there are lots of different ways of looking at this subject and notalone is free to choose which ones he may find provide him with reassurance and a way to move past his jw background. For example my contention is that suicide is lower amongst Jehovah's witnesses than the general population in that it is generally lower in religion even in fundamentalist religion. pls see map and WHO comments above. so the question is what is it about life that makes religious things necessary even in affluent secular nations.
secondly there is a dire need for mental illness to lose its stigmatisation and for research to address what imaginative and creative things such phenomena open onto.As I have already mentioned many creative people have what people would describe as "mental illness".
thirdly there are techniques such as mindfulness (see faulkner's article above. this is the article that links to Hasan's BITE model) that can help one break out of cycles of repetitive words etc.
fourthly I am not arguing that suicide and mental illness are absent among Jehovahs witnesses just that it is lower. one reason for this is I have suggested is Iannaconne's conclusion. Atran drawing on Iannaconne also brings something to the table on this.
None of this is meant to negate that individual suffering does not happen. It does. Indeed everyone who leaves is subjected to threats of losing one's family, intense guilt, dying at armageddon and the nagging feeling that they are missing something as Notalone says. Friedsen's abstract is itself illuminating. Faulkner's focus on buddhism and the phenomenology of having been a witness himself and his desire to form empathetic links with his patients refers back to Friedsen's points about the importance of this.
But yet I am convinced that suicide is lower among Jehovah's witnesses than the general population. indeed we have new evidence that suggests that three children in each classroom in the UK have diagnosable mental illness. this is another reason for mental illness to lose its stigma and to ask how religions help not so that people go back to religion but so that we find what may be missing in society. another question may ask why those who are more affluent do not end up having to give up their careers because of mental illness. they can afford the best help and regular visits to their counsellors and continue with their lives confident in their abilities to cope.