Wow, seems to be a lot of newbies in this thread; welcome everyone! I am glad that you found your way here and hope you find comfort knowing that you are not alone. (theEdge, I like your nickname...U2 fan perhaps? :)
I first came looking for info on JW's because my ex was giving me horrible time at the time and I needed to find out about custody cases involving jw's. I posted on the old H20, immediately AlanF and several others came to my aid, with info and encouragement. Thankfully I didn't end up needing the info, but what I ended up finding changed me, and my life forever.
I had never questioned whether or not the JW's had the truth. When I left, I figured I'd get a few good years before the big A came and killed me, and I was okay with that. I didn't want to live forever with any of the people who told me that the answer to living with my ex was "to be a better wife and pray more."
I was also so devestated by ths shunning; as we all are/were. When it is done 'correctly' (ie, by the JW book) it is pretty effective at bringing people back because as others have pointed out, it cuts them off from all their support especially if like me they were raised in and literally everyone they know and love and are related to are JW's.
What happened was though that as I began to find out the truth about "The Truth" (scully I can't get those little tm's to work still !) I started writing about my experiences with shunning. JW's do a great job of isolating people and that is part of why people are so afraid of being shunned.
The response I got to my posts was incredible, so many people going through the same thing and only other people in this position can possibly understand. It has helped so much and now I try to give a little of that back to those who are newly out. (if you want to see my old posts search the member name Esmeralda; I lost my old account info but the posts are there)
I have lost friends to suicide after they were df'd and I don't want to see that happen again if I can help anyone out there to know that it's not them, it's about control, it's evil, and that they can survive it and build a new life for themselves.
I am so glad that I didn't go back, because my child already has more, and will have more freedom in her future than I ever could've dreamed of.
hugs to all