I've been an atheist since my pre teens, and feel more comforted by my way of life every day, but today I am having a hard time. I have been out of work for a year now, and while my wife makes good money, we have a mind boggling amount of credit card/loan debt, and it's very quickly getting the best of us. So much so that we are seriously considering bankruptcy, and find that very scary. I've been applying for jobs for a long time, and today I pounded the pavement all day without a glimmer of hope.

I have a Christian radio station on one of my car stereo settings, that I listen to for a laugh once in a while, and put it on today. My moment of weakness came when they were talking the usual 'God-is-listening-and-has-a-plan-and-ask-for-help' mumbo jumbo, and I almost asked for assistance. I didn't of course, but I got a good understanding of why people talk to God, as pointless as it is. My problem is I am finding myself a little depressed and needing someone to boost my spirit. I am always optimistic, but I think you can be TOO optimistic, and now it's just gotten to the point where I think I'm just wishfully thinking. My wife is there, but I tend to be the supportive one in our relationship, and now it feels like my world is caving in. 

I don't remember if I have a point, but I just had to get it off my chest

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Sorry to hear about your problems.

A couple decades ago I went through two years of clinical depression, and I learned one basic fact about depression that helped me, and I hope it helps you (though I recognize that people are different).

DO SOMETHING!!!

Part of depression, I think you'll agree—and particularly in a situation like yours—is feeling like a leaf in the stream, like you are just being carried along by forces beyond your control.

I can tell you this: even if in the end you fail and what you fear happens, at least you'll feel like you fought the good fight, and that in itself will help you weather the storm with minimal depression, because you'll know that you didn't just let it happen.

I hope that helps.

great comments people

I see nothing wrong with praying, talking to god, and so forth.  It doesn't mean you are acknowledging that there is an objective god out there; it means recognizing that humans process symbolically and semantically, and taking advantage of this trait to help you cope with tough times.   Prayer is like meditation:  it works because of its psychological (and physiological) effects, not because magical signals are being sent to an external listener.

You don't shun laughing at a funny movie just because it's fiction.  If praying makes you feel better, helps focus your thoughts, and soothes you - go for it!  Pray to Santa, pray to the Easter Bunny ... think of it as verbal meditation.

I like that Tom. 

Thanks guys and girls. I've been in a depression before and made my way out of it. This feels more like hitting bottom. I'm really glad I don't drink or it could get nasty.

I am very sorry to hear you are going through hard times, Marc.  I do know exactly how you feel.  Don't be nearly as scared of bankruptcy as of religion.  Bankruptcy can actually change things in the real world by relieving you of some or all of your debt.  Religion will just give you more burdens in the long run.  Religion is a predator, like Amway--it preys on those who are in extremis.  Don't become prey.

Marc,

I feel for you sir. I have been in similar situations myself. The first one was when my ex-wife decided to run off with someone with my children, and put me in a huge financial nightmare. I was the only one working full time, and she handled the finances. She didn't pay bills, some for multiple months, kept my money and used it to move into an apt with her 'boyfriend'. I was left with a mortgage that was months behind, utilities being turned off etc. with no money. To make matters worse, she let the vehicle I financed for her get repossessed, and the bank was going after me for the balance. I had to declare bankruptcy to get out the situation I was in.

However I will tell you that while bankruptcy is definitely a big bad mark on your credit at first, it's not the end of the world. In some ways if you have a lot of negative marks on your credit, bankruptcy will actually help you. My credit has been higher in the past couple years than it was when I bought my house to begin with. Go figure. And within 2 years after the bankruptcy I was able to finance a $13,000 used car. What I did was give the bankruptcy some time to age, and got a starter credit card with a small limit (not the prepaid ones but with a real credit amount). And you just start building it back up. I have also paid everything on time 100% of the time since then. Doing something similar, it's not as bad as you think.

As for the moral aspect, if you feel you need to in order to survive, I would consider this. I really had to think hard through this myself. But given the circumstances I was in, I felt it was a justified decision.

Also I feel for you about not having a job. I have been unemployed since last June myself, and I have been working full time just to find one. I may finally be out of the woods soon, but I know what it's like. You are fortunate that your wife is with you and working to support your family. To contrast, think if you were in a situation like mine, where my ex is now kicking me while I'm down, using child support as a tool as I am unable to pay the full amount, when she has two household incomes with her boyfriend and is going on big vacations to Florida multiple times this year with my kids.

And yeah, it's easy to find a reason to appeal to something 'higher' when you feel crushed. It's probably one big reason religion found its place in humanity to begin with. With everything that reality presents from financial burdens to tsunamis, it helps ease the stress. I would find people that can help you, either mentally and/or physically. I'm sure people around you will help when they know what you're dealing with. I know I would love to help, knowing exactly what you're going through, if was able to.

Like Nelson said, keep your chin up bro. You'll make it through. It's not as bad as it feels at the moment. I hope all this helps.

Thanks Dennis. We have definitely learned some life long lessons, and will be passing them on to our daughter.

Sorry, you're having such a hard time. :( Give yourself credit for recognising that your urge to pray at a time of great stress was just you reaching for a crutch - just like alcohol and drugs. I veered back and forth not realising that for years. You know that the solution when you find it will be a practical one and things will pick up. I am sure you are right that you are a bit depressed and maybe some time spent in aerobic exercise will boost you and make you sleep better and feel more positive - although as you say, the situation is not positive. I hope things improve for you.

