im hurt, desperate, confused and considering this religion - advice?

by very_confused 55 Replies latest jw friends

  • DanTheMan

    It sounds like you're a very introspective and sensitive person, in my experience and observation it seems like periods of depression is vitually guaranteed with persons of your personality type. I feel for what you're going through.

    I joined the JW's at age 22, it was at a time when I was very lonely and desperate for something to make sense out of our chaotic world. The easy answers and instant friendships I found at the Kingdom Hall had an effect not unlike that of antidepressants - It made me feel very secure and purposeful, and I needed that so bad at the time, so I set critical thinking aside and joined them 100% conviced that I was doing the right thing.

    But I found out what has been borne out on this board time and again: with JW's, disillusionment is inevitable. And the fact that you already recognize that this religion seems cultish means that the disilusionment will come that much sooner, that is if you are ever able to accept their bizarre worldview to begin with.

    Stick around, this is a friendly place, well, most of the time :) And as has already been recommended, definitely check out the "Best Of" section.

  • rebel8

    If the problem is depression/loneliness, believe me, religion is not the answer. Therapy is the answer. Find a good therapist and follow through on treatment recommendations. The therapist will be able to help you work through your emotions and to make positive changes in your life. Becoming a JW will make your life temporarily feel better but soon enough you will feel a whole lot worse.

  • very_confused

    Thank you all. I read carefully through all of your comments, and more than once. The support is comforting, and, it does help. So thanks again. I do value your input, and hope to hear more of your thoughts.

    Well, you've all collectively convinced me to dump the Jehovah's Witness idea. Since every single one of you felt it was a bad idea, and since you are all people with far more experience than I do when it comes to this religion, I think its in my best interests to take your word for it. I didn't like a lot of the things I've read here about this religion, particularly some of the restrictions suggested. To me, art, music, and literature are some of best things in life, and I would not gladly part from them. I'd already heard about the alienation and it did not bother me much, seeing as at this point I don't have much of a family, and as I've said I've lost my friends. I suppose the "insta-family" that would come with a cult religion like this one, however fake, is a somewhat pleasant thought. However, Forsharry's point about my future with the Jehovah's witnesses was quite a salient one for me. I do hope to one day have children, assuming I get better of course, and I don't think it's fair to subject them to anything like the isolation of this religion So thank you for bringing that up. It is sometimes difficult to think for me to think about the long term when I am so preoccupied with the present and the near future.

    As for why I was looking into the Jehovah's Witnesses as opposed to another, less drastic religion, while I sort of guessed the JW would probably have the ugliest long term results, the appeal of it was the immidate short term effects. The immidiate love of these sort of cult-like groups is a pleasant idea to a desperate, lonely person such as myself. Yeah, I'm sure the love is fake but... it is something, and right now I have nothing. These days choices that will help me in the short term but will screw me over in the end often override choices that will make keep me suffering now but will eventually help me later. These days, even lying in bed all day long takes effort, and every day i make it through it feels as if I've just done something very difficult, although in reality the only thing I've done is just keep breathing. I feel like I need some immidiate help, something right away to at least help me take a step in the right direction and make a little bit of difference in my life.

    Anyway... while I've ruled out the idea of joining any drastic religions, I'm still considering giving Catholicism a second try. I've decided to try going to mass a couple of times (i used to go every Sunday), just to see how it'll make me feel now. Also of interest, a few people suggested a non-denominational christian study group as a better alternative. Could you tell me more about this, and how would i go about finding one? I'm pretty unfamiliar with that but it seems like something that may be worth looking into. As for my reasons for wanting to try some religion, there are several. Like I said earlier, first of all I'm having some trouble holding on and am looking to latch on to something fast, as fast as possible. I'm not expecting a quick-fix solution to all my problems, and as others have pointed out, I agree that having it fix all my problems is very unlikely. But I'm hoping it might give me something to look into, and possibly pursue, and that's a start. Also, while I've been agnostic (I shouldn't have said atheist earlier, that's not quite right) for the past few years, I've also been thinking - even in healthier times - that it would be nice to able to believe in God in general, as it gives a source of hope, a source of love (from God), and removes some of the fear associated with death. I also think that I could much more easily accept religion or Christianity now than I could earlier... I've already sort of gravitated closer towards it on my own. In the worst of times, i sometimes catch myself praying subconciously to *something* even if a true belief isn't there... and that's been happening pretty often recently. The aspect of unity and belonging is also desireable to me, even though this effect will likely be much more minimal in a Catholic mass rather than the Jehovah's Witnesses. Hower, the most the most attractive part of the Christian religion for me is, not the other Christians themselves, but the idea that even if you have no one else, you are still loved and cared for by some higher power. If you can believe that God or Jesus loves you unconditionally, then you have a continuous and permanent source of hope and love, from a source that won't just get up and leave or just stop caring about you one day... as people often do. The next statement might seem kind of offensive for those of you who are religious, and I do not mean it in any kind of offensive way so I hope you do not take it as such - but I'm thinking of getting a dog for the same general reason, just to have a permenant source of love from somewhere, even if it isn't the as ideal as having another person there for me. As for reading the bible directly and skipping any sense of religion or formalities as some suggested, I haven't been in a "spiritual" state of mind for some time now, and if I am to pursue this I probably need some push or direction which would be greatly faciliated by some form of organized religion, even if it just means attending mass. And attending mass is also appealing because it will give me something to do. Finding something to to fill up the hours is difficult, and this emptiness makes me more depressed. So the idea of some sort of Christianity is appealing to me from a number of different angles.

