Need some help: Existential crisis in full swing

by Freeandclear 28 Replies latest jw friends

  • Giordano

    So your drinking pretty was I and you know I forgot to thank the WTBT$. It was probably one of the best spiritual things I got from the religion.

    Ok I'm joking. I'm in my young 70's and a timely death is in my near future. How do I feel about that? Well I feel 50. I feel love for my wife, my son, my grand kids and close friends.

    How meaningful was my life? Well it still is. When my wife and I walked out of the religion in our young 20's we had to adjust for a couple of years. Start our lives over. You have to give yourself a chance to learn about the real world especially those things that make living and loving so special.

    A lot of the folks on this forum are secular humanists a lot of us didn't even know it.

    Secular humanism is broader than atheism and you sound like you need to add some principled thinking to your life.

    • A conviction that dogmas, ideologies and traditions, whether religious, political or social, must be weighed and tested by each individual and not simply accepted by faith.
    • Secular humanists see themselves as undesigned, unintended beings who arose through evolution, possessing unique attributes of self-awareness and moral agency.
    • A primary concern with fulfillment, growth and creativity for both the individual and humankind in general.
    • Search for truth – A constant search for objective truth, with the understanding that new knowledge and experience constantly alter our imperfect perception of it.
    • This life – A concern for this life (as opposed to an afterlife) and a commitment to making it meaningful through better understanding of ourselves, our history, our intellectual and artistic achievements, and the outlooks of those who differ from us.
    • Ethics – A search for viable individual, social and political principles of ethical conduct, judging them on their ability to enhance human well-being and individual responsibility.
    • Justice and fairness – an interest in securing justice and fairness in society and in eliminating discrimination and intolerance.
    • Building a better world – A conviction that with reason, an open exchange of ideas, good will, and tolerance, progress can be made in building a better world for ourselves and our children.

    • If you checked off a number of these commitments and hopes....... you have got the guiding principles for a life worth living.

  • LisaRose

    Yes, I had an existential crisis, who wouldn't? It does get easier with time, but not if you try to drink it away. You know what's what, you just haven't fully embraced it yet.

    So with this new found belief I have come to the conclusion that the best thing I can do is enjoy every day and to treat others as well as I can without compromising my own happiness, and I really do try to do this.

    Bingo. This is enough, this is everything! When you realize that you will be fine. You are ahead of the game my friend.

  • Crazyguy

    Reality does sometimes really suck! Why did you get dfd if you don't mind me asking? Anyway yeah it blows finding out it was all a fairytale, but hopefully your young enough to make a life for yourself and find happiness. By the way most of the feelings your having is because you have ptsd. All I know is now life and the feeling of it is raw, but also more real. I have a much better appreciation for all things now in life. It's almost as if you survived a near death experience, and now you really want to live every day like its the last. Become more passionate and go live!! If others around you lack this appreciation then find people that do. I often think if I was with a woman that was an atheist she would treat me better then any JW woman ever could.

  • DesirousOfChange

    I think that saddest part of my awakening was that there would not be a time when God "fixed all things". All of the world's and all of life's injustices would stand. They would never be "made right".

    The child born with a birth defect and the parents who hoped and prayed and waited for the Paradise to "fix" it all will only live to find disappointment . . . . and eventually death. No fixing it. No making it right.

    What is there to live for if life is so . . . . . . "meaningless"?? For us (my wife & me), it is our children and grandchildren. We are older and our few remaining years are already "set". There is no chance of making great changes or improvements in our future. It is pretty much fixed by what we have done and/or failed to do for the past 40/50 years, and we cannot go back and change that. Regrettably we were putting all, or at least most of our confidence in the dangling carrot of the Panda Paradise that WT offered. We awakened too late for us.

    But that is not the case for our children and grandchildren. They are young and most of their life is still ahead of them. We hope that we have made a difference "for good" in their lives and can continue to do so. We have been able to give them a "leg up" in life by getting them a college education (I refused to let them repeat my mistake), helping them buy a home, helping them to be responsible people, and even helping to prevent their mistakes from crushing them.

