Every time you go to a fast food restaurant they ask you a standard question: What size? Now, they are talking about deep-fried transfatty acid sticks and flavored sugar water.
I have noticed a lot of people have had the same struggle I have had: Life as a spokesperson for the greatest person in the universe was a pretty big life. How do I replace that?
I am not a psychologist or trained therapist, but I have remembered what happened to me and I know what brought me back from suicidal despair. So, I'm throwing it out there for any who might benefit from reading it.
WHAT HAVE YOU LOST?
For many, leaving Jehovah's Witnesses is a kind of grieving. But what have you lost? Well, if you've left of your own free will you've decided it never was what you thought it was. You have lost (1) your vision, (2) your perspective of the world and yourself in relation to it, (3) your role in life as savior to the masses or your family, and often (4) your free communication with family along with most of the people with whom you are very familiar.
These are rightly grieved. However, as grieving ended for me there remained a hole and a weakness. I had acquired a new perspective of the world and myself in relation to it. I had a rough draft of a new vision. I resigned myself to the fact that I would never be able to save my family or the masses of mankind. My chasmal lack was friends. Along with that, I didn't have a clear vision. I had become accustomed to following goals set by a book publishing company; I lacked the ability to effectively set goals for myself. Your experience may differ greatly.
But I think I may have found a way to make up for my lacks by upsizing my life. It isn't a marketing slogan for a movement or a cause (as far as I know), I just think it describes what I have done for myself; what I believe God has shown me.
Losing the religion created a very introspective period in my life. I became fairly self-absorbed as I tried to make sense of life; as I tried to find a new place for myself in the suddenly much larger world outside. But finally the reality hit me fully: I am very very small. A pebble thrown into an ocean.
I am small. This reality leads to an unavoidable conclusion. If I am focusing my life on me, my life is going to be very small.
If my life is outwardly focused I can upsize my life; my life can be very big indeed. This is just a brief synopsis of what led me to jump at the opportunity to become a houseparent at a residence school for children living below the poverty level.
My choice was not entirely altruistic; the school compensates with good pay and excellent benefits. But my choice was not driven primarily by what my wife and I will get, it was driven by the opportunity to give a child who would typically have very poor chances of success in life an excellent home life, good mentors, and an experiential model of what a productive family of conscientious citizens can and should be.
Your choice might be something different. If you have been looking to fill in what is missing now that you've left, the missing piece is probably outside yourself. You are probably just dissatisfied with the small size life you have right now. Don't throw away the size you got; just pay the extra attention and energy to get your life upsized. Your empty places will be filled again. You don't have to do it for free, but volunteerism is a great way to fill up the empty spots.
I sure hope this helps someone.