This is a touchy and sensitive topic. But today I’m going to address it, and share my experience.
This is not to offend anyone or upset anyone. This is to share my story. In hopes to help anyone else going through this struggle. I want to say I appreciate everyone’s beliefs, and respect them. This story is my own.
I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness. I spent 16 years of my life practicing and believing in this religion. I was even baptized at the age of 14.
To those that aren’t familiar with this religion, they are what’s called a millennialist group. Meaning they believe that the heavens and earth reign for a thousand years, then Armageddon comes. They do not celebrate birthdays or holidays. In fact the only special events celebrated are wedding anniversaries, and the memorial of Jesus’ death.
There stand on mental illness is not typical to most of us. They believe (as some religions do) that if you put your faith in god, pray, and study god’s word you will be cured of your short comings.
Believe you, me if that’s all it took, I would have done it years ago!
Now, I don’t necessarily believe prayer is going to cure me, but I believe it helps clear your mind.
Like I said I spent the first 16 years of my life in this religion, but left it around 16. I have my reasons. To not offend others, I will omit why I left.
Much of my family still practices this religion, and therefore I have yet to come to terms on telling them I have Type 1 Bipolar Disorder. Partially due to the general stigma on mental illness, but mainly as I know they won’t accept it.
This puts me in sort of a rock and a hard place!
My father is a JW. My sisters are JW. My aunts are JW. My little nephew is being raised as a JW. The only one I’ve been able to turn to is my mother, who also left the religion some years ago.
I myself believe there is a god, but science shows proof of life. I guess I’m confused. But then again I’m not alone in that battle!
Growing up JW has instilled a great deal of guilt in me. One for leaving, and second because of how I was raised.
This guilt lives in me everyday of my life. Why? You ask. Well, since I was baptized and left the religion the JW’s frown upon this. And unfortunately there is a sort of punishment for doing so.
My family who practice are told to refrain association with those not only who don’t practice but especially those who were a part of the organization but left.
They are considered “Worldly.” Not the sense of being well-traveled but “of the worlds order of things.”
I’m labeled as “Worldly,” therefore have little association with my family. Not my choice.
Now that you know a little more, maybe you can see my dilemma.
My own father doesn’t even know I’m bipolar. I’m afraid of what he’ll say, do, and what he’ll preach to me.
Maybe one day we’ll find common ground, but that day isn’t today!
As I’ve stated, I know this is a touchy subject and hope I haven’t offended anyone.
If you or someone you know is going through a similar thing. You can always find support here. Respond in the comments or DM me personally via twitter.