There is life after fundamentalism I'm only really beginning to understand that now after years of therapy, counselling, reflection but those of us who grew up in fundamentalism faiths it was our whole world, our introduction to life, it gave us a rigid set of rules by which to abide. There is a sense of comfort in that. For those of us who leave, we lose that sense of security. We have to challenge everything that we have ever been taught, everything that we have learned. The entire lens through which we view the world shatters like glass.

5 years ago I had postpartum depression. PPD is not easy to contend with in normal circumstances but in a fundamentalist religious context, experiencing a mental illness of any kind is devastating. When I first started to talk about some of the symptoms I was experiencing and how I was feeling, rather than being met with understanding with support I was met with entirely the opposite. I was shamed, I was gaslit, I was told to stay silent I was shunned by my own family.

This led me down some very dark paths. I became suicidal. I believed I was bad because I had been told I was selfish, I needed to pray more, and draw closer to God, this was why I was ill. I went even deeper into a dark place of depression all my self-esteem was gone, the pain was so heavy.

I married outside of fundamentalism and my husband had seen postnatal depression before. He stood alongside me and without pushing me, when I was ready, supported me to go and see a doctor and begin the long process of treatment.

Over 2 years ago now I made the very difficult decision to say goodbye to my family to cut ties completely. the guilt that I live with impossible to describe each day I feel bad for what I did. Society really values familial relationships and particularly places the maternal role in a place of reverence. To break with one family therefore is something that's stigmatised sometimes in society. However, if a relationship is deeply toxic and damaging you have to walk away. You have to honour and protect yourself .

So here I am five years on from my shunning. Still living with mental illness , depression, anxiety, PTSD, but still here. I'm so thankful to have survived and had the courage to walk away.

And yes, there is life after fundamentalism. #PostnatalDepression #PTSD #fundamentalism #cultsurvivor