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

by Billy the Ex-Bethelite 32 Replies latest jw friends

  • Heartofaboy

    It is sobering reading your experiences, to think we let the monstrous Watchtower borg drive us to such a low level that we thought of ending our lives.

    Where was the 'joy' & the spiritual uplifting relationship with god that only the borg could give.

    The more time that passes between me & the borg the easier it is to see the insidious malevolence it has on peoples mental health.

  • breakfast of champions
    breakfast of champions

    It is well known in our cong that I suffered some sort of "mental breakdown", the details of which I would love to divulge at some time. . . Perhaps on the members only side of the forum.

    I found that after the "breakdown" everyone including fellow elders were very sympathetic, and ever since then have left me alone. Last year (before a CO visit) a couple of elders did inquire about giving me a shepherding call, but my wife told them no thanks and that was it. No further harassment.

  • Oubliette

    Thanks for yet another really informative post Billy!

  • troubled mind
    troubled mind

    Same here, what ultimately made me walk away, and never go back was this intense feeling that if I didn't I would end up killing myself from unhappiness....

    Since child hood I suffeered from mild depressive episodes . As an adult I had a major episode that required medication for several years . I searched for reasons why , I could never completely shake these feeelings of worthlessness ,and unhappiness. Then things just started lining up for me ....and for once I began to look at the root causes of what made me sad . Meetings ,and service were not the refreshment the brothers said they were instead I found them stressful, and often demeaning ,and or boring .The brothers said the congregation was our "family" yet all I saw was cliques and back biting ,and people that were fake . The rigorous routine of study, service , meetings,quick builds ,on top of working and caring for a family left me drained not refreshed.

    I had never questioned my religion before ...if something was wrong I had always figured it had to be me .. This may sound silly ,but I think what reallly helped me look beyond myself was watching the Dr Phil show ! Especially after his show about cults ,I saw myself in those peoples experiences ,and I felt for the first time that I had the right to question what had been taught to me all my life as 'truth'. From that show I learned about Steve Hasson , Freeminds ,and eventually that led me here .

    When I learned about cognitive dissonance it made perfect sense to me why I had been so unhappy . I knew for years I felt I was being torn in two mentally . Me inner personality was geared towards goodness and kindness and this conflicted with the Witness view of disfellowshipment and treatment of worldly people . My own conscience was always being squelched in favor of 'Watchtower" think .

    I feel truly happy now ,more than I ever have been in my whole life . The first two or three yrs after fading were difficult I will not lie ,but never as depressing as when I was a JW . It was just a transitioning period into a whole different kind of life .

    The few Witnesses I have spoken to since may fade always are amazed when I telll them how happy my life is now....it is like they just can not compute that information .

  • Freethinking76

    Omg! Trouble mind , I felt the ecxact thing too .cliques,back stabbing ,competitions and the big one fakeness .there was a sister that would come to me

    everytime she saw me depressed ,I would tell her my problems and then she just dissapered with promises that "we will get together soon" ..one of them

    told me that she always puts a good mood face to others and tells them "oh we should get together soon and have fun" , just to get them out of her back. I

    have never see so much ipocracy in my life. I learned that the sisters that are not like that, they will never tell their problems just because they have been

    betrayed.there is a sister at the hall I used to go.she is an elders wife and the arrogance she walks about is unbelievable .but she is an " example" .yeah


  • Billy the Ex-Bethelite
    Billy the Ex-Bethelite

    Thanks for the comments!

    As mentioned on this thread and on this recent one, leaving WT can cause a great deal of stress, anxiety, and depression down the road. In my personal observations, I found the distress of leaving was something rather temporary compared to the nearly constant gloom of being a JW.

    Something else I've often wrote about, but think it's worth doing again, is the "self-destruct mechanism" that is implanted in JW minds by WT Corp. It's expected that anyone that begins missing meetings is going to crash and burn. As pictured in the recent "Prodigal Son" DVD, as soon as the son gets a "worldly" job with "worldly" people and moves out of his parents house, his life falls apart. Plenty of other examples are cited where the one leaving gets into drugs, catches diseases, or otherwise has their life "go completely off the rails." Sure, it happens sometimes... and that's EXACTLY what WT wants. They don't want those that leave to have happy and productive lives. That wouldn't be good for their business model. So this thinking, and the examples that they use, have trained us that if we even think about leaving, we will "self-destruct." We will have no hope, no purpose, and certainly no chance at the happifying joy that we had as JWs.