    As for the anti-depressants, I've been on Effexor for 3-4 weeks now. I did some research on the web and its some pretty nasty stuff. However, for those of you who commented, I would like to point out that I am extremely dilligent with the doses, and that I'm not mixing drugs. The second day on this drug, I had this sort of zombie effect in that all my feelings were almost completely numbed out, I couldn't feel much of anything, and quite honestly felt like a houseplant. While this is not really an ideal state of being, I was satisfied with it, because after feeling *too much*, feeling nothing was a welcome relief. From that day on I never used any other drugs besides the anti-depressants, because I felt I didn't really need these other drugs anymore. But now I feel as if the meds aren't working, or that they aren't working nearly as well as they should. Ever since I lost my sole source of support, much of the depression has returned, as has the hopelessness and the anxiety, coupled by the fact that I've never, ever, felt this lonely in my entire life. It seems that I'm basically screwed in terms of switching to other meds, because these ones appear to be the hardest ones to kick, even with the help of Prozac. The withdrawals are a nightmare - audio and visual hallucinations, electric shocks in your brain, the list goes on. I cannot handle that, not now.

    I'm actually not receiving any councelling right now. I had when I was in my mid-teens for a while, but then discontinued. That was when I was diagnosed as depressive, by the way. At the time I was quite vehment about not taking any medications, and the doctor kept urging and urging me anyway, so I stopped going to therapy. I agree that I should be seeing someone right now, and I'm trying, but it seems like I'm going to have to wait. I'm still waiting for one doctor to call me back, and a clinic that I'm trying to get treatment from for the past month turns out to have a 2 month waiting list. I wish I could talk to a professional today, and I wish I could say that, but the only way that would happen is if I went to emergency, and if I did that, I'm afraid they'd hospitalize me. That isn't going to do me any good. I still would like someone to listen to me, even if it is just a shrink, and I think it will help. In the end though, the therapist is just someone whose paid to care, someone who wouldn't listen to me otherwise. And while some shrinks probably genuinely would care, maybe im just cynical but they seem to be the minority. Having someone who's paid to listen to you isn't nearly as comforting as knowing that there is someone who cares enough that they will do it for free, for as long as it takes, even if it is unpleasant for them. That's probably my biggest obstacle in getting better now, the fact that i have no one who cares about me. In the past, there was always at least someone, now there is no one. I know I won't find anyone for a good while - in the state that I'm in, I'm not the most pleasant person to get to know or be around.

    So yes I do need to find friends, but that's something that always seems to have been easier for most people than it has been for me. My social needs are probably different than that of most people's in that I feel fully fullfilled socially even if i only have one or two friends, as long as they're very good friends that I can trust and that I know will be there for me. Befriending someone on a superficial level isn't that difficult, but I find these sorts of friendships very unsatisfying to me and in the end, they do nothing to help my loneliness. Further, I've always found that the number of people I'm able to really bond with is extremely limited. While I've never been particularly sociable, all my life I'd always had at least one or two good friends, people that cared about me and that I could talk to. When I was 15 though, I finally met a person that embodied everything I'd ever wanted in a friend. She understood me, and I understood her. We spent 5-6 hours a day together, every day of the week for 4 years straight. I know I'm still pretty young, but it seems unlikely that I'll ever be as close to someone as I was to her, or able to relate to someone on as deeply a level as I did to her. By the time I was 17 all my other friendships except hers faded away, and I made no effort to make other good friends because socially, I really didn't feel the need. I felt like I had everything I needed in her. That's where I made my mistake. I should have made the effort to at least find another one or two friends beforehand, back when I was in a healthier mindstate and would still be able to do it, just so that I'd have someone to fall back upon in case this one friendship turned sour. I guess the thing is I never even considered that an issue, because I trusted her with my life, and I just knew she would never turn her back on me. She abandonned me in my time of need though, cruelly and remorselessly, and I'm left in a permanent state of disbelief at how I could have been so wrong about this person, all these years. I still don't know what I did wrong, if anything. I don't know how I'll ever manage to let anyone close to me again, even though it's what I need to get better.

    Thank you for anyone who read through this. I know it is long, I didn't mean it for it to be that long. Once again I appreciate any input.

  • jgnat

    I know a young man who is socially challenged. He has a strange sense of humor that can be quite off-putting if you aren't used to him. So he searches out a "captive audience" where they have to listen to him regardless. After the first five or six visits, they finally "get him", and will cheerfully greet him with a laugh and a smile. He has developed acquaintances all around our neighbourhood, and it's quite fun to travel around town with him. They know him on sight! I am sure many of these same people would not have initially given him the time of day if they didn't have to.

