exJW Psychology 104--One Way to Play the Depression Card

by Billy the Ex-Bethelite 32 Replies latest jw friends

  • Billy the Ex-Bethelite
    Billy the Ex-Bethelite

    I had an interesting conversation with Bobby (*some names have been changed) last weekend. He's also a successful fader going back several years before me. But I found we had something in common that I hadn't realized.

    Bobby had never been particularly happy growing up. He admitted that when a high school teacher asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, he replied, "Happy." He hated giving talks, preaching, and all the other stuff required of the young brothers who were "reaching out." He didn't want to do any of it, but because he was in a JW family, he had to play along. During the time after I moved away to slave in bethel, he began his fade. During the brief era when WT lightened up on "higher education," he left his crappy, going-nowhere job and went to university to get a degree. During this time he became inactive and got on with his life. And he became happy. It was enough of a transformation that when his mother would try to "encourage" him to attend, he could truthfully say, "but I'm happy now." And since they weren't a particularly die-hard JW family and had already lost some of their members to disfellowshipping, they're glad to take him as he is.

    My story is different because I did all the stuff that young brothers were supposed to do. I did it well. I was accepted to bethel. I "slaved my way up" to what would have been considered a very prestigious position with lots of "privileges" (which is just another word for more unpaid work). But I was so terribly depressed that I let it all unravel. Perhaps I'll tell more details another time. But I had gotten to be so messed up that my parents were really, really worried about me. After I got out of bethel, I was somewhat "better." At least I got back to having some humor, but I was still really dark. And I made a lot of "Debbie Downer" remarks:

    • What's the use of ___________, it's all going to get destroyed soon.
    • To think that I could have had a career, married, and had kids by now. Instead I'm broke and alone.
    • The news of _________ disaster is so sad, but I suppose we'd better get used to the idea of billions of little children getting slaughtered.

    I wasn't a downer all of the time, but enough that the point was understood. I'd done everything a JW kid was supposed to do, but I'd been betrayed. If I would have done less "spiritually", I could have had a life. And my comments also shed light on the notion that long bothered me, that in order for me to enjoy a panda-petting paradise, billions of people would have to be slaughtered.

    Bobby and I have the same next step... we faded and became happy. As I mentioned in my other thread, I still have a good relationship with my parents. Actually, I think I have a better relationship with them now because I'm much happier now.

    So in comparing notes with Bobby, we found that we both had played the depression card, and done it very honestly. We made it very clear that we were depressed BEFORE we faded. However, the antidote was discovered... we both faded from the miserable world of WT slavery and enjoyed a miraculous cure. The brothers can't get away with the line, "you'd have a much happier and more successful life if you came back." Like I want to go back to listen how billions of innocent people will die very soon because I couldn't convince them to worship the BG by reading some colorful little magazines? That is NOT happifying.

    And frankly, I think my parents find the JW treadmill increasingly depressing, but they can't give up the carrot of everlasting life with the pandas and the resurrection. The meetings have become beatings to do more and to give more. The COs are burdensome. The assemblies are reminders that another year has passed without the promised big A and they can visit to find out who's died since the last time, or whose kids have also "left da troof." At least the way it's been recently, they seem to be happy not to talk about "spiritual stuff" and talk about "normal stuff" instead.

    Let's hear your comments...

  • Freethinking76

    I recently stop going to the hall,I was always so depressed,and even though that I had bipolar disorder (I think that's how you call it). Anyways, I started to receive therapy for my depression and as soon as the jws found out ,I was told to be careful ,and it was best to talk to a "spiritual sister". Well I did ..an hour later after I finish talking to her about my feelings , Another sister text me saying" I just want you to know that you are very nice and we don't thing that there is something wrong with you at all"... I did not respond..but they both decided to kind of shun me. Well I am more happy now,and have hopes of finding better friends. I am glad you are too, and your parents are amazing.plus you should make your own web with funny things about the wt,.

  • Bugbear

    I feel like you, even though I never went to Bethel. But I was an elder (a popular one) in the circuit. I had a wife and 6 children, was constantantly engeged as a speacher. always engaged in DC prep. I run a business with employees, and I was always ON. This til I totally collapsed and was taken to a hospital. On this hospital I slept for a week. After this week a doctor came and sat by my side discussion why this blackout happened.

    I explained my situation. , being a father, being an elder, running a business a.s.f. The doctor said no wunder your brain cut of the information channel. when I brain is loded with so much information and responsibilide, the fuse will broke, or alternative you heart will stop soner or later from a heart attach.

    He said: son, from now on -slow down, skip every not necesseary engagement, do not care on what others expect from you. You have a deep and profound depression, and this will grow even more if you try to comply with other desire.