Well, if you think you are indulging in "wishful thinking" now, just wait until you turn to God for a job.  Anyway, good luck!

   Welcome to America, Waynster, but if you think we are crazy regarding religion, which we most certainly are, wait till you get a real feel for our politics; try living in Arizona, for instance.  Or take a good look at our deep legacy of racism; try living in Sanford, Florida. Or send your child to the schools in the south, where ignorance is a source of pride.  And hey, if you think your leaders were less than pefect, like Blair, or Cameron, or Thatcher, get a load of ours.  George W. Bush, Sarah Palin; Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum...and the list goes on.  These people are not only truly stupid, but ideologically dangerous.  

   You may feel you have good reason to criticize the country from which you emigrated; but Britain is where modern science was born and still flourishes; America is where it came to die.  Britain has Richard Dawkins; we have Pat Robertson.  Britain has the BBC; we have "Fox News."

   This post is sure to draw responses something like, “If you don’t like this country, then get out!”  And that brings me to the last thing I think you need to know about America: we think we are better than any country in the world, since we have the most powerful military ever conceived; and because we have more millionaires and billionaires than anybody else.  But our shortcomings are numerous and serious.  After all, only one country in the world thinks it is entitled to build, possess, and USE nuclear weapons on innocent people, and it isn’t Great Britain.   As you become increasingly aware of our shortcomings, though, keep your mouth shut about it; Americans don’t like to hear that other people in the world are as worthy of God’s attentions as we.

   As to my getting out?  I already have, actually.  I created my own little country within a country, where none of the insanity that is going on in America is likely to ever affect me.  You might say I'm like the unabomber, only without any bombs other than rhetorical ones.  Anyhow, being 76 years old, it is not going to be an issue for much longer.   

Hi Dale

Believe me my friend I am very aware of the politics of the USA. In europe I read about Bush before he was even elected and immediately became very scared. At the time he was voted into office I was in a relationship with a girl from Atlanta and when visiting saw the effect of the whole Bush administration. I've seen the size of the churches in the south and it frightens me how much power it has and how much in bed with the politicians they all are. Religion and the Right is like one giant clusterfuck waiting to happen. And if Santorum or Gingrich end up in the White House sometime soon you won't see me for dust.

I am very lucky that where I do come from, whilst religion is somewhat quirky in its involvement in politics, any politician who stands up as a true christian in the UK is ridiculed and avoided like the plague - sadly here I know full well its a pre-requisite to the insane right.

I acknowledge there is much wrong with this country Dale - a lot that genuinely frightens me, especially with my newborn son and his future and education - but it is for a lot a progressive society and with the power given to the masses by the likes of the internet it can be changed. Christopher Hitchens loved and made this place his own when he could so easily have remained in the UK but instead he saw I believe that he could make a difference here and I think in a small way he did, at least by getting people to read his book which I am sure for many gave them the courage to try. 

Yes I was lucky that we had Dawkins, the BBC. But here in the US there are a lot of great writers, thinkers and activists also and many more emerging. The internet is allowing the free press to be accessible to all and also I believe Fox is actually doing an awful lot to destroy itself (certainly News International with all the recent scandals of phone tapping are making people question journalism) and I think more people are fed up of being told what to think. There are choices and movements like this very site is bringing together people to stand up and be counted. Whilst I said there is a lot that scares me about being here, it is this standing here at a time when I feel a change is coming that makes it damn exciting to be here, especially as I think we can all be a part of that - you included. 

And finally, I hope you are around a lot longer to see this change as it is people like your good self who can make this happen - I can't vote remember, but you can

Cheers
Wayne 

Dale and Waynester.... very well said!

... and Marc you have just had the misfortune of being in the USA during the worse possible time period in the last 160 years, it certainly hasn't been like this since the market crash of 1920s! We have had, in the immediate last 15 years the supposedly most godly and  yet most godless hypocrites on the face of the earth... because greedy imperialists require good sheep and thoughtless followers, they have used Christianity as a bait and switch game to take what used to be folks with some common sense and a few liberties into the present adle pated idiots who blindly follow the loudest voice with the most money backing them up.

I am, in no small way completely disgusted by what a few greedy mega capitalists have done to the formerly free 'Can Do' country I was raised in and loved! They have bought our government so that it no longer serves the majority, but only a fat few, divided the nation and conquered it with lies, fear and hate mongering... and then proceeded to crash the global economy for fun and profit... none of this having a thing to do with what used to be considered a 'Christian' conscience. Shame on us for letting this happen without a groan or a whimper, let alone a gathering of revolutionary ire towards those responsible.

Pray? Hell I pray everyday for a miracle and I'm the most godless heathen I know! Because at this point we're all in that filthy fox hole with no hope in sight, with the devils behind and in front of us and our dazed brethren to the left and right of us. Why do you think religion was created in the first place? To explain the unexplainable, give an excuse for shit happening... as if being good and appeasing the gods ever changed squat.. and to meekly volunteer to be controlled by a few. Aarghhh.

As for you Marc? Be brave and true to the good and righteous in you, volunteer, join a movement, have a voice, do something with your time for those even less fortunate than you, gestate, create, find a niche, network, reorganize, reconnect to this unfortunate new world not of your making...... don't stay home and self flagellate....  a tsunami of greed did it.... IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT!

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