Panic attacks + "You had another nightmare last night": Part 2

by sd-7 11 Replies latest jw friends

  • sd-7

    Ever since I got married and had to return to cult activities to keep peace in my home, I've been having panic attacks. "Let's go over the daily text," she says. I start breathing really fast, uncontrollably fast. "Let's do our Bible reading." Panic. "Let's do our Family Worship." Panic!

    Even when it's not a specific activity--sometimes she just talks about the congregation or this particular brother or sister, I start freaking out inside. I think I'm having panic attacks. Is this normal when one realizes one is in a cult and has been his entire life?

    I've heard that strange dreams can be normal, too. I had another one recently. I dreamed that I had a talk on the Theocratic Ministry School, but that only two people on the entire school were prepared. (Apparently my mind went back to the era when they had 4 talks instead of the three they have now.) The school overseer assumed I was prepared because I was there, but I wasn't. So I started formulating a talk, scriptures, etc. The theme was weird, though, something about humility, yet the title also said "Be Like the So-and-Sos", naming a specific family that I don't particularly like (actually, it's the father I don't like--the rest of the family is pretty cool, and I don't think they like him much either. I was good friends with one of them, was hoping to help that person wake up,'s too late, they've already committed to the Borg).

    I woke up before it was time to give the talk. But it's getting weird. I never used to have dreams about congregation life while I believed in it. Maybe once or twice, but certainly not this frequently and this close to the last dream I had.

    The fear associated with this religion is unreal. I've gone to the meetings with my wife as much as possible (while subtly manipulating the situation so we could miss this past weekend), but...I honestly feel a serious moral problem with recruiting others to join a religion I know for a fact is dishonest and seriously misled. I don't think I can do it. I may have to fabricate time, or just talk to a co-worker about how cult life is going and count that time. If asked, I'll say, "Well, someone at work was falsely claiming that Jehovah's Witnesses are a cult. I spent a significant amount of time showing them from the Bible and the Reasoning book that that's just not true. Since then, we've had many interesting conversations. I'm hoping it will become a Bible study."

    I just...I chose this path because I love my wife a great deal. I married her for that reason. That had nothing to do with belief. But psychologically, this has been extremely destructive for me. I knew that going in. Besides, if I'm right, and the gameplan works out, I'll be on ice soon anyway, once my old brothers chat with my new brothers, if Mom was gracious enough to employ the 'cult of confession' thing. Still, the handbook requires two witnesses of circumstantial evidence, rather than one shaky witness who didn't actually see anything, just couldn't verify my location. So...don't know.

    Don't want to go off on a tangent. I was reading the elders' handbook thing online. The section on judicial hearings made me feel greatly disturbed. I'm really done with this religion. I don't want to hold on anymore. I just do it like I go to work, except with a lot less enthusiasm because I'm more likely to spend money in the process than to make money. (I can barely pay rent and keep the lights on, but I'll have to save money to go to a frakkin' district convention? Shell, no. Been holding off on a joint bank account just to avoid contributing to this organization directly. Never did ponder the fact that $700K was given in settlements to people over child abuse--obviously that came from donations. I can't possibly pay the Society's legal fees for them. I'd rather give it straight to the victims if I was going to donate.)

    It's my own stupidity, still being in. But I was still not emotionally able to handle leaving--I wasn't ready to make independent decisions. I just have head knowledge about reality, not the strength to face all that is reality, out there. ... Anyone else go through panic attacks? Is that normal?


  • Satanus

    When i'm w manipulator people that i would rather not associate w, i tend to get tense. I like better being by myself than w people like that. You are stronger than you think you are.


  • greenie

    I get really tense around it too. It's like you subconsciously put yourself on guard so that you can't be manipulated. If you haven't yet, I would seriously consider getting some counseling to help with the panic attacks. Doing regular physical activity that actually raises your heartrate to around 130 will also help to raise your threshhold for panicky feelings.

  • out4good3

    That's the straw you drew....

    In your convincing yourself that you just had to have "that" woman, I'm sad to say that you've handed over your self respect and peace of mind.

    If you can't keep up that pretense indefinitely, and I see no way that you'll be able to without dying a little inside everyday, when she finds out how you really...I mean REALLY feel, hopefully, in return, she won't hand you your a$$.

  • sd-7

    I was just asking a simple question about whether or not others have experienced panic attacks. I'm quite well aware of how precarious my current situation is, thank you very much.


  • MsDucky

    I started to have panic attacks right after my husband was diagnosed with cancer (long story). Anyway, I would have some particularly bad ones at the Kingdom Hall. The attacks were something awful. Eventually, I went to a shrink; and he told me what was happening. . .closed in room with people that I didn't like. . .made sense to me.

