self. But I just kept quiet.
When I was Mormon I felt this way often. I spent many nights in solitude crying and hating myself. I did not want to talk about it but desperately needed to. After a particularly bad night of negative thinking I decided it was time to talk to someone. I opened up to one of my managers at work who I trusted would understand. Talking about my struggle made a big difference and I was able to get back to functioning at work.
I think the biggest advice I can give at this point is be patients with yourself. It's not my only "Thing" in my life but it is a big part and that's okay. I do have other interests and it's important to continue looking for new adventures and hobbies. Yes, leaving Mormonism is hard but look and the progress you have made. There was a time where I thought about killing myself on a daily basis. Now when I do feel suicidal it’s an abnormal feeling, and one that is easily dismissed. That's called progress my friends and if progress is my "Thing", well...I’ll take it!