Born and raised a Witness. Parents were Gilead missionaries in Guatemala for two years before I came along, plus we made extensive visits as a family both there and throughout Mexico. Typical Watchtower indoctrination and challenges of being teased for no birthdays and holidays, or being seen 'witnessing' in the neighborhood (especially difficult in 100+ degree summer weather). Added lifelong struggles with ADD, OCD, depression, and Asperger's Syndrome (recently diagnosed), which the Organization is clearly unable to understand. Father (27-year elder) passed away with cancer when I was 14. Earliest doubts I can recall had to do with why a God of 'love' permits persecution and suffering. Issues with my father's death and lifelong loneliness, etc., led to two suicide attempts and subsequent hospitalizations in the late 90's and early 2000's, to which the local elders responded that I was 'weak' and needed to 'pray more' and 'study more' (I had done plenty of both). First real break with the Organization occurred in 2001. Sometime in 2002 I learned of a local ex-JW support group, the leader of which remembered me from his own brief JW involvement approximately 10 years before. I almost immediately found myself in the presence of people I thought of as friends and who helped me in innumerable, different ways (one taught me to meditate, another met with me regularly and went over materials designed to counter the JW mindset, and most of us gathered once a month for a meal and socialization). The 'deprogrammer' subsequently also met with me almost every Saturday for breakfast and various exploratory adventures (day trips to regional historic sites, etc.). Another group member (now living in another state) phoned once or twice a week to ask my views on various religious or spiritual topics, and this resulted in a very close and meaningful friendship (for a time, anyway). I honestly felt things couldn't be better for someone recovering from the 'Truth.' Trouble began, however, early in 2004 as a result of strong conflict and disagreement between the group founder and 'deprogrammer' over how the group should be run. This resulted in a complete break between the two, and the group as we had known it dissolved. Sadly, my friendship with the founder also collapsed during this time. The 'deprogrammer' and his wife maintained contact with me (which included the weekend movies and adventures) until a verbal phone outburst by him approximately six months ago (on a day when I was emotionally wrought and did not need such treatment), which appears to have effectively ended those friendships as well. The 'phone friend' has moved to Indiana and we talk less and less as time goes on. As of now I have been in therapy for over two years, and presently struggle with issues that never seem to go away (i.e., 'Does all of this abandonment mean I should return to Jehovah?' etc.). Fortunately common sense has always won out at moments like that, but it is difficult. The few non-JW friends I do have try their best to understand, as does my therapist, but I am convinced that one who has spent many years in the Watchtower organization (especially from birth), and then left, needs more than anything else the special support and understanding of others who have been through the same thing. Spiritually or religiously I have no firm inclinations at this time, other than a real obsession with the wisdom and spirituality of the Mesoamerican (Mayan or Toltec) cultures. I desperately welcome the opportunity to meet and interact with other JW survivors, online but especially in person.