My 300th Post – Channeling My Inner Grandpa G., Recovery, and My Red State

This is my 300th post! I am so grateful for Freethought Blogs. Not only is it a great outlet for my writing, but it also allows me to have conversations that might be difficult to have in real life. 

I spend a lot of time writing about mental health as atheism has played a huge part in my recovery. Jesus doesn’t care about my wellness, my doctor does, and I don’t thank god for my medications, I thank science. My medications work and I know I need to stay on them. Knowing there isn’t an afterlife keeps me motivated and reminds me to live my life to the fullest despite having schizoaffective disorder. 

I write from real life and am not an expert in anything but myself. My blog makes me think of my Grandpa G. He had a fascinating life and loved sharing his experiences. Everyone was captivated by his storytelling. A few years before Grandpa G died, I recorded him reminiscing with our family at my dad’s house. It was actually for a class project but now the recording is a treasured keepsake. My goal with my writing is to channel my inner Grandpa G and share my story with as much passion as he did his. 

The past few months have been very difficult as I received treatment for a decades-old eating disorder, and my journey is far from over. Thank you for making my blog a safe place for me to share my challenges. I hope one day my posts will help others. 

I often complain about living in a red state, but I have no plans of leaving. My family has lived in the same area for 170 years. This is my home and I want to see it become a better place. If you have any ideas on how to do that, I’d love to hear them. 

Thank you for reading and commenting over the last few years and hopefully for years to come. I am always learning from you. Thank you for your support.

Is there ever a time when people “need” god?

So I was watching Dr. Phil again. This time my husband was in the room. In this episode, there was a boy with a very rare genetic disorder where he couldn’t feel pain. It was very dangerous because he was constantly getting injured. They interviewed the family and they were obviously religious. They brought up god a couple of times. Then when interviewing the boy – who was surprisingly upbeat – he said “it’s how god made me.”

It was obvious that the thought of god was comforting for this family who has been through so much. My only hope is that they are thanking all the doctors who have helped them as much as they are thanking god. 

Do you think there’s ever a time when people “need” god (or something like it)? Like you’re in such an extreme situation that you need faith in something to get by?

After watching this episode, my husband asked me, “If you grew up with very serious health issues, do you still think you would’ve become an atheist?” My answer was “yes” but honestly if I was put in those circumstances I’m not 100 percent sure. 

So now I’m asking you the same question – if you grew up in an extreme situation, would you still have become an atheist? Maybe you’ve been through something similar. Do people ever “need” god? Is there something you have faith in for coping and comfort other than god? 

Eating Disorder Recovery — Can You Be a Big Girl and Own It?

I’ve done a lot of work on body image since going into treatment for my eating disorder. Sometimes I want to work on accepting my body just as I am right now and other times I just want to focus on other aspects of my life. For example, I’m a writer – that has nothing to do with my looks. I feel both tactics are valid and I’ve come a long way.

Here is a journal entry I found from when I just started treatment.


12/21/21 – Day Six

Is there a way to be a big girl and own it? Fuse it with your being to where it’s not even an issue – it’s just you?

It seems like people with big personalities can pull it off – but that just isn’t me.

I care a lot about what I look like.

There. I said it.

I always think my life would be better if I was thin. But is that just a shitty excuse? There’s really no reason why my life can’t be better now. I know firsthand that skinny doesn’t equal happiness, so why do I still give a fuck?

I tend to focus on how I might look in the future. When I lose weight I’ll do this or that. I’ll travel. I’ll meet people. I’ll promote my books and look good doing it.

Why am I not doing these things now? Why do I always have to wait?

My husband thinks I’m beautiful and I wish he would tell me that more often. Unfortunately, I need reassurance.

Does it matter if anyone else thinks I’m beautiful?

Of course, it does. Me. I need to think I’m beautiful.

However, beauty is only the surface. There are much deeper issues that fuel my eating disorder.


As an atheist, I find myself often sporting a “you only live once” attitude. Maybe I need to keep that in mind when I’m considering what I can and can’t do at my current size.