  • Freethinking76

    Hi bugbear, I remember an elder from the hall I used to go ,everyone love his talks he had so much charisma and personality.and all of a sudden got so sick that never came back to the hall

  • Julia Orwell
    Julia Orwell

    Yep, my depression almost instantly cured itself when I learned TTATT and faded. Mind you, my life is still the same: not much on the work front at the moment, hang with my non-Jw parents as I did when a JW (I NEVER let the WT come between us, no matter what people would say about my 'worldly' parents), sit on the couch at night with my hubby, but the change is on the inside. People say I'm a lot happier now.

    So even if you haven't got that career or degree or wonderful partner as soon as you fade, the changes on the inside are what make you happy and free to explore your potential.

  • Sammy Jenkis
    Sammy Jenkis

    Billy, awesome post! I relate 200% as being in did undoubtedly emotionally damage us at one point or another. The hardest part had to be (for me) the point between learning TTAT and deciding what to do about it. The questions that flood the mind are exasperating and the feeling of having wasted sooooooo much time and energies on empty promises is heart wrenching to say the least.


    The feeling after you've decided what to do with this new found info is liberating, I've never been to jail but I imagine leaving/fading the JW's has to feel similar to walking past the guards as they buzz your cell doors open- delicious. Sometimes reflecting back on time lost I get that familiar feeling of living once again back on Depressame street but in those moments I can only remember being lied to is no fun. I raise a glass to all those free and to all those fighting the "negative nancy" within.

    Oh and I'm still getting the panda, even if it's not in the "panda-petting paradise."

  • Aunt Fancy
    Aunt Fancy

    I can tell you my life has changed 100%! I suffered from severe depression and many health problems causing me to hide in the house and not wanting to be around people. I started to work out and was reading some of the books. My husband and I were seeing an excellent therapist during this time. I was started to feel better so I switched over from the chemical anti depressants to the natural ones which took at least 6 months or more but it worked. By the time I had switched over I found out the real "truth" and although it has been a roller coaster ride I am not severely depressed now. I go out and have fun, travel and I joined a bowling league to meet new women. I have a better relationship with my family and I have reconnected with friends from HS.

  • Heartofaboy

    I too had to stop going to the meetings for my own sanity.

    I often returned home from a meeting feeling I just as well kill myself, the audience had received so many verbal punches........................

    'If you had prestudied brothers you would know the answer'

    'Are you just doing the minimum 10hrs in FS brothers & sisters?'

    Are you giving your all to Jehovah?

    Can you justify before Jehovah why you are NOT pioneering?

    Can you reach out for more 'privileges' brothers as there plenty of brothers in here but not many men.

  • Phizzy

    I had suicidal depression which was building in the last years I hung on in the WT, after leaving I took the good advice I received on here and sought Therapy.

    I was lucky that my Therapist was brilliant, she had treated XJW's before, and she lifted me up from the danger zone and beyond.

    I am now happy and free of blackness, she helped me to see that my upbringing in the cult, the constant Cognitive Dissonance, and my situation as I woke up to TTATT, not being able to speak my mind and tell of my feelings for fear of being DF'd etc, all of that was what made my problem so serious.

    She taught me how to deal with it, even though I was not prepared to follow her advice and DA myself and move away from here, which was good, sensible advice, but not for me. Not then anyway, I may do it before long.

    I would say to anyone who suffers, seek advice and Therapy if possible, it improves your life no end.

  • SophieG

    Thanks for sharing Billy!

    Wow, it amazes me how many of us suffered from depression and anxiety while trying to keep up with the WTBS rat race. I did not really catch on to the fact that it was contributing to my depression (I was on anti-dep meds for years after 2 depressive/suicidal episodes) until I took a “spiritual vacation” from the organization. My brain was so overloaded and I felt better when I stopped going to the meetings for a while. Then, of course I panicked and went back because I was afraid if I stayed off the “chariot” I’d die in the Big A. But I GOT SICK AGAIN! That’s when I realized what the cause was and I took that leap of faith to stop going altogether.

    Three years later, no meds, brain whizzing at 100%, 25 lbs lighter and genuinely giddily happy. I see the depression in some of the faces of my JW family and a few elders who take on so much to help the “friends” and handle secular and personal lives. I know one elder who is struggling…anxiety through the roof, son is DFd, wife has MS, but is depended on so heavily as he is the go to elder in the hall I used to go to. I worry about him all the time. He is the one person I pray that wakes up so he can get some TRUE RELIEF.

    P.S. I think years of writing in journals on a regular basis probably saved me from committing suicide.

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