Is depression unique to exjw's? Is it religion in general that causes it?

by hambeak 12 Replies latest jw friends

  • hambeak

    I have noticed a large number of topics are about depression, some of mine included.

    Do you think that having been in the borg and losing lifelong friends and family because you no longer buy into their interpretation, is unique to jw's or do most other religions play these mind games?

  • Narkissos

    Hi hambeak,

    It's certainly not unique, as depression often exceeds any traceable "causes". However the symbolic violence of JW teaching and practice of shunning certainly makes it more likely to happen. Not only you may lose all your friends and family overnight. You also "fall," or "wake up," from an illusion of knowledge and purpose, into the common senselessness you haven't learnt to deal with.

    Take care.

  • jaguarbass

    Deptession is not unique to Jw's. It is not religion in general that causes it. Emerson wrote "people live lifes of quiet deperation." Dispair will cause depression. Prozac and Paxil are hugely popular drugs. Not because of a small number of Jw's but because a great many people are depressed. People are depressed because life makes no sense, they cant get what they want, the dont know what they want, they have a hole inside and they try to fill it with, food, sex, god, jesus, money, exercise, work, etc. Activity being busy keeps depression at bay. It also makes people feel like their on a treadmill. When people reflect on their misserable condition they get depressed. I guess if you dont want to be depressed get busy and dont think about it. If you cant do that ask your doctor for some medicine. People used to get frontal lobotomys and some got a bottle in front of me. When people take drugs from ilegal to legal coffee,caffene, cigarettes, chocolate, their are trying to self medicate by releasing the dopamine in their brains. The dopamine release makes them feel not depressed. This all goes on inside and outside or religion.

  • compound complex
    compound complex

    Welcome back, Hambeak!

    I was sorting through one year's worth of notes taken from every available source, and I think the following may work for you: - Some of Gary's words of wisdom:

    "I saw myself missing my own life because I was keeping to the agenda of my parents, or my father-in-law, or my brother, or my wife, or my kids. I was out of control and I needed some."

    On Shunning: "Hatred needs a focus. Love does not. A benevolent, deity worshipping, group is non-confrontational, non-judgmental, and non-inquisitional."

    Just a little from uncle Gary to cheer you up! (apologies to GB if I screwed up!) You and I both know we've come to the right place.



  • JamesThomas

    It's not so much that religion causes depression, as depression causes religion.


  • AK - Jeff
    AK - Jeff

    I was always depressed as a witness - didn't know why.

    Since I left - depression gone.

    Is there a pattern here?


  • OnTheWayOut

    Here's a previous post of mine on another thread about depression

    Most cults don't want to attract the depressed unless they are able to undepress them with their message, but JW's are a victim of their own recruiting methods. Depressed ones are looking for attention, JW's are looking for Bible WT Literature students. A JW pioneer literature distributor can rack up hours on one depressed person.

    Also, many cannot live up to the pressure of regular JW activity. The shepherding calls to tell them "Go to the 5 meetings, get out every weekend in the distributing work." - that makes more become depressed. Telling a momma not to talk to her child and grandchild, again that's depressing. So much about JW's works against them. WHY DO THEY SUCCEED?

    Many depressed ones were attracted to JW's. Many became depressed because of a circumstance resulting from their exit from the JW's. I am concerned that I will either get divorced when my JW wife spies on me and eventually shuns me, or I will stay in a rough relationship after fading or DF'ed. That's depressing. I, personally, don't think it will lead to clinical depression, but it is stressing.

  • jwfacts

    Not unique, but the WTS has set the perfect platform for depression, both as a JW and an exJW.

    Stress and anxiety come when a person feels they are not in control of important aspects of their life, leading to depression. A person generally needs to have control of finances, health and relationships to be happy. By definition the WTS is a high control organization. This leads to many JWs and exJWs alike feeling they have no control over these areas, particularly in the relationship area. For active JWS fear and guilt are two other areas that the WTS uses to manipulate members, leaving many feeling depressed from not feeling worthy.

  • steve2

    As a clinical psychologist, I take a more interactive view regarding depression and religion: Depressed people may be more attracted to a religion's promises of a better world and its message of "Let us do your thinking for you". Once in the religion, they have negative interpersonal experiences that lead them to now feel possibly even worse about life, but they do not see any straightforward way out. Besides, if the religion is wrong, is life worth living? This raises lots of questions about the meaning and purpose of life - questions that can go round and round and round.

    A typical characteristic of depression is learned helplessness which means that depressed individuals may be more prone to seeing solutions in terms of Someone else stepping in and rescuing them: In most religious situations that Someone is God and in religious cults its "earthly" leaders.

  • Abandoned

    I know many people who are dealing with depression to varying degrees and who have no affiliation with the jw, so it goes beyond them, but it does seem to have a pretty stable home in religion in general. I think the problem is that too often religion is used as a measuring stick. So and so doesn't do what the bible says. So and so doesn't act like a true christian. So and so belongs to a religion that doesn't believe in jesus. And so forth. The problem is that judging someone on an intrinsic level is dangerous and reckless. To do that, you have to KNOW what God thinks. And if someone buys into this judgmental view of themselves, it's going to go direclty against their self-esteem and lead to depression. Religions have a habit of judging. I guess from a practical standpoint, it's a lot easier to judge and try to motivate someone by intimidation than to really trust in God and hope the person learns from your good example.

    I'm not innocent in all this and I'm not claiming to be, but I am making a concerted effort to leave judging to God and to spend my resources on helping myself. This doesn't mean I won't stand up to an organization that I feel is destructive to those who get involved with it.

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