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As an Atheist or Agnostic, are you less depressed or anxious?

This is for those who were believers and then moved to the logical side.
Did you have depression and/or anxiety in your life when you believed?
Do you think the overall level of depression and/or anxiety is more or less, since you've become an atheist or agnostic?

MrLizard 8 Dec 11

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41 comments

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7

About the same, I'd say. I wish atheism had been a magic pill for me, but depression and anxiety will always be my stalwart companions.

5

My life, like anyone else, has its ups and downs. The downs, even the lowest ones, could not be described as depression and have always been of rather short duration. My ups have never been enough to be considered manic, and those too are fleeting. I'm just a boring example of our species.

4

Since depression is "too much past" and anxiety is "too much future"..I fail to see the relationship between depression / anxiety with Atheism.

4

I was definitely more anxious when I believed. Today, at the age of 80, I am neither anxious or depressed.

4

I had depression and anger issues as a Christian and still have them now as an atheist. The difference being I don't have to deal with the stress of being pressured to be active in church anymore on top of all my other responsibilities.

I can also say now I have allot more true friends that help get me through it regardless of my beliefs in God.

All in all I'd say becoming atheist did help reduce my stress level however the issues I have to deal with as someone who suffers from depression and anger are still there. I'm just not around so many triggers.

4

I think everything depends on the individual...

3

As a Spiritualist, I'm definitely more balanced than when I was a Christian operating within the confine of rules and appearances... LOL

3

Interesting question. I have always been a non believer so can't relate personally. But as a mental health nurse who often see the effects of grief and loss I t seems plausible losing your faith could cause depression and anxiety especially if the person doesn't feel they have gained something meaningful by adopting a non believer position. Many might feel freed and joyful for the change in life view... just a few thoughts

3

Definitely.

2

As a Fully Accredited, Qualified and practising Psychologist, Child and Young Adult Psychological Counsellor and also working with adults of all ages, I can honestly and openly state categorically that of the many hundreds of clients I have worked with over 30 plus years that I've been Counselling, 9 out of every 10 of my Theist/Religious Clients have plainly had and shown severe/extreme symptoms/sign of BOTH Depression and Anxiety whereas less 3 out every 10 Non-believing Clients have shown any of those symptoms/signs.
Others in my field have also found very much similar ratios and have documented them as have I BUT they too have found themselves to be the target of much derision, etc, from the 'circle' of fellow Psychologist who are adherent Religious Believers.
When it comes to the children/youths from Religious backgrounds in particular I have found, as also have innumerable fellow Psychologists btw, they suffer far more from Depressions/Anxieties than do the children from Non-Religious backgrounds and families and the Non-religious background children are not plagued by the one thing that is, in my opinion, epidemic among the Religious Children, that being an Ingrained Fear/Dread/Terror of punishment from their parents/peers and god IF they even listen to/try to comprehend. absorb ANYTHING at all that is not a part of nor relates to entirely the Tenets/Dogmas, etc, of the Belief System/s that they have force fed from the earliest parts of their lives.
Ergo, it is my Educated opinion that religion and religious up-bringing does have a very negate effect and harmful impact on the developing minds and personas of young children and young adults and this urgently needs to be addressed for the sake of future generations.

2

For me, within the first half hour of gaining the full understanding the god was imaginary, an adult lifetime of anxiety simply disappeared. That was 7 years ago, and I still have my full bottles of med on my closet shelf.

Just the other day I had a drunk dude walk in front on my car and I had to fully apply the brakes. No anxiety. No sweating. No excessive heart beating.

I have never been happier.

2

I have nothing to compare it to. I've been an atheist all my life.

2

I definitely experienced a drop in depression and anxiety levels upon leaving religion. It has, however, fluctuated since then for various reasons, some related to being atheist and some not.

2

I feel less guilty I can tell you that.

2

I think faith has a tendancy to make people feel guilty and sinful - that's one of its main aims.

If you are prone to such feelings, religion won't help you.

2

i've always kind of been agnostic/atheist so i guess nothing has really changed

2

I was flying high until November of last year.

gearl Level 7 Dec 12, 2017

For me, it happened when Bernie Sanders lost the primary.

I am starting to look at other countries to possibly move to. Depends on how bad Trump fucks everything up. Of course we have been heading in a downward spiral since Regan started the whole "trickle down" con. However, Trump is putting us into overdrive down the spiral..

1

Less guilt because sin isn't real. less fear bacause hell isn't real. more freedom to explore alternative ideas so my brain isn't stagnating in stasis.

1

So sorry!

Deity Level 3 Apr 17, 2019
1

I've been agnostic all my life and I experienced teen angst, overcoming several addictions...but all those had times some really fun rides!

I'm going to blame brain chemistry for a lot of it. But then, I only have myself to blame for the brain chemistry! That and the usual turmoil of an artistic temperament.

I've "mellowed" over the years though and I'm usually quite content in the zen/zone of the here and now. That is subject to change, though not nearly with the frequency and magnitude of years gone by.

1

Although raised religious, I was pretty much a closet atheist from a fairly young age - young enough that the weight of the world hadn't crushed me yet, anyway. 🙂

That said, as an atheist my entire adult life, I have suffered from depression but not out of anything related to religious guilt. On the other hand, I do personally know at least two people (a couple) who are very religious and both have pretty severe depression. From conversations with them, I have no doubt that much of it stems from the pressures of conforming to strict Catholic rules on what you can/can't or should/shouldn't do. And rather than bend the rules in order to possibly make their lives better, they simply pray to God to help them cope. You can imagine how well that goes.

1

In the past year more depressed. Mostly situational i believe from the loss of my son.

I am sorry for your loss, I am one of those that believe a Parent should Never bury their Children. Stay Strong.

1

I suffer from acute anxiety and depression due to a chemical imbalance, so I don't think a religious outlook has much to do with it...However, atheism gives me one less thing to be depressed about...

1

Yes, a lot less depressed and anxious. When you are raised to be religious and do everything they tell you to do to gain a beliefs and it never comes, they then tell you you re nto doing it right. It is a great relief and feeling of peace to discover or come to the conclusion, that it is not you that is wrong, but religion itself and you are actually more "normal" and sane than religious persons after all, and that failing to believe is a sign of rationality and sanity.

1

I don't think one has anything to do with the other, personally.

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