Growing up in a Catholic family is rough. Now, my family was not a strict Catholic family that you would see in the movies, we barely even went to church. But when I was in the church, even with my young eyes I could see the corruption unfolding before me. I was forced to go to "CCD" or Sunday School as most people know it. I don't even know what CCD stood for but I just went with it. I was the only kid in my class that had no clue what the Bible said or meant but all I really knew was that I didn't care. My mind was always cluttered with, "anyone could've written that" or "that doesn't even sound like it could physically happen in the world".

My final straw with Catholicism was when I was criticized by one of my peers who also went to my church for believing evolution. If a church couldn't even accept what was going on in front of them, I wanted no part of it. I was in 7th grade when I finally learned what I was, Atheist. Finally, someone put a label on it, I was very confused by the reaction from people when I said that. Growing up in a small town with a bunch of bible busters didn't help my case at all. I was told, "just go to church and God will find you", or "it's just a phase, you will find Him soon". But truth is, I don't want to find Him, or Him to find me. I have been berated over and over again about my choice of "religion". Like I said, I lived in a small town where everyone is religious except for a select few.

When I played volleyball, my team would pray before every game and I would stand to the side because I wanted no part of it. Or when my senior class decided to pray after the bus accident we endured, I choose to step to the back and play on my phone. Going to a public school you would think that there was the separation of church and state, NOPE. Going to a small school made it so much worse. There were church services at the school and religion would be tied to the lessons that were taught. I was absolutely appalled at what I was seeing, now that I am at college, I ask others if their high schools were like that and they said absolutely not.

So please, if we could respect those that do not have a religion or a religion other than Christianity, that would be great. Just recently, I revealed to my mother that I was an atheist, we were going through a very rough patch in my mental health journey and I felt like it was the right time to tell her. With all the support she has been getting from her posts about me, I would like to say thank you, but instead of praying for me, pray for those in your own life that are too scared to come forward about their mental health; I am slowly making progress, and that doesn't mean that I won't slip back down the hill. If you feel like you must do something for me, pray for yourselves and the loved ones in your life with mental health issues.