While I was in the cult, I was sick all the time (just like my sister). I had difficulties sleeping, remembering things, listening to people, concentrating, and was stressed easily. I had rashes all over my body, intense acne, and was starting to go gray. Small wounds (like getting my ears pierced) would take months to heal and frequently got infected.
It was horrible, particularly when I started college and went through intense culture shock. My first three years of college are mostly a blur of emotional and physical pain. I sought comfort in the teachings of the cult, despite the fact that they blamed my pain on “sin” and spiritual problems.
When I did try to discuss my physical problems with people in the cult, they found other reasons to ignore them. I was either too young to have them and therefore must be exaggerating, too stupid to see that it wasn’t a big deal, or too selfish to see how much worse off than they were.
Fortunately, I began my cult exit during my last year of college and I was able to have a year of cult-free academic freedom. I was less sick and my grades jumped to a 4.0. I admitted that my pain wasn’t a “spiritual” problem and took a class in nutrition so I could learn how to nourish my body and help it heal. I was a happier person and a couple teachers remarked upon the difference in my personality.
I’m slowly healing. While the cult didn’t cause my health problems, the stress greatly worsened them. It frustrates me because I feel like the cult is still hurting me even though I physically left a year ago. And I’m becoming more angry because understanding my health problems is making me realize exactly what they did and how much they didn’t care about me.