When nobody around you seems to measure up, its time to check your yardstick. Bill Lemley
SJ is a middle aged JW woman who used to be married to a non-believer. Her physician diagnosed her as being bi-polar. This condition used to be called manic-depressive due to the emotional euphoric highs and depressive lows. In one of her euphoric episodes SJ felt an extreme state of spirituality and acting on it she went to pioneer in Europe. This emotional high cost her lifes savings and her marriage. This crazy episode has convinced her that she needs to follow her physicians orders and take her medication as prescribed. When you listen to her at the meetings you can hear her emotional fatigue still waiting for the new order to cure her and rescue her from this chemical existence. She uses her clich phrases of the new order as a mantra of hope for herself and those she preaches to out in service. She at least has adequate medical care having returned back to work as a teacher.
In the euphoric spiritual state SJ went into, you could not talk any sense into her and in fact she may have questioned your spiritual maturity to stop her from doing something that in her heart was the right thing to do. One dilemma facing bi-polar people is that their actions are done impulsively oftentimes with little to no regard of the consequences of their actions. So what happens then to those JWs that commit moral infractions? Is their medical condition factored in to treat them mercifully while admonishing them to get professional help? Perhaps we could hear from former elders to this question. What effect does being dfed have on this type of personality especially one that is not taking any kind of medication? These are people at great risk of swinging into a state of hopelessness and hurting themselves more or in some cases even ending their life. If you add the JW beliefs and their myopic meaning to the act of dfing followed by the shunning it only compounds the problem more.
Her father a JW elder repeatedly physically abused my ex-wife as a child. She along with her four siblings grew up to be very anxious and nervous women. They suffered from somatic problems and my ex-wife was diagnosed as bi-polar. Very early in the marriage the symptoms were manifested by extreme bouts of rage and extreme loving states. The abuse as a child and the religion stunted her emotional growth and this led to her having very little coping mechanisms to function in the real world outside the home and religion. After spending a small fortune on psychiatric and psychological bills she made some progress. The paradox was she could only go so far, her family all JWs discouraged her from continuing with therapy, filling her mind with all the clich phrases they were parroting from the religion about psychological care.
In my opinion the JW religion only worsens this type of disorder. The religion is extremist in its theology and having a constant diet of black and white extremist beliefs without any critical thinking ability often leads to the person developing very distorted and over generalized thinking that only perpetuates the emotional polarity. This type of disorder should be handled under the care of a physician along with psychotherapy to learn how to minimize the extremist thinking. Even if the person develops enough motivation to get professional help the cost is prohibitive if they have to pay out of their own pocket and insurance often limits the coverage to brief therapy thus leaving the person to deal with life as best they can.
The whole issue of mental illness among JWs is a complex one and there are so many variables that there are no simple solutions. A person suffering from emotional/ mental problems needs to become proactive and make themselves responsible for their own well being, this requires education and having a strategy for finding the right professional care for themselves. To the Watchtower, people are expendable and as we have seen with the mistreatment of sexual abuse survivors they have no regard for people's well being, their priorities are bent on advancing their financial interests and retaining their power.