    More later... I'm off to have some fun in the city.

  • sd-7

    Good thread. I certainly struggled with depression myself--still do, really--and part of it is certainly the result of never standing up for myself and sort of participating in the self-immolation the WT encouraged. Finding out it was all a lie made it all simultaneously worse and better. I see now that the organization was a useless crutch--couldn't move with it and I'm not exactly going anywhere without it, either. I was already pessimistic and paranoid of things and people, yet I seemed to trust all the people I shouldn't have, even after waking up.

    There were times in the past when I wanted to forget TTATT, but they were very brief. The more I've learned, the more I appreciate how much deeper my intellect has become and how much my moral code has evolved. In itself, that's hugely exciting and has been a source of comfort. It's sad because I have to shut down my emotions in order to survive it all. I have to care less about the people I care the most about, because I know that they have to avoid me or keep me at arm's length. Even my children...will grow up to shun me. Knowing that I have no one in my life, at home, I mean, to share my deepest thoughts with--yeah, that's pretty sad. I'm sure Mrs. sd-7 might well feel the same way, for all I know.

    I do know that it's better to see that leaving the WT did not in itself make my life any worse. Mostly it was marrying the wrong person that did that, and dating an equally wrong person just before that that kind of messed up the exit strategy (there was a strategy? Not really, I wanted to self-destruct at that point because it was overload for me emotionally). Mainly it's the stress of marriage that has made the depression a bit of a challenge, and knowing that the JW stuff is still in my home and my life. But I have myself to blame for that and I own the responsibility for it. It seems that while I thought I no longer had to fight against myself, I still proved my own worst enemy in the end.

    Being a JW meant endless war. Leaving just meant that the enemy became more complicated and less clear, but war didn't really end. I was left with only myself to trust and I see that I can't even do that without endangering my own hope for a peaceful life beyond the WT.

    I still think humanity is probably doomed, just not in the same way I did before. It's depressing to know that there's no hope to return to, only the hope I can create for myself, in my own mind. The only thing left is to see the end of it all, to see where it's all leading, to see the kids grow up, run the clock out, and die as irrelevant as I was when I was born.

    The only good thing that came out of TTATT was that I now know a little more than I did before. Meaningless in the end, but a slight improvement.


  • eyeuse2badub

    hi billy,

    my life course sounds similar to your's. i'm a bit older that u but i was a 'golden boy' growing up as a dub. i did all the right things and was appointed as an elder in '72 at the age of 23. (i was an older man spiritually, lol) continued to do the right thing even after the 1976 BIG DISAPPOINTMENT.

    of course that meant, neglecting my young family's needs for a full time husband and father. our recreation and vacations centered aroung the 'joyful' DC's. raised my family of 4 in the typical dub fashion. now i have TTATT and many regrets. i ended up having a breakdown last year due mostly to cognitive dissonance. i spent months in therapy helping me to express my true feelings and beliefs to someone who would not 'judge' me. being a dub your whole life and finally realizing that u were a 'captive of a concept', a good con job by the WTS, hurts. all my friends and family are still dubs but i am an active 'fader'. as dubs we are told that; "we are the happiest people on earth". y is it that i don't know many dubs that fit that description?

  • Rebecca 619
    Rebecca 619

    Hi i guess im at the other end of this my son has said he has never felt he has fit in with any one at kingdom hall,he was dfd because hes gay i was soo devasted he is very depressed i dont want to put preasure on him to come back and cause him to have more anguish i love my son with all my heart so confused

  • Laika


    Please don't shun your son, he needs to know you love him regardless of whether or not he's in the Organisation.

    God loves you, he wants you to be happy, does shunning your son make you happy? Jehovah's Witnesses say they are the happiest people on the Earth. Do you know any worldly mums who have great relationships with their gay sons? Do you think you are happier than they are?

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