    At the same time, we enjoy ourselves and the remaining time we have together. Fortunately, we have a comfortable lifestyle, a nice home, can afford to travel, splurge for an occasional bottle of expensive wine, and we still have relatively good health to enjoy it all. But it was very hard for me to deal with the fact that we would just continue to grow old and die. No New World. No Paradise. No living forever. That was all a lie. It's like finally learning that there is no Santa Claus when you are 40 or 50 or 60 years old. Everyone else already knew it, but it was a huge awakening for me.

    Good luck with the rest of your life!


    The greatest revenge is living a happy & successful life!

  • Island Man
    Island Man

    Why are you having an existential crisis? You should be enjoying life to the fullest. Not many people have succeeded in escaping the drudgery of religion. Keep this text in mind whenever you feel envious of christians who seem to have a life of purpose:

    "If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are to be pitied more than anyone." - 1 Corinthians 15:19

    Paul was saying that without the future eternal life that christians hope to have by a resurrection, christianity becomes a pitiable waste of ones life. From your atheist perspective, that truly is the case! Think about it: millions of people around the world are living pitiable lives - wasting the only lives they have on a myth that isn't true; foregoing higher education; subjecting themselves to ridicule and persecution; foregoing a loving relationship with that soul mate they met just because they're not of the same religion; wasting sundays listening to boring sermons; foregoing perfectly harmless entertainment; feeling guilty about enjoying too much of the pleasures of life. A pitiable life indeed!

    Why does there have to be an overarching purpose to life imposed on you from the outside? Religion implanted that notion in you to make the drudgery or worshiping a higher power seem appealing - like your part of some grand scheme bigger than yourself. Well, actually you are part of something much bigger - but its not some supernatural intelligence. You are a part of the universe; you are part of the fascinating concept of the universe attempting to understand itself. You will never become worm food. Only your body will.

    You can make a difference in the world. You can give meaning to your life. Today we are standing on the shoulders of those who lived before us. Their lives certainly had purpose. Everyone contributes something to humanity that has a ripple effect that lives on long after they're gone. Just try you best to make positive ripples and have an enjoyable life.

  • JWdaughter

    Religion and God is and has always been (IMO) a way for humans to gather society together in some kind of cohesion and civilization. Rules, societal order, all that. As we evolve, so does religion (unsurprisingly!)

    Maybe God is a way for people to take concrete steps to do the right things by one another. It really is what the 10 commandments and golden rule boil down to. Be nice, do good. Don't harm each other. Atheists, humanists can see the value in that even when it isn't faith driven. All religion basically comes down to those principles, but we also recognize that we often fail at this no matter what we believe about God, Forgiveness is desired and we want to go forward and learn from our mistakes. (Mercy of God or man)

    Don't deaden the light in your eyes by blowing off your life, your health, family, work and healthy sexual relationships. Those things matter even without a God ruling your life.

    JWs and most religion focuses on our fears and desires. Our fear of being beyond redemption and our desire for peace and safety. Some people ascribe the redemption to the religion, but you need to be merciful to your own self and seek out the things you want in this life that benefit you and make you happy. So what if there is no God! There are billions of other PEOPLE on this world, most of whom have it a lot worse than ANY of us. You hate religion? You don't believe in God? Do you want to prove the controlling cultish relgion RIGHT or do you want to prove them wrong?

    You can be a good example or a cautionary tale. Don't be a tool to con some other poor suckers.

  • MarkofCane

    Great advice from this community it shows we have all been there.

    We’ve spent a life time rejecting ourselves and adopting another man’s vision. We have been told that every inclination of the heart is bad, that this world and all of its desire are satanic inspired and doomed. We have been groomed and programmed to find fault in everything even ourselves, we are but a worthless slave…. remember. We had to put on a new personality, a personality designed to accept anything they regurgitate. They broke our spirit so that we wouldn’t question anything…..look at all the new videos, mental manipulation at it best.

    The military uses a similar tactic in boot camp to indoctrinate young minds…..they could never convince them to go to war and accept an order hinged on death without mental manipulation first. That’s what’s happened to us. Once a solder returns from combat to mediocrity its torture they can’t adjust to normal….PTS, most instances it takes professional help.