It’s true – there are several deeper issues that fuel my eating disorder but I’ve been told that the body image issues are the last to go. After all the therapy, meal planning, etc., body image issues tend to hang on even after you’re doing better. They’re a thorn in my side right now.

Sorry if this is a touchy question — do you accept your body as it is right now? How did you get to that point?

Get Out of Bed — Poetry from Another Broke Ass Millennial

Get Out of Bed


Fourteen dollars in the bank
and five days til payday –
I’ll hide in bed
because anxiety doesn’t cost a thing.

No fuel in my car,
no fuel for my feet,
no motivation to be found.
I want to stay in my room –
avoid facing a world I can’t afford.

Getting ahead is a lie.
It’s a never-ending game of catch-up
that I don’t want to play anymore.

A narrative all-too-familiar –
youthful dreams
burn in the barrel.
Expectations of yesteryear
are far out of reach.

I’m one missed paycheck
from disaster,
one heartache too many. 

Get out of bed
and make your voice heard.
Nothing changes
if we don’t rise up together.

Can’t move forward.
Can’t stay home.
There are mouths and minds to feed.
Don’t drown in silence.

Can you hear me?

Do skeptics have fewer fears?

When I was away at treatment for my eating disorder I learned that there’s a difference between anxiety and fear. Anxiety is a sort of anticipation like worrying about something in the future – maybe even something that will never happen. Fear is more in the moment like an immediate threat or danger.

I’ve always been an anxious person but I never really understood the difference between anxiety and fear. Anxiety feels like a constant undercurrent in my life but when am I actually fearful?

Rational or Irrational Fear?

I’m afraid of deep water. I am constantly on edge if we are near it. I avoid boats and ships. Every September my family goes to Kelleys Island in Lake Erie. You have to take a ferry to get there and every time we get on it, I swear it’s going to sink. Every single year! I have been on that ferry more times than I can remember but I still get an upset stomach and sweat forms on my brow. 

I have a physical reaction every time I’m near deep water.

The thing is, I’m actually a pretty decent swimmer. I don’t mind shallow water. But if I can swim well, what’s the difference if it’s shallow or deep? 

This seemed like an irrational fear until my daughter was born six years ago. When my daughter is around deep water my fear is times ten. There’s a quarry on my husband’s family’s property, and whenever we go to visit, you better believe I watch my daughter’s every move. She always wants to play outside and I cringe every time she opens the door.

I may be going a bit overboard but I feel with my daughter my fear of deep water has gone from irrational to rational. I don’t even want to think about what could happen.

Also, my daughter has been taking swimming lessons every week since she was three years old. I made sure of it.

I talk myself into it.

When I’m feeling anxiety or fear I often have to talk myself into things. For example, I get nervous when I drive. I always think I’m going to get into an accident or break down. I have to tell myself that the odds of my getting into an accident and breaking down every single time I get into my car are pretty small. Also, I’m a careful driver and I have AAA. 

I drive almost every day and rationalizing with myself really helps. It’s hard though because I know in the back of my mind all sorts of unfortunate events are possible.

I know thinking about ways to stay safe despite small possibilities is more effective than praying every time I get in the car. The question is, do people feel relief after praying as I do after rationalizing?

Does being a skeptic affect your fear?

We all know religion feeds on fear and people will believe just about anything. Are religious people more fearful in general? Do they have more irrational fears? Or do they find peace thinking god will protect them?

Can being a skeptic affect what you fear? If you have the ability to question your fear, does it lessen it? 


What do you think? Also, what things are you afraid of? Are they rational or irrational? I’d love to hear it.

“Mistreated” — A Poem from My Book, Free to Roam


Beads of envy line your forehead—
in your sick game,
you brought fire to the fight.
My impressionable spirit whets your appetite for attention.

Peck away at my frazzled brain.
My secret thoughts run down your chin.
Sour doubt and anxiety
appease your fickle cravings.

You could be anywhere—
watching, waiting, stewing in your misery.
Nowhere is safe.
You assert your crumbling power with fear.

A captive victim of your abuse—
your overbite stabs at my fragile existence.
You’ll never know the cost of your actions—
a price I’ll pay for the rest of my days.

