Depression-depersonalisation-guilt feelings-ANGER-fear a lot of problems come up when one leaves a cult. Some of these things exist in a dysfunctional family. Some exist in a family with severe illness or mental problems in one of the members. Especially if it is one of the parents. Divorce or a death can trigger these situations also.
Throw a cult into the mix and It exacerbates the problems several times over. In all the posts I have read here, that deal with mental or emotional issues, triggered during the exit from the jw religion, they have not addressed an issue I felt, was a big part of my problems at that time.
That is the loss of ones own identity. Loss of identity happens a lot in divorces. It involves our own image of who we are. A big part of our lives in the cult was "I AM A JEHEHOVAHS WITNESS" and we are a special people. If we leave on our own it is hard enough to answer this question of "who am I" now? If we are disfellowshipped "thrown out" it is even more difficult to answer. Now who am I?
I faded away over a period of aprox.12 yrs. and was df'd on the 13th yr. So I had a gradual situation to deal with and I think that helped. I wonder at times if I would have survived a sudden df'ing at the beginning of that 13 yr period.
When the depression hit me, this issue of loss of identity was brought up the the psychiatrist. If one is born into the cult, we have no previous healthy identity to return to. We have to start almost from scratch. This is one reason we see so much chaos in our lives at that point. We may start to do things we never dreamed we would do. Smoking-gambling-sexual experiences-beards-long hair- almost everything we once thought were wrong. We are searching for ourselves. Who are we?? Who do we want to be??
It takes some time, but it can be done. That is, finding out who we really are and want to be. In some of the previous posts I think I sensed a degree of fear, from some, that they were very troubled over this and worried about how to become a functional person. The kind of person we some times know and admire in another. Remember, we almost never truly know what troubles and problems and self doubts linger in the lives of others. We only see what they want to display. So don't put yourself down with the idea that we can never be as functional as others seem to be.
It takes a little of our time each day to work on this issue and it can be done. It doesn't happen overnight but it does not take forever either. A good counselor- self help books on this issue- pushing ourselves to make friends. You know, trial and error learning. Joining a charitable group. Opening ourselves to others and the risks of not succeeding. You know, living a life. All of these things and after a time, not too long, we will begin to see a relaxing in ourselves. We will find friends, we will get over it.
After all, learning is a lifetime endeavor, If you were not learning," Who I am", you would be learning something else. If we are not continually learning during our lives, we are really in trouble.
What I really want to say to those who seem troubled over this issue is, it will not be this way forever.The old saying of "time heals all things" is correct in that it takes time for the healing to take place. You will see better times and you will see improvements in your social abilities and your self confidence. You can and will visit some of the more wonderful things in life. Just kick back and LIVE and LOVE and LAUGH. Choose your path in life and spirituality or agnostic or athiest or what ever you damned well want to do with your life.
Hey I did it, and I am not special in any way. So you can do it too. This is life kids, get with it and make the most of all your good opportunities in life. Don't let that damned cult take all the joy out of your lives.
Outoftheorg. Love you guys.