    You have to reprogram your mind. The system has been corrupted, you need to wipe and do a new clean install of operating system.

    System requirements:

    · Breathing room for my mind and spirit.

    · Trusting myself instead of doubting myself.

    · Appreciating the good and beautiful in the world instead of always seeking out the evil and ugly.

    · Laughing at whatever I find funny.

    · Setting my own priorities.

    · Never allowing anyone to tell me what to think, what to believe, what to enjoy, where to go, whom to associate

    Then, stop obsessing over religion or god… leave it alone for a while you will know if and when you need to revisit it. Keep yourself busy with something you enjoy… maybe learn to play a guitar? or start a hobby who knows might lead to a business venture that you will find enjoyable. Give yourself to your kids….live through them, through their eyes. Volunteer in something you believe will better humanity even after you’re gone.

    But for me the most important is: Listen for the sound of the genuine in yourself, your inner self, your inner voice it will tell you what to do. That is the voice they told you to reject, because that is the voice of reason, it’s the voice of logic the voice of self preservation, it’s the voice that must be shut off for the cults tactics to work. Listen to it, its who you are. If you listen you will find yourself.

    Good luck

  • Xanthippe
    Once a solder returns from combat to mediocrity its torture they can’t adjust to normal…

    That's so true MarkofCain. I went to a seminar on cults and a girl who joined the Children of God said when she left everything seemed so mundane and pointless at first, she couldn't adjust. They did a number on us. You have to deprogramme and reprogram your mind to normal life.

  • problemaddict 2
    problemaddict 2

    Free and clear,

    Well......hard to find someone who mirrors my out thoughts more than you just did. I have found purpose and meaning in my two small children, and am on a search for meaningful contribution to society somewhere in between living in a tree in the amazon, and going door to door doing nothing.

    Here is a conclusion i came to, that helped me understand my own fear. I havent dealt with the fear, but i understand it. Reading bokks on child developement, it seems clear there is,a certain time in a childs life that tje y process death. Lets say a 4 year olds dog dies. They are sad. But fo they understand death? No. They lost a play companion. They want "another". The general understanding that you are living your one and only life (as you know it to be), is 10-12 years old. Now religion interjects itself and says....karma....heaven....nirvana....etc... But JWs are unique in that they teach you WONT EVEN DIE. So the natural process that interhects the idea of death, never gets processed. Oh i dont havecto die? Awesome.

    So now you are an adult, you know its BS......guess what you never dealth with when it was time to deal with it.

    I hope this helps. PM me if you like.

  • ChrisIncredulous

    Hi. I really feel for you in that situation. Though I can't relate to alcoholism, and I'm at a bit of a loss on what to say about it exactly, I can really relate to the existensial crisis.

    My waking up faced me with the same questions, and I've been through some pretty dark times with it.

    I can't answer the question of how you can deal with it, just tell you what is helping me. I've come to believe that the lack of a grand purpose for the universe and us is actually quite liberating. We are free to follow our own set of values and do what makes us happy.

    In paradise, I was just hoping I'd get to do what I really want anyway. That wouldn't have any objective purpose either. Even if I lived forever, it wouldn't give my life purpose or direction. God should have an existensial crisis, because after all, what's he for?

    And I don't want there to be a state of complete satisfaction. If there was a universal purpose, all our endevours could one day be achieved, and then what? Then we'd be at the anticlimax with nothing to live for after that.

    Being human, I think, is about longing, and striving, jumping from one goal to the next. It's just the way we're wired. So I like to trick my mind by giving myself targets and goals and purposes. Another good tactic is to form friendships and help people out. I am trying to do what I would have done in paradise had it been true. But I have less time, so I am only doing what I really think is important and enjoyable.

    That's what gets me through. Also some great YouTube channels like Alain De Botton's School of Life, introducing great thinkers in a relevant, understandable way:

    Or Crash Course Philosophy:

    And other channels, like Kurzgesagt, which has this great video on addiction below:

    Maybe these will help.

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