I want vengeance
but I want freedom even more.
You’re gone but still very much present
in my broken brain.

Thoughts of progress are fleeting,
pain erodes hope.
Your suffocating grip lingers.
I’m shackled from my next chapter.

The cold shadow of trauma
blankets my world.
Maybe with time
healing light will creep back in.


My poetry book gives an atheist perspective on being a Midwest Mom. It is for sale on my publisher’s site, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon. (Signed copies are available at

What does marriage look like?

How do you feel about polygamy? Hear me out…

I’ll admit it – I’m a huge fan of the show Sister Wives on TLC. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a reality show following a husband, his four wives, and eighteen children. It’s been on the air for a long time. In fact, many of the children are now grown – some even starting families of their own. I was really fascinated with this show since it showed a lifestyle so incredibly different from mine, however, in the later seasons, I was a little disgusted to see how arrogant and controlling the husband had become. I’ve seen all the episodes so now I need to find a new embarrassing guilty pleasure.

Today I didn’t have much going on, so while my husband was at work I started watching another show – Seeking Sister Wife. It’s a reality show that follows polygamous families searching for a new wife. This show is also really fascinating. Many of the families on the show aren’t religious at all, they just choose the lifestyle and want a big family. The families definitely weren’t what I was expecting. They were a very diverse group and not modestly dressed like you might picture with wives from plural marriage.

Now that I know you don’t have to be religious to be polygamous, I really wonder what that must be like. To be honest, I’m a jealous person and I demand a lot of my husband’s attention, so bringing another woman into the picture would probably be extremely difficult. But then again, after everything I’ve been through in the past few months with my mental health struggles, maybe it would be nice to have support from other adults in the house. Extra help raising my daughter? That sounds nice, too.

Okay, so I see a few benefits to this lifestyle…or maybe I just need more friends. Has anyone else wondered about this? Just me? And where are the brother husbands?

This also makes me wonder what I’m going to tell my daughter about marriage. Really, marriage can look just about any way you want it to as long as it’s between consenting adults. I got married at twenty-seven and I was so nervous on my wedding day. At the time, I felt marriage was necessary for my life. My husband didn’t feel as strongly about it. He married me because I wanted to get married. He’s made it clear that he would have been with me either way. 

I don’t want my daughter to ever feel like she has to get married. I want her to be in whatever relationship makes her happy.

What does marriage look like for you? Parents, what have you taught your children about marriage? 

Sexy Stranger Poetry — “Chance”


I lay awake at night
thinking about you
picturing your smile
imagining your touch.

I don’t want it to end.
Night will soon be morning
so I close my eyes
and hope I dream about you.

Always be with me
even if it’s just in my mind.
I wonder what it would be like
if you felt the same.

I won’t ever let go.
Life is too short
to not be in love.
I just want a chance to meet you.

Praying to Cover All Bases “Just in Case” God Exists

Have you ever encountered someone who says they pray “just in case” god exists? I once heard that compared to leaving garlic above your door just in case vampires exist. 

They say they want to “cover all bases”. 

Nobody really knows what happens after you die. It’s not like someone can come back after dying to tell us what it’s like.

But common sense tells me there’s nothing after death. I feel that’s all atheism is – common sense. 

I personally feel it’s a little dangerous to play the “just in case” and “cover all bases” game. Whether you truly believe in it or not, I feel that’s condoning religion and all the evils that come with it. It’s similar to that saying, “If you’re silent when there’s injustice, you’ve taken the side of the oppressor.” 

Maybe people will say there’s a difference between just believing in god and practicing a religion but I feel the idea of god only exists for greed and power. To me, god is oppression – keeping people in their place. Make people complacent so you can control them. 

Death brings out the fear of the unknown so I can kind of see why some people say “just in case” but it still gets under my skin considering everything it symbolizes. 

How do you feel about people who say they pray “just in case” or to “cover all bases”? Do you think they truly believe in god at that point? Also, do you think it’s possible for some people to completely separate god from religion? Have you ever been a “just in case” person?

