I was raised Protestant, but, in my exploration of Orthodoxy, feel called by God to move towards it. Hopefully this is the appropriate place to ask these questions.
I'm in my early twenties and have struggled with fairly severe OCD and anxiety. A fairly unstable home life exacerbated these illnesses, resulting in compulsive lying to keep safe and difficulty trusting others. Recently, I started to professional help and am starting to have hope again, for which I'm eternally grateful to God for. I take complete responsibility for the sins I have committed because of them, and fully desire, with the grace of God, to fight against the compulsive lying and other sins I am tempted by.
In about six months, I will be moving to a new city where there are Orthodox churches (there are none close enough for me to drive to where I live now), so I plan on visiting them then. Here are a couple of questions I have:
1.) Would a priest be understanding about how my past and illnesses have shaped my life, and be willing to aid me in learning how to live a life of integrity? I worry that this would be too demanding of a priest.
Yes. It is not too demanding for any real priest.
2.) Does Orthodoxy condemn medical treatment of such illness, such as anti-depressants and the help of a therapist to keep my symptoms under control?
No. Orthodoxy believes that God also guides the doctors and blesses them to make us well. While some of these mental illnesses may be demonic opression, many are just the natural result of man's sin and nature's fall. There is nothing wrong with, or faithless, in seeking medical treatment.
3.) Would I be shunned by other members of the Orthodox church for suffering from these illnesses and how they have manifested themselves in my life?
Who needs to know? And if you find someone with whome you want to share these things, they should accomodate you. I do not like to be lied to. But if a person came to me with your above confession, I would think nothing badly of them. We all struggle with things that are often unsavory.
4.) Does anyone have suggestions for creating a supportive community with other Orthodox Christians until I move? Is this forum a good place to learn and ask questions and for prayer?
Thank you very much!
It can be, if you take half of what you read with a grain of salt. There are some really wise people on here.