Were You Depressed Because You Were A Witness?

by minimus 42 Replies latest jw friends

  • Witch Child
    Witch Child

    Yes. The cult really made me feel bad about myself. I could never do enough. My efforts didn't count. I made myself sick trying to work hard enough for their god so I could get back the love they all seemed to have for me in the beginning.... My depression was cured, 100% the day I left.


  • Shutterbug

    I think many people were depressed because the WTS tries to suck the natural tendency to enjoy life out of people.

    Witnesses enjoying themselves in pursuits other than those activities that were approved by the FDS seemed to scare the daylights out of the Brooklyn bunch, no matter how harmless the activity in question. I can remember some sisters coming by our house in field service while I was working on a camper and implying I needed to be out in service instead of wasting my time on "worldly pleasures." True to form, I went on a week long guilt trip. Bug

    Edited by - Shutterbug on 13 February 2003 9:1:5

  • DanTheMan

    I started getting dub depression in 1999. A particularly severe episode in the spring of 2001 really scared me, and it led to my eventual questioning of whether or not I was in a "Spiritual Paradise".

    I started becoming more of a people watcher at assemblies and conventions. The robotic, half-dead facial expressions got to be more than I could take. I almost had a breakdown the last time I was at the Assembly Hall.

  • Liberty

    Being a "hovah" becomes depressing for thinking people after the initial euphoria of believing you know all the divine secrets wears off. Once the critical mind awakens and can process the contradictions inherent to the Watch Tower's philosophy a person finds themselves in a state of constant stress with no relief in sight. I think this stressed state alone can lead to depression but add to this the constant unrealistic expectations and unnatural peer pressure from your fellow over stressed cult victims who are also guilty and desperate and some escape valve must eventually be opened.

    Many "hovahs" ,like me, turned to alcohol for relief. As a young single man I spent an average of about $40 a week on booze for soley my own consumption in the late 70's/early 80's. I was never a work-missing, rip roaring, getting arrested drunk but I drank dailey to drown my stress, sleep, remain functional, and combat anxiety. I justified this by saying that I drank in moderation like most JWs I knew. But moderation compared to what? Just because we weren't stumbling, pee on yourself, drooling drunk doesn't mean we weren't alcoholics. Most of us could not function without alcohol, I am convinced of this because rarely did I see my peers go without a drink for more than a day unless they were on anti-anxiety/depression medication like my mother. I think it is no accident that alcohol was never forbidden by the Watch Tower's leaders for much the same reason that totalitarian/commie countries always have a supply of cheap hooch available to keep their dreary population passive and anesthisized.

    The brain washing used at the constant meetings tells us it is all our fault if we have doubts or feel depressed which leads to more guilt, stress, and depression. The only long timers I ever saw in this cult who were happy were always the ones who never took it very seriously. They broke, ignored, and bent the rules at every opportunity and were unphazed by guilt or doubt because they were not deep thinkers and saw the whole thing as a game where cheating allowed them all the benifits while avoiding many of the unpleasant consequences of being a JW. If you were a deep thinker and took your beliefs seriously you were doomed to unhappiness as a JW. Common sense and critical thinking are also deadly to remaining a JW in good standing. Realizing this fact, especially if you have friends and family in this cult, will lead to more stress and depression as you weigh the consequences of leaving in order to save your sanity. If you take all the "do more" and "you are evil" admonitions from the meetings too seriously and you are a naturally sincere person you cannot be happy as a JW because the meetings are geared towords the lowest achievers who don't take the admonitions to heart so they are endlessly repeated.

    Once I stopped going to the meetings I did not take a drink of alcohol for 5 years. After 10 years I was comfortable with a little wine again with my meals but I can now go weeks without a drink and never notice because I am happier and more satisfied with my life away from the Watch Tower Cult. I drink now out of pleasure and not to combat stress so it is not a dailey and expensive activity. I just finished a bottle of Gin I'd had for two years. When I was a JW it would have been gone in a week along with alot of beer and wine. Life is not perfect but it is much better without the Watch Tower and my endless guilt at not doing enough for Jehovah.

  • DanTheMan

    Great post Liberty!

  • Elsewhere

    I was extremely depressed while in... toward the end I was seeing a psychologist and taking two medications. Once I left the bOrg all of that went away.

    -- Of the No Longer on Zoloft and Wellbutrin Class --

  • confuzcious

    Great Posts so far.

    Going along with Shutters and Liberties posts...

    Every time I would go on a vacation, it was like "Again???" I used to go on vacations with tremendous guilt.

    The "Super Borgs" in the congregation - their "vacations" were the International Assemblies and stuff.

    And most of these were paid for by rich little old widows in the congregation.

    Anyway imagine having to dress up in suits to tour a museum on your vacation?

    Then there was that mantra that was drilled into our heads - when you go on vacation, you're not taking a vacation from Jehovah.

    I remember people on cruises that would tour Bahama Bethel and they would leave the cruise ship in a suit in the Bahamas.

  • Fire Dragon
    Fire Dragon

    Depressed wasn't the word! I was taking 4 mind altering drugs just to get thru the days....

    I was on an anti-depressant, anti-psychotic, anti-anxiety, and sleeping pills to keep me from having nightmares. Turns out all I needed to be was ANTI-WITNESS!!! Since getting df'd and not looking back I've been taken off most of the meds and I am much healthier now.


  • Will Power
    Will Power

    I agree Dan - great post liberty

    I am not a jw but it depresses me to live with the knowledge that this power hungry org exists with all the physical, mental and spiritual abuse it inflicts & heralds as their god's only way. I rue the day I typed Jehovah's Witness into my search engine. My life has been changed forever.

    Cheers, Will

  • imanaliento

    I don't think I was depressed, but there were several times they made me feel like I wasn't doing enough. That feeling would usually subside the next day after that kind of talk was given.

    Edited by - imanaliento on 13 February 2003 11:21:7

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