Eating Disorder Recovery — I survived Christmas in treatment.

Last December I was admitted to a treatment center for eating disorders. I spent the holidays there and was discharged in February. I want to share with you my journal entry for Christmas Day. As an atheist, I don’t give a fuck about Christmas but I do give a fuck about spending time with my family and that just wasn’t possible last year. 

Just a few days before Christmas there was a Covid outbreak at the treatment center and we were quarantined in our apartments just a few blocks away. Our groups and appointments were done virtually. All of our meals and snacks were delivered to us and we ate on camera. 

Christmas was like any other day as far as treatment was concerned. We had groups and supervised meals all day. 

I often took notes in my journal during group therapy sessions and I decided to leave the notes in this entry because I thought they were interesting. We discussed anger and judgment on this day. I wrote down a few quotes that day as well.

Christmas was surprisingly hard.


12/25/21 Day Ten

I am slipping – with my meals and my attitude. I’m feeling hopeless. I fantasize about the day I’m discharged and get to go home with my family but there’s so much work ahead of me to get to that point that I don’t know if I’ll ever get there – or even if I want to.

This morning I’m doing a video call with my family to watch Karly open her gifts but I’m thinking of texting my husband to cancel. I’m already a mess and I don’t want Karly to see me so sad. Christmas should be happy for kids.

I didn’t think Christmas would bother me but this sucks so bad.

I texted my husband and he said the right thing – “Okay if you’re sure. We love you so much!” We’re going to talk later in the day.

I feel bad for feeling hopeless earlier. Time is going fast. I need to put in the work. I sure as hell don’t want to go back to feeling sick all the time. That’s why I’m here. I need to take advantage of this opportunity – even if it isn’t quite what I thought it would be. I know I can try harder.

Do I have too high of expectations for my recovery right now?

I’m still tearing up thinking about not seeing Karly today. This is going to be a long day. Tomorrow isn’t going to be any easier – it’s my wedding anniversary.

“I confuse familiarity with safety.”

If I was with my family on Christmas, I wouldn’t actually be there. This is where I need to be.

“You can feel multiple feelings. They can coexist.”

“Loneliness is an invitation for self-care.”

Can you dip grilled cheese in ranch? I’m afraid to ask. I really wanted the leftover ranch from my carrots. I was going to stick my fingers in it but I didn’t.

Meals have been rough today. An apple and part of a banana for breakfast, pretzels for snack, and grilled cheese for lunch. I gagged and spit the grilled cheese out. I tried so hard and took several bites. Is it okay to just not like things? I’m forcing myself to like things and it doesn’t seem to be working.


Purpose of Emotion Group: Anger

What does anger look like? How do you know you’re angry or that someone else is angry?

Need to get out – visceral feel
See things through a different lens
Smallest thing bothersome
Don’t communicate
Shut down
Harder to use direct communication
Body gets hot
Feel the need to pace/move
Fall asleep, escapism
Crossed arms
Short responses to questions
Affect relationships
Antagonize others
Take it out on myself or others
Core beliefs
All or nothing thinking
Taking sides
Bursting – no longer holding it in
Racing thoughts
Social media, angry scroll/post
Reinforce labels/stereotypes
Red hot anger
Lose control
Feels unheard
Feels invalidated
Scream, trying to be heard
Punish self
Overexplain, need to prove
Tunnel vision
Not responsive, shut down
Sarcasm, using humor
Norms may be different

Anger Iceberg


Emotions you’ve noticed under anger –

Out of control
Low self-worth

Benefits to anger –

Feel powerful
Tell us something, morals and ethics
Shows who/what we care about
A way of taking care of yourself
Social justice movements
Tell a story
Can be empowering
Make changes

Cost to acting on anger – not underlying emotion

Reacting instead of responding
Losing relationships
Increase in depression, SI
May not help situations

How to honor underlying emotions –

Speaking the truth
What is this telling me?
How is this emotion serving me?
Using coping skills
Not masking or bottling up
Being honest with self
Valid feeling, choose how to express it

Anger is a spectrum, not necessarily bad or just one thing.

Anger is a secondary emotion.


