Pretending to be christian is taking it’s toll on my mental health.
Sorry for the wall of text!!!
So my story starts in my childhood. My parents were christians and I was brought in the church. They were pretty conservative and decided to homeschool me and my 4 brothers. By homeschooling that basically meant I didn't do school. In some ways it was good because I got to play with legos all day. At 7 years old my brothers got a stop motion animation computer program for lego my parent's told me I was too young for it. However it quickly became evident that I was the only one actually using it. Eventually one thing led to another and I went from stop motion lego to computer animation. So I've been making little films and animations since I was about 10.
At around 10 years old I still could not read properly. Because like I said, my parent's didn't know how to teach or actually give me an education. However they decided to put me and my brothers into a christian private school in which you could "work at your own pace." . Luckily the classes were small and basically each class had several grades in them. At 10 years old I started in grade 1 school books struggling to learn how to read. I remember in the first few months a couple of teachers gave me a "tour" of the lower grade class and were trying to put me in it. So they were wanting me to leave the class with other kids my age to a class with kids 5-8 year olds. Because it would have been slightly easier on the teachers logistically. This freaked the fuck out of my 10 year old self. So I started to bust my ass. For two years I brought my school work home and would do extra work. By the end of the two years not only could I read but I went from grade 1 school work to grade 5 work and averaging 90-100%. Never failing a course until towards the end of the second year when I failed an English course. In hindsight this wasn't a big deal because it was only a couple weeks of work to do it again. But I was devastated because I never failed a course before. I was so upset because I was basically under constant pressure to "level up to my grade". I literally cannot remember a time when the teachers said "Wow you did 5 grades worth of work in 2 years! Good job!" it was only ever "You have to catch up honey or you wont graduate highschool until you're 20."(I was literally told that). So in my frustration I complained to my mom and she basically took me out of school to "homeschool" me again. Which I regretted 6 months later because it destroyed any social life I had.
This time homeschooling was admittedly better because I had learned some discipline and was able to teach myself and complete my work without the need of my teachers's. However the biggest problem was that my mom was very abusive emotionally and occasionally physically. She would do temporary placement foster care, which social services paid her to do of course, but she would often try to pass off the responsibilities of taking care of the kids (aged 0-4) on her children(mostly me because I was home most often). And on top of that she was basically bed ridden during this time because she had "nerve damage". She had several medical procedures done but nothing helped. Some doctors told her it was psychosomatic but in her words "I'm not crazy! I'm not seeing a psychiatrist.". So spending 95% of my life at home wasn't great.
At around 14-15 I started to get interested in science and was completely baffled that people believe in evolution. My school books were right though, the earth was 6000 years old and evolution isn't real. So I started to watch debates and videos online, particularly Kent Hovind. Over time, of researching and watching evolution vs creationism debates, I slowly realized it was all bullshit. My education was in reality shit, and I was missing out on an entire field of science for ideological reasons. By 15 I considered myself an "evolutionist". And I found out that my entire highschool curriculum was not only low quality but unaccredited. I would literally have to do high school over again to get into university. So I told my mom I wanted to go back to real school. Which she just kept saying no and blamed it on dyslexia, which in fairness I may or may not have but if I do have it I was clearly able to compensate for it. I was never diagnosed with it anyways so it was a terrible reason and ironically she may have been the cause for my reading difficulty. But she was using it as a scapegoat to keep me at home so I could continue to help take care of the foster kids. This is a realization I'm only having now as I write this. I wouldn't let it go though, I really wanted to do real school but she kept telling me that I was "disabled" and it wouldn't work.
At 16 I had enough so I said fuck it, I'm done with the abuse and religion and I left home. By 17 despite going to church every week still, I became an atheist. I realized nothing fucking added up. Praying to god did absolutely nothing and people were full of shit. This was solidified when they brought a faith healer to my church. He preformed the leg lengthening trick on several of my friends which I immediately was skeptical of because I thought "Okay so god can instantly create human tissue that increases leg length by an inch or two, which is probably a pound or two of flesh. But he can't say grow someones finger back? I mean it's gotta be easier to grow a finger back because it's less tissue right? God only does miracles that can coincidentally be easily faked?"
I only told one or two friends that I didn't believe anymore and I slowly stopped going to church. I hated working construction so at 18 after two years I quit. I started working in retail for a few months and then got laid off.
My older brother, who is a christian, asked if I wanted a job at a christian charity he worked at. I needed a job and so I obliged. I figured I would only spend a few months until I found something better. Turned out it didn't really have anything to do with god and I liked the job so I stayed for awhile longer.
I met a girl there and we dated for 4 years. After a few months in I told her I wasn't a christian . She was one of 3 people I've ever actually told I was an atheist. She was kind of a crappy girlfriend and so we broke up 8 months ago. But she was one of the few people I could be open with about my actual beliefs. And unfortunately there is an overlap of people who go to my church and work at this charity so I've basically had to hide the fact that I'm an atheist to almost everyone. I'm sure that some people suspect that I'm not but no one knows for sure.
So 5 years in [I'm 23 now] and I've worked my way up in the organization and work as a supervisor. As far as my actual job description goes I'm basically a security guard/shipper and receiver so my job has almost nothing to do with any religion. I make decent money and have great benefits. However I've heard several of the higher ups and even my boss say specifically say "this guy is great and we would hire him but he's not a christian.". This week I was in a training course with the guy who is second to the CEO and he said "we know there are people that work here that aren't christian, but they really shouldn't be working here if they aren't christian.". I've heard this kind of crap so much that I'm fairly certain I would be fired if my bosses found out.
So for the past year I've been learning French and taking computer programming courses in hopes of getting some marketable skills to find a job where I don't have to hide. And I constantly have to hide. Even my landlords are christians and told me that I have to go to church to live here. I lie to them and tell them I go once a week during my lunch with a coworker.
I feel so isolated. I have to lie to my friends or fear losing my job, and because of my lack of education and the economy currently in the toilet I really can't lose my job right now.
I tried online dating to try and meet people outside of this circle of christians. I went on a few dates but then I saw one of the higher ups on this dating site. My profile said I'm an atheist so I immediately deleted my account.
There's this very attractive girl at work who I've been chatting with for awhile, and I'm sure she wants me to ask her out. But I'm too scared that she will find out that I don't believe and that word will get out that I'm an atheist or maybe she will use it against me. I feel like I can't be real. I'm becoming a shell of a person.
I'm incredibly depressed. I'm alone. I can't even have friends. I have to do my best to avoid building any real connections with people or risk my lively-hood. I don't have a safety net of a family. If I can't make rent I'm homeless.
TL;DR: I have to lie to literally everyone or lose my lively-hood. I've chosen to isolate myself so I don't have to try and lie as much to people. Because of this, lack of real human connection is making me extremely depressed. But hey, I live in a first world country and I'm not dirt poor. I have that going for me. FUCK RELIGION! FUCK TRIBALISM!