That's great Phil. Some people get away easier than others. In some cases the JWs relentlessly hound (to the point of harassment) peopl trying to break free. Welcome to the world of the sane and say goodbye to mind control, lies and the insane lifestyle.
How Many People Are Less Stressed Since Leaving The Witnesses?
Phil, I LOVE reading stories like yours! That is what makes posting here so rewarding at times!!!!
For me, the stress of leaving in 1974 as a believer gave me more internal stress than performing as a Witness. Staying on as a borderline, low commitment, low hours, few meetings type of Witness was much easier than leaving while still being a believer.
For me, the organization and god were one and the same in my mind, but I felt overloaded and doomed as a practicing Witness and I felt overloaded and doomed as a walkaway. Bottom line was, I didn't like being a Witness. The problem was, I believed the Witnesses to be right and I saw myself as a quitter, a defective, a bad person.
I was in a double bind. I didn't like being a Witness and I felt shame and doomed for quitting.
Eventually it all needed to be fixed. I could not work on liking being a Witness, although I tried to return a couple times, because there was not support or rational information available. There was still all the things I had not liked waiting for me if I returned as a Witness. Nothing had gotten better, much had gotten worse. The people I had not liked had advanced into solid leadership positions in the group and the people I had liked had disappeared. The Witness outlook went from salvation of the masses to higher control of the few. It seemed to become anal and very unfriendly. My course was set.
All that was left, was for me to work on the feelings of shame and impending doom that came from leaving. That was all resolved by education. Education of things like the history of the group, the secular political nature of the group, and in the end the history of religion and theism. There was a light bulb moment at some point, and I was freed from it all. Now my ultimate goal is indifference.
For people like my parents who are socially retarded, economically challenged, willfully under educated, superstitious to the max, and who have the ability to take denial to new heights, leaving the "club" would be a catastrophic set back. Those I think are going to have far less stress by not challenging one thing on their plate. I have nothing I can contribute to my goal by trying to change them or even wishing they would change. I think they are much more interesting to watch the way they are. GaryB
Tell you what, my devout JW mother is the most miserable person you ever will meet. She crys alot, has a sad face always, is SOOOO NEGATIVE about everything--"What a terrrible world" "All teenagers are so disgusting nowadays" "There is no good on the earth" "God needs to destroy it and make it clean." She walks, looks and talks miserable. She is a grouch. She does not show love to any of her children, even the JW ones, she is a weird grandmother that does not reach out to her grandchildren but for once a year, she contemplates suicide, she has a HORRIBLE marriage to an overseer, she hates her husband, she feels her life has been a waste, "But Jehovah will reward me someday". It has gotten to the point where when she smiles, I cring and am embarrassed because it looks so fake. Her entire persona is happy-energy sucking.
How sad it is to have these people in the org
As a youngster, I studied with one of the original faithful ones. When I moved away I always thought of him/wife
when I returned one day, and went to his hall seems like old age made him an angry grouchy old man! Brothers
complained of him and the smell from his "excrement bag". Eventually they connected him through the
phone system. When he died the house went to the org (not his brother) and some brother that helped him
from time to time complained he got nothing! His wife died 1 month later!
Yes and no. I had depression before the JWs. I lost my parents while a JW. So antidepressants were not unknown to me.
However, having said that, I tried to go off anti-deps several times in the last few years...and was never able to until I left the JWs (left in Feb, came off meds in May, and we'll see how I do in the next anniversary season -- November). However, I made it through Dad's birthday time of year with NO problems while off meds. I count that a HUGE thing.
As for stress in general, right now my stress is high. However, it's mostly good stress. Getting married, packing up and selling my apartment, emigrating to the US, finishing university courses before I leave...it's a hassle for timing, a lot of unknown timing, and a lot of changing life circumstances. So the stress isn't any less, but the way I'm dealing with it is, even off meds.
Plus not having to squeeze in a bzillion meetings a week and field service (or deal with people questioning why I'm not) has certainly eased the feeling of pressure. When I fell apart after my parents died, I can say that a big factor was the pace of life before...trying to keep up with the JW lifestyle.
I tried to explain to my sister that my leaving was a decision I had to make for my health and sanity. Because I really would have gone insane if I'd stayed in and tried to cope JW-style. Of course, she doesn't agree.
Edit: Oh yeah, I forgot about the migraines. I used to have many migraines a month, lasting days. Was on prescription meds. When I left, and in the months since leaving, they've dropped off dramatically. They used to only be managed by prescription medication...now I can deflect them with OTC stuff...in the rare times I get them anymore.
And I think Blondie's comment is bang-on...it is like leaving an abusive relationship.