Christian Youth In Hiding – Counseling Helps Me Get Out Of My Shell (Allow Yourself To Be You)

I am born into a Christian family, and my parents are strict Christians.   I do attend Bible study sessions and some Christian group gatherings, and I enjoy them.   But I am keeping this a secret in school and even to some of my friends because I’m worried that they will look at me differently if they find out.

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Why Does Being A Christian Make Me Depressed?

People perceive Christians as perfect. Why can’t they understand that we are not?  We are in the process of perfection, trying to do our best to follow the teachings, but we too are human and we are bound to make mistakes.   Why do I feel like those judging eyes are ripping my spirit and examining my soul?

In each Bible study, we are encouraged to make an impact, but how can I?  How can I find the courage to influence my friends if I can’t even feel the courage within myself to come out and tell them, “Hey, I’m a Christian!”  The fact that I can’t let anyone know about my being a Christian is so frustrating and stressing that I often feel depressed, confused, lonely, and guilty.

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I Want To Belong

Everybody wants that feeling of belongingness, the feeling that I need to be one of them.  It’s actually one of the reasons why I often join my friends and classmates in parties even if my mind is going against it and I still give in to what my body wants. After a shot or two of alcohol, I will have this guilt feeling inside of me.  And as I reach home and I am alone in my bedroom, I will have these crying spells, seeing myself on my knees asking God for forgiveness. I’m very much aware that it is wrong, but I cannot resist the temptation of trying what my friends are doing.  It’s the only way I know for me to be accepted and have that sense that I belong. I need to be a Christian in hiding.

“Feeling that you belong is most important in seeing value in life and in coping with intensely painful emotions,” said Karyn Hall, PhD.

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Guilt And Depression

I no longer want this feeling, and the shame is locking me up in the dark corner of depression.   I started to think of things I shouldn’t be contemplating, like taking my own life so that I will stop sinning.

I cried out for help, which God seemed to hear, and I thank Him for giving me parents that are always there to rescue me.   I told them my troubles, and they sought counsel to help me with my ordeals.  All three of us are undergoing counseling, so each will know how to handle my situation.

The counselor reminded us how and why God created the family, and that is to be each other’s support and source of strength.   We are not a perfect family, but I’m assured that no matter what I do or become, they will be there for me.  They help me get back on my feet, supporting me while I am undergoing counseling.

“But we don’t defeat depression. We don’t defeat anxiety. We don’t prevail over addiction or any other co-occurring disorder. We don’t power our way through it to not have to deal with it anymore. Before we do anything, we need to accept that we have it,” said Hannah Rose, LCPC.

Counseling Teaches Me How To Be Me

What God wants for us all is to be happy, may we be children, youth, or adults.   If we are happy, we will be glorifying and thanking Him with our hearts.

We tend to treasure things that make us happy.  And the Bible says, where our treasure is, so our heart is.  If God is the source of that happiness we feel, then our hearts will be with him.  It is clear, then, that God wants us to be happy.

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Being a Christian should not be a burden like a cross we carry on our shoulder, but across that, we proudly wear in our hearts.   My counselor told me that it is crucial for me to know where I really stand in my faith.   And once I have decided about it, I should be firm, for if I believe in the God that is loving, caring, and protective, then he will protect me even if the world goes against me.  He is the constant thing that will stay by my side no matter what happens. Not bad, isn’t it?

After giving those words some thought, reflecting on my deeds, my friends, my family, and what I really wanted in my life, I have decided.   I will be a Christian not just inside our church, but a Christian who touches people’s lives for that is what I want.  I may not be able to encourage other people to change or accept me immediately, but I can start by recognizing who I really am and make a change by allowing myself to be me wherever I go.

My counseling sessions and my parents’ support help me to get out of my shell slowly and become a Christian who aims to make an impact in my friends’ lives by allowing myself to be me, a Christian in the open.  I wear my cross around my neck hanging right in front of my chest so that my schoolmates can see.  I gain some friends and lose some, but it’s fine with me. After all, I gained God’s love and trust.

My counselor told us that nowadays, many of the young ones are burdened by their religious affiliations, not only Christians. This can be a source of depression because they can’t freely express what they believe in out of fear that they will be bullied and outcasted by schoolmates, friends, and even families.  It sometimes leads some of these teenagers to be on the wrong path.  In fact, pressure, rejection, and feeling unaccepted (both in the social circle and families) are some of the most common causes of suicide in kids.

“People suffering from mental illness are just that, suffering from an illness. But not one they can just get over, like a cold—it’s more like cancer. They cannot just ‘snap out of it.’ It is an ongoing fight,” said Gina Gambino, RN, BS.

So it is essential for families to be strong and open to their kids because if the school fails to address these matters, and friends are nowhere to be found for support, the only backing a child can get is from his own family.  Parents should not judge their kids even if they make a mistake because being religious does not automatically make one perfect, but instead, understand that they are kids who are struggling to be good. Calmly guide them to be back on the right path while holding their hands.  This feeling of assurance that there is somebody to be there for them will help kids become strong and courageous enough to get out of their shell and be themselves, Christian or not.