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Initial Depression After Leaving

The first and most crucial step when leaving BCC is understanding that you're not a bad person for doing so. You don't deserve any negative consequence or treatment for changing your belief system; if anyone says something negative to you then you must stand up for yourself. 

You deserve happiness. Though church members may write you off as 'entering into misery and despair', that is not true. Compute that you will be happier and the current moment of change is difficult, but it will get better.

Often times those who leave the church return to it only after a few months in the real world. They explain in their testimonies how depressed they were while away, how little the world has to offer, and so on. These testimonies may be true, but that's only due to a lack of guidance.

Of course, you'll be depressed after you leave the church. If you arent, then you probably haven't actually been in the church for a while.

BCC separates you from social groups outside the walls of the church from birth. Your social circle was entirely made up of church members, and now that circle is being erased. Depression and anxiety are to be expected. That said, they can be overcome. 

During your time in the church, your individual interests were suppressed. You did whatever the church needed you to, even if you didn't particularly enjoy it. "Hate soccer? Don't care, you have to play in order to be along." In the days after leaving BCC attempt to identify the hobbies and activities which truly make you happy, not what makes others blissful.

One of the first realizations after leaving is: wow I only have a few friends. With your hobbies and activities identified, try to find another social group to join. Humans are social animals, we need to be in social circles to be happy. 

Even small gestures help when joining social groups. The process will take some time, but sooner or later you'll find friends with similar hobbies or goals. If you enjoy art and pottery, find a local pottery club. If you love soccer, find a local league and join a team. Put yourself out there. 

Personally, I found that the easiest groups to join are those who don't know about BCC at all. High school acquaintances are great, but in my experience, I couldn't handle being seen as 'the church kid', as it doesn't really go away.

In between finding friends, keep yourself busy. The old saying of "every day find a boulder and push it" holds true. With everything around you changing so suddenly it's easy to become dejected if you're stagnant. Make a fitness goal, start a project, go for a walk, begin a new chapter in your life. 

Give the process some time. Happiness is around the corner, you just have to keep your head up and keep working. You can reach out to us at any time. We'd love to hear from you, and we hope you understand that we're always here for you to lean on.

-If you think you pose a threat to yourself or others, please seek professional help as soon as possible-

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