Group: Judgment and Nonjudgmental Stance

What does judgment look like?

Criticism (from self and others)
Quick decision
Labeling someone as their actions
“Right way”
Should statements
“No excuses”
Backed by past experiences

Benefits to judging –

Can keep me safe
Reading a room
“Is this okay?”
Brings awareness
Helps me create boundaries
Gathering information
Starting place for insight
Impacts worldview

Costs to judging –

Past can keep us stuck
Might not get to know others, assumptions
No benefit of the doubt
Jumps to conclusions
Increase in insecurity
Increases anxiety
Lack of curiosity

Skills for nonjudgmental stance –

Differentiating between “I did a bad thing” vs. “I am a bad person”
Look at your own biases
How could this be serving me?

It’s easier to have a judgment than to sit with the unknown.

Can be a filtering system


Is it weird that so much of this relates to my relationship with food? Maybe that’s my relationship with myself? Core beliefs?

Maybe that’s ridiculous. I don’t know.

I judge food and my eating habits as well as others’ eating habits.

Food scares me if I’ve never tried it.


I’m having an urge to binge. I had a blueberry muffin and it was fantastic. Now I just want more.

Today has been so hard. I don’t give a fuck about Christmas but I do give a fuck about my family. I’m sitting on my bed letting myself feel my feelings for a minute. I was going to say I’m a mess again, but that’s not fair. I am a mother missing her child and a wife missing her husband.

Tomorrow is going to be hard – it’s our wedding anniversary.

Today is Saturday. I haven’t left the apartment since Tuesday. Everyone keeps saying that it’s quite a bit warmer than usual outside. I wouldn’t know. I keep saying I’ll be good and go for a walk, but I really don’t want to. I thought that was one way I could lose weight while I’m here, but I just can’t get off my lazy ass and do it.

I’ve also had a headache for the past few days. After program, I just want to lay around the apartment.

I really enjoyed the group on anger today. My anxiety often manifests as anger. I get irritable and impulsive, and the underlying emotion is fear.

But sometimes the underlying emotion to my anger is feeling unheard. People know me as quiet but I’m quiet because I feel like I’m never given a space to speak. I feel people view me as childlike and therefore my opinions don’t matter. It hurts. Maybe that’s why I like writing so much – I can say what’s on my mind and no one can stop me or interrupt me. I’m not exactly sure how to fix that. I could try to speak up more but sometimes I think it’s better just to write more.

Feeling unheard makes me feel powerless which feeds my low self-worth. Writing gives me back my power and raises my self-worth. I’m proud of the projects I’ve worked on. I’ve grown as a writer over the past year and that also improves my self-worth.

It has to be me because I feel unheard in many different situations with lots of different people. The anger sits with me and I think my core beliefs come into play –

No one likes me.
I’m not very smart.

Sometimes I feel I am ambitious so I can use my successes to prove that I’m worthy. Unfortunately, I don’t think anyone cares or is paying attention.

I looked at everyone’s body here and compared them to mine. I can’t help it. I’m relieved that I’m not the fattest person here. I’m somewhere in the middle. I wish a dress code could be enforced because I’ve been triggered by what some people wear.

God that sounded bitchy.

How is this judgment serving me?

I’m insecure and don’t want to stand out in a negative way. I need reassurance. I want people to like me and think I’m pretty.

For some reason, that’s all important to me.

I shouldn’t want people to see me as pretty. When this is all over I want them to see me as resilient.

Costs of this judgment?

Assumptions, increased insecurities and anxiety. Eventually I think no one likes me and I isolate.

I survived Christmas.

It was an introspective day. I’m fucking up pretty bad with my meal plan but still feeling okay physically.

It’s pretty amazing sitting here by the window twenty-five floors up in downtown Chicago. I can see in the windows of hundreds of apartments. There are lights, people, Christmas trees. It’s just this tiny glimpse into other people’s lives. I don’t know how anyone lives here but I’m still curious.


Staying in Chicago was hard. Being away from my family was even harder. I survived Christmas but shortly after I was moved to a higher level of care. I will share more on that later.