    Anyway, I was started on Imipramine and Xanax. I still didn't feel comfortable at the Kingdom Hall; but I did feel better in general. I just got a "hinky" feeling in the Kingdom Hall, and out in Field Service, or anything to do with that organization.

    This is one of the reasons that lead up to me disassociating myself.

    static electricity

  • MsDucky

    One more thing, I do have mitral valve prolapse and my heart rate gets tachy (I have an arrhythmia.). I have to take Lopressor for that. You should have a talk with your doctor.

  • miseryloveselders

    Hey SD-7, I get panic attacks at times. Feel like my world is collapsing on me. Suffocating me, and there's nothing I can do about it. I mentioned this in another thread, but I went to see a Physician for just a routine checkup you could say. We went over some things, and I relayed to her that lately I've been struggling with stress, and anxiety. Even loss of sleep. She prescribed me something for it which has helped a little. While we were speaking though, she asked me, "would you like to talk to somebody about it?" In other words she meant a Psychiatrist. I told her no, I can deal with it. The reason being is I know that the Psychiatrist will say in a professional manner, "the religion your in is driving you slowly insane." No reason to pay a specialist co-pay for him to tell me what we both already know. But yeah, i get those feelings. The way you put it, about viewing your situation like you view work, I try to do that too. Matter fact on Meeting nights, I tell my workmates, I've got to go to my other job tonight. They really think I'm going to a second job.

    Hang in there man.

  • freewilly01

    What helped me with Panic Attacks was a Psychiatrist who used cognitive therapy, therapy that deals with the hear and now. This kind of help doesn't dig into your past but just deals with the here and now. I was able to get immediate help without any prescriptive drugs. It took quite a bit of therapy didn't happen overnight but was very beneficial..

    My first panic attack was when I was 16 and I din't get therapy till in my 30's............ years of attacks while in the BorgOrg. Can't believe I put up with it over all those years was amazing to conquer it and quite a relief.

    I really feel that it is a result of an inner turmoil of unresolved issues that you feel you have no control over. The feeling is very similair to being lost as a young person.

    Some people are just hard wired for this and it tends to run in families. It is the fight or flight reaction on steroids for some of us. It really helps to be able to recognize the triggers. For me the largest trigger was being part of the BorgOrg that was half my problem. I really understand where your at it takes quite a bit of effort but the result will be totally worth it. Good luck!

  • troubled mind
    troubled mind

    I think freewilly said it best in this statement about panic attacks "result of an inner turmoil of unresolved issues that you feel you have no control over ."

    I suffered from full blown panic attacks shortly after my family had been in a car accident while on the way to a circuit assembly in St Louis . Our children were very small at the time in fact our youngest was three months old and in his carseat up front when our brakes failed and we slid under a semi tractor trailer that was crossing traffic in front of us . The trailer came through the windshield and stopped inches in front of my husbands face . Thankfully we escaped injury , but the 'what if's ' were killers .

    This incident is what they call 'the straw that broke the camels back ' for me . According to my therapist it is an accumalation of issues that finally causes the panic attacks . For me it was issues I had always pushed down inside and never dealt with . Being raised as a witness with an unbelieving military career Father had issues all of it's own then top off marrying into an all witness family . In my new congregation with my new witness family I thought life would be so much better ......But I still never felt I fit in or was good enough .. It began to dawn on me that maybe the problem was not so much my past family life, but the religion . It felt like I had no control over my own life ....the witness beliefs told me I wasn't suppose to associate with my da'd older brother ,but my own conscience told me that was wrong .....inner turmoil . Witness beliefs suggested strongly back in the day how my husband and I should behave in our own marital bed ....and when my husband wanted more than what was allowed I suffered inner turmoil over pleasing my husband or remaining 'holy' in God's eyes ....I was a stay at home Mom for the early years of our childrens lives and constant pressure was put on me to pioneer when I refused to drag my babies out in service I felt inner turmoil .....

    So much more could be added to my list but the accident was the tipping over point for me . A psychiatrist and a counselor and three yrs on meds brought me out of it and now I have not had a panic attack in years .

    Mental freedom from the Jehovah's Witnesses and finally feeling I am the one in control of my decisions in life have kept them away .

    I am sorry you are experiencing them now advice is take a hard look ito your life and decide for yourself WHAT Do YOU WANT not play the game of trying to guess the horrible consequences of taking your own stand because that is a waste of time and energy . How your wife will respond or other family is not under your control YOU CAN ONLY CONTROL WHAT YOU DO . Your own happiness needs to be your priority because it is not up to anyone else but you .

    GOOD LUCK ,I mean that very sincerely !

Share this