I suffer from all of these things very strongly and I put a large percentage of this down to being trapped inside the J.W's for family reasons.
Anxiety, OCD, Hoarding, and the JWs
I have to say that in my experience the incidence of OCD behaviours and other such issues amongst the JW community is extraordinary high. Really.
I often experienced dry retching attacks prior to a meeting....and I was a full on 'happy' believer.
These were times when I had a whole lot circumstantial emotional stresses on my plate, and the thought of spending the evening in a large gathering of people was NOT upbuilding for me, personally. The chit chat before and after felt excruciating, even though I focused on the person in front of me, and not myself as a sort of self regulation....it was wearying.
There was a period of time, where I was grieving, deeply grieving and I really just needed a kind and non confronting soul to just sit with me, the only company I desired outside of the workplace was in my home setting....and one to one.
Not just for a day, a night....but for a period of time I needed space, some dignity in solitude....and the anxiety of not having endorsed permission to be absent from meetings as a JW made me ill.
It really did.
The religion did a lot of productive things for my life...externally, it all looked good...our house, our social life, our finances and businesses....
But I was one of those who picked my manicured fingers, picked at my head....such anxiety underneath the gloss and the apparently happy life.
My JW friends all drank far too much...elders, pioneers....we all did.
My JW girlfriends were always on edge, or taking medication for anxiety.
Many of us were really all quite spiritually, emotionally and physically sick, when I think about it.
I saw many lives ruined. And that's not sour grapes.
My ex-wife is a chronic OCD sufferer. Im talking plastic on her couch, eating food over the sink, disposable cutlery etc. I dont think Watchtower caused her OCD but it definitely magnified it.
She and her mother both have red scabby skin around the eyes, elbows, scalp and behind the ears. My ex-wife's condition vanished when she stopped going out on the ministry and reduced her meeting attendance. She also doesn't study anymore.
In my case i was having anxiety attacks in the final two years of my JW life. At the time i didn't know what was causing it. I would feel like i was about to throw up so would have to walk around, pacing up and down corridors or outside singing or talking to myself to distract my mind until it passed. Sometimes i'd have to leave the KH and walk round the block for an hour. One thing i found that 100% worked was watching porn for 2 mins. BAM! distracted and anxiety gone.
When i finally left woke up to Watchtower indoctrination the anxiety disappeared. I was still going along with the facade trying to fade but i was a lot happier.
Funny thing is. My girlfriend has lately been having anxiety attacks due to being a fulltime teacher and studying for her Ph.D. I told her the porn distraction thing i did and she tried it and it worked for her too.
So, in my case, Porn was actually helpful to my mental health and not toxic like Watchtower claimed so many times in their rags. The Watchtower however, was toxic to my mental health.
(P.S. In no way am i advocating porn for everyone. I know it can be an addiction for some people)
Not sure it is due to the watchtower but my MILs side family, the JWs since she was small, are all horders to some degree, though they also spend a lot of time cleaning. ( Except one, her brother, he was completely out of control).
I feel the hording comes from traumatic experiences, combined with not enough money to live comfortably. Her side of the family has some serious abuse from the stories I have heard. Plus they were very poor. It may even be the reason why her mother joined herself, and all her kids, into the JW.
The suffering that people go through to stay in this religion! And if that's not bad enough, they are conditioned to feel worse when they even think about leaving.
Sail Away - the subject of giving talks and speaking came up the other day. I just said (here's a new thought!) that I didn't see the purpose of it so therefore hadn't given a talk in years. Since everything is set out before you give the "talk", there's really no point, is there? Why make anyone do that, if they aren't comfortable with doing it? Practicing a sham type of "public speaking" isn't something I need to do. Now THAT was a conversation stopper.
Lost in the Fog - thank you for the link, reading the article now. I hadn't thought about that aspect as yet.
Pale Emperor - the porn cure! Absolutely brilliant.
But here's the thing about this congregation, they obviously are off the anxiety charts, and by now it's so bad that several of them (including two elders) live in houses that are just falling down, dirty and cluttered inside and out. One is so bad it could be on a TV show. So, even the effort to control the anxiety by constant cleaning, which I have seen before in sisters I knew, is just gone.
Having all this anxiety and trauma, and then denying it by saying you are happy and relying on Jehovah, is just excruciating.
Sail Away - the subject of giving talks and speaking came up the other day. I just said (here's a new thought!) that I didn't see the purpose of it so therefore hadn't given a talk in years. Since everything is set out before you give the "talk", there's really no point, is there? Why make anyone do that, if they aren't comfortable with doing it? Practicing a sham type of "public speaking" isn't something I need to do. Now THAT was a conversation stopper. --Spiral
Huge anxiety and depression problem in my family. All born in's. So much guilt, never doing enough, no matter how hard you try.
I still suffer from a lot of anxiety, it's the biggest problem in my life. I'm hoping reading what all the nice people on this forum say about their experiences will give me some perspective.
Or maybe I need a shrink:)
This is an amazing thread and just underscores how unhealthy the JW religion is.
Would a God of love want or expect His devoted servants to be sick to the point of nausea, phobias, damaging habits, etc.??? If I wasn’t acceptable, then fine. No human being should be put through this mental torture.
My being in the JW religion exacerbated my tendency to OCD - constantly checking to see if I turned off the stove and so on. It’s better since I left. Thanks for reminding me why I’m glad I left the JW religion.
How can anyone believe Armageddon/Great Tribulation be imminent / just around the corner for over a Century and it`s still spoken of today 2018 as imminent / just around the corner and not have mental issues ? they should be addressing ?
I think a couple of my JW friends are just hanging on because of the resurrection hope. Having a hard time functioning day to day but can't let go of being a JW because of wanting to see deceased parents or spouse in the "new order". Living in dread of Armageddon yet hoping for it.