    Who are these magic people? Retail staff! Waiters and waitresses! Librarians are also very good. There's Alice at our local Seven-Eleven, and the Newfie girl at our Humpty's, the mother and daughter team at the Pizza and Steak house, and so on. I know it is difficult for you to get out of the house, but you might make a routine of going once a day to your local strip mall, go for coffee at the doughnut place, and start making small talk with the regulars there. Come up with something goofy to say when you meet these people every day. My personal favorite is, "Miss me?" They will start to welcome the routine, and some come up with rather unique comebacks.

  • jaffacake

    Dear very confused

    Welcome, please stick around a while.

    I have seen the good advice that others have already offered, which I agree with. The advice offered by JGNAT & others is worth taking note of.

    Please believe me, the last thing you need now is to join a religion like Jehovah's Witnesses, although there are many other Christian groups that are 'safe' in my opinion. I know because of what is now happening to my beloved friends.

    Christianity, God, religion, may all help you - I am a Christian and the Bible has certainly been a factor in my own fight against depression. However, if that is how you feel, spirituality should not take the place of proper medical help and support.

    If and when you wish to find a way through the confusion of religious and biblical understanding, please don't go join a cult or any religion that believes it has all the answers. When the time is right I can recommend some reading should you wish to pm me sometime. Hopefully this would help you make informed choices.

  • jeeprube

    If you walked into a Kingdom Hall and related the story you just shared, you would be greeted with love and acceptance. It would feel great! Soon you would have a life filled with hope, and a purpose to fill every spare moment you have.

    But someday you might realize the truth about the JW's, as most of us have. The truth about them, is that they live in a fantasy and a dangerous one at that. The JW's "truth" is the wool they pull over your eyes to blind you from the fact that as a member your are nothing more than a free literature peddler serving a dominate, cult.

    Yes you may lose your current depression, but be forewarned you will gain new depression someday!

  • one

    Try going to an AA group meeting as a guest and let us know what you think...

  • jaffacake

    Hi again,

    Just read your follow up post.

    I was a Catholic as a child and then converted to a 'drastic' religion - Seventh Day Adventist. I know what you mean, some folks at some points in their lives need an authority people to tell them what to do, not to do, what to think, how to think etc etc - the JW religion will do all that and more. I am not part of any organised religion at present and have become more enlightened than ever before through reading and research . People on this board will perhaps disagree with me but after many years of rejection of my former religions, I now look for the good in them and would not dissuade you from worshiping with Catholics or some others.

    SDAs are much safer than JWs, so long as you don't believe they are the only true religion. In fact I could tell you precisely why they and JWs are mistaken. SDAs, JWs and all fundamentalist Christians are 'drastically' wrong, if you believe in the Bible. If you want to try Catholicism, why not, it can do no harm in my opinion, I no longer believe Catholics to be 'of Satan' as both SDAs and JWs tried to teach me.

    For my sister Buddhism gives her peace, but each to their own. Further advice, dont make any rash life changing decisions quickly, please take your time, get to know folks & axchange experiences & ideas.

  • rebel8

    Hi again very_confused.

    I used to work in the mental health field, and if you had approached me in that capacity back then, here is what I would have said. Have you checked with your dr to determine how long it will be b4 the Effexor takes full effect? With some drugs, it's several weeks. Re the side effects, has your dr said anything abt that? Some antidepressants lose most of their side effects after the first few weeks. The lag time for full effect to be felt, coupled with the intial few wks of side effects, causes some ppl to give up too soon. Just wanted to make you aware of that--maybe you'll be feeling much btr soon. Of course you'd have to check with your dr to be sure. And alcohol is a depressant, so stay away from that. Be sure to check with your physician b4 taking herbal remedies too--some of them have depressant effects.

    Are you seeing a psychiatrist as opposed to a family dr? It's legal for any physician to prescribe antidepressants, but I strongly recommend seeing a specialist (psychiatrist)--IMO they tend to do a much btr job in this area.

    You sound extremely depressed and IMO that puts your depression recovery at the top of your goal list. The religion stuff and social goals are important but not as urgent as getting your mood disorder under control. You don't want to get into a situation in which your depression worsens into suicidal thoughts. (I hate to say that, but it's reality.) The most effective treatment for depression is a combination of antidepressants and talk therapy. If you don't get psychotherapy sessions from your physician (psychiatrist?), then I'd recommend finding a good (licensed) psychologist, counselor, or social worker. It helps! If you don't connect well with one therapist after you give it a decent try, then find another one. PS--I don't mean to pry. All questions above are rhetorical.

  • blindersoff

    So sorry to hear what you are going through. You've gotten some good advice here.

    Please get professional help, but

    from 40 years experience, I can tell you that JW's will not help you feel Jesus' love. They have pretty much replaced him with 'the organization'. I attended the public talk yesterday and Jesus was not even mentioned.

    You WILL feel better with proper help.


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