Friday, February 23, 2007


There is a rage welling up in my soul. Not many people know about this but 8 years ago, while a JW, I went through a closed-door interrogation process for a JW religious infraction with 3 of the groups "elders" (supposed men of God). It lasted about six hours. By the time I left, my head was spinning. To this day, I have nightmares about what happened behind those closed doors. Sometimes, things will trigger up memories of these events. This happened today.

I saw a psychiatrist for an initial consult regarding anxiety, much of which stems from my JW upbringing to begin with. He begins the session by informing me that he won't be treating me long-term. His schedule is too full for that. He says he'll take 3-4 sessions to come to a diagnosis then recommend a treatment plan, usually involving meds of some sort.

Then he begins barraging me with questions. When I don't answer them clearly enough for him, he asks me to be more specific. I can feel my anxiety level rising. He's asking me questions about what triggers my anxiety, what it feels like. The questions keep coming, one after another. My heart is pounding, my stomach is churning, my temperature is dropping. I'm beginning to shake. He asks me to tell him more about what it was like when the anxiety first started, back in my teens. I describe it as it was then, not being fully aware that I'm right in the middle of the panic attack I'm attempting to describe as some past event. The tears begin to choke me.

He asks, "What's happening right now?"

I first say that it's the recounting of my past anxiety that is making me anxious. He apologizes and then asks me, "Do you want to talk about something else?"

"No." The tears are flowing now.

"What do you need right now?"

I say, "I don't know." What I really want to say is, "Stop questioning me mother fucker and let me catch my breath."

At this point I have flashbacks of the JW "judicial committee" process I went through 8 years ago (the anniversary of which is fast-approaching). I tell him, "I feel like you're interrogating me. It reminds me of something that happened when I was a JW (which he hasn't as of yet bothered to ask me about)."

He apologizes again, with the empathy of a signpost. The rage is building but I stuff it down with, "It's okay. It's not your fault. This is my problem. You've just triggered me." Now I'm getting angry with myself. I excused him like I excused those JW elders. "Just give me a minute here," I say.

"Do what you need to do", he says, shifting his weight in his chair and turning his attention to his computer screen.

I stuff down the anger. Just get through this I tell myself. So I choke back the tears and continue on with his questions. He doesn't ask me about the JW stuff; just keeps asking me about my social anxiety and what I've done so far to help myself. He then says our time is up, hands me a few more forms to fill out for our next appt. and shuffles me on my way.

I get my gear together, choke back the tears and go stand and wait for the bus. It's -10 degrees celsius. I'm shaking already with anger and I can barely keep myself from screaming at the sky. There appears to be a bus delay and it takes 30 minutes for the bus to arrive, long enough for my body to remember yet more JW stuff.

My frozen toes bring up flashes of the many winter Saturday mornings spent as a child knocking on people's doors, bringing them the "good news". I remembered how long those mornings seemed. How I couldn't wait for my dad to scoop me up and sit me beside him in the front seat of the car, take off my boots and turn the heater on full blast. I remembered the twinges of feeling returning as the heat thawed my toes. And I remembered sprinkly donuts, as my parents would often take us for a coffee break half-way through those cold mornings. To this day, you can still bring some life back to my soul with a sprinkly donut.

By the time I reached home, my fingers were frozen, my toes were frozen and my soul was, well, frozen. As the warmth of my apartment thawed my feet and hands, the rage returned. I screamed. And then the tears came. I sobbed and sobbed. It's been 3 hours and I'm still shaking a bit. My fingers are still chilly and the tears are still just at the surface.

Maybe I should email that doctor this entry. Perhaps this would give him a clearer picture of where I'm at than his interrogation process did. Regardless, I'm not going back to see him. I will not be processed again. Ever.

tall penguin


Thomas (Abandoned) said...

The watchtower leaves so much damage in the people's lives it touches. I hope to see them regulated in our life time.

On a different note, though, I do so much love the wonderful skill you have with words. Your stories flow and they are filled with realism and a panache that's a pleasure to read. I'm happy for you. :-)

tall penguin said...

Thanks Thomas. You are such a lovely soul.

tall penguin