Chapter 5. My Religion and The Illness.

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Chapter 5. My Religion and The Illness

Updated July 18, 2013 23:24 GMT

I became a baptised member of the Jehovah's Witnesses Christian religion in 1969. I am still a member and had been happily associated with it from the age of about seven via my mother who belonged to it. My father never joined the faith and was not opposed to us being members. Once, at the age of twelve in mid 1963, I blithely refused blood transfusions despite my doctors' protestations when I was an in-patient suffering from ulcerative colitis (bleeding in the bowel) on Barclay Ward, Queen Elizabeth 2 Hospital for Sick Children, Hackney, London. I believed then and still do that God in the Bible forbids us having them.  I had the condition on and off between December 1962 and 1966. The doctors threatened to obtain a court order to force blood on to me. One day the ward's sister became annoyed at my parents accusing them of neglect and, like the doctors, maintained, according to my mother later, that I would die without transfusions although I do not recall them ever telling me that exactly, but I was content to die for my belief if it came to it and I said that to Dr. Ung I think his name was. However, I surprised them all by surviving without any blood transfusions. Now, if they had forced blood them on to me via court order or I had accepted them voluntarily then they would not have known they were unnecessary and I might have helped future cases avoid them. They were more contaminated with pathogens then - see how scary they are even today with more testing compared to those days; my religion saved me from being unnecessarily infected too. Hopefully, my refusal showed those doctors not to be too keen to give blood in future and to wait. I was given a corticosteroid drug called Prednisone for three years, and I also took herbal remedies during the last year too i.e. fenugreek, a commercially available herbal tablet for duodenal ulcer, and I think comfrey. Incidentally, I subsequently put on weight so fast on Barclay Ward that my consultant, Dr. Jacoby, was dumbfounded at its speed. One of the reasons for it was that my mother had every day surreptitiously brought me in extra food - beef broth and sandwiches - which I secretly ate beneath the bedclothes as I was told by the staff not to eat salad owing to my bowel condition. Another reason was that Prednisone also produced weight gain as a side-effect i.e. Cushing Syndrome, where in something like nine weeks I went from skinny to Billy Bunter size. I had an abdominal operation in March or April 1963 for the colitis before that  was diagnosed to see if the bleeding was from cancer or not but there was no sign of cancer. A thickening on the bowel was removed then but no section of it was cut out. The doctors at one stage wrote that I was depressed but I was not. My religion was enabling me to cope with it very handsomely thank you for which I am grateful.. I have some of the hospital case notes from this time.

I believe that a side-effect of Prednisone was responsible for me believing - but only while I was taking it as far as I can recall - that if I relaxed it would allow the devil to enter into me which meant I was constantly tense re. the scripture in the Bible which says keep on the watch because the devil walks about like a roaring lion seeking to devour someone.

The above demonstrates that doctors are not always right, and they have got it wrong about my current ailment too.

The author, with mother, Barclay Ward, Queen Elizabeth 2 Hospital for Children, Hackney, London, summer 1963, being treated with a corticosteroid called Prednisone or Prednisolone for ulcerative colitis at age twelve. The plastic models on the shelf were constructed by the author on the ward.

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The author after discharge from hospital appx. late September 1963 showing the large weight gain from Prednisone. From left to right in the rear: Janet Cattier, Albert Flay - Ivy Cattier's brother - and Ida his wife on the right. 

The latest news is that Crohn's disease, closely related to ulcerative colitis, is thought by some to be caused by a bacterium acquired from pasteurised cow's milk - it survives the heat - and so now 'four out of five cases can be helped with antibiotics'. Perhaps I was cured because the herbs killed that organism.

The green paragraph below appears in the publication by Jehovah's Witnesses entitled How Can Blood Save Your Life? (at this site see paragraph 4): 'The British Journal of Surgery (October 1986) reported that prior to the advent of (blood) transfusions, gastrointestinal haemorrhage had "a mortality rate of only 2.5 per cent." Since transfusions became customary, 'most large studies report a 10-percent mortality.' Why a death rate four times as high? The researchers suggested: "Early blood transfusion appears to reverse the hypercoagulable response to haemorrhage thereby encouraging rebleeding." When the Witness with the bleeding ulcer (duodenal ulcer) refused blood, his choice may actually have maximized his prospects for survival.' This means I too may have maximized my chances of survival by refusing blood, and I also avoided the possibility of getting infections from them such as hepatitis which by now might have given me liver cancer. Blood was not then tested like it is now for hepatitis C which, consequently, it has infected many people via this route. However, 5,000,000 per year globally the World health Organisation calculates are infected by it from unsafe transfusion and injection practices - see Real media video from the last Watchtower video listed in Incidentally, Danny Kaye, the film star, died in part from the non-A non-B hepatitis virus he contracted from a transfusion four years earlier during quadruple heart bypass surgery:

Awake! 1987 22 July pages 29-30: 'Actor Danny Kaye died this past March. Yet, "the most significant aspect of his death escaped general notice," writes columnist Ray Kerrison. "The comedian died at the age of 74 in part because he once received transfusions of contaminated blood." His doctor disclosed that Kaye contracted non-A and non-B hepatitis from transfusions he received four years previously when undergoing quadruple bypass surgery. "Thus the operation designed to save Danny Kaye's life became instead a sentence of death," says Kerrison. "Indeed, it is estimated that some 12 people (many of them haemophiliacs) die every day in the U.S. of diseases transmitted by tainted blood." Why? Because although blood can harbor many ailments, it is tested for only two - hepatitis B and the AIDS antibody - as it is not cost effective to test for more. At the same time, former porn star Linda Lovelace underwent a liver transplant operation. What damaged her liver? Doctors believe it was also hepatitis, contracted through a blood transfusion given her after an auto accident in 1970.' October 1, 1999: "Expert Urges Safer Blood Supply, SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - Thousands of blood donations contaminated by the AIDS virus and hepatitis make their way into hemispheric blood banks each year, infecting thousands of people with the diseases, a leading expert on safe blood told health officials Thursday." - Information received by e mail from Intelihealth Online. To subscribe for frequent health information apply at:

Useful Links for bloodless medicine and surgery:

The New Jersey Institute for the Advancement of Bloodless Medicine and Surgery including bloodless therapies e.g. for heart and liver operations etc. Also, and The University Centre for Bloodless Surgery and Medicine.

A company called the Cerus Corporation has a treatment to inactivate viruses, bacteria and other pathogens in the blood components used for transfusion - platelets, plasma and red blood cells. Current blood testing procedures are not able to detect all known or emerging pathogens in blood. As a result, thousands of infections result from transfusions each year.

Dangers of blood transfusions and alternative therapies to blood transfusion booklet by Jehovah's Witnesses.

The official web sites of Jehovah's Witnesses: containing their beliefs.

I believe that God only has one  religion on earth representing him because according to the Bible he only had one in the fist century and I believe he is keeping the status quo on it. I identify them to be Jehovah's Witnesses because like the first century Christians they do not join armies, keep neutral in political matters, preach about God's Kingdom vociferously, ban blood transfusions, and when they find out they have been promulgating a wrong teaching they change it - but I believe that everything the first  century Christian governing body said as regards religious beliefs was told them by God which meant it could not change. They do not tolerate unrepentant bad Christians in their midst and so they are disfellowshipped - to avoid a "bad apple spoiling the whole barrel." However, they are accepted back if they repent. The religion is imperfect because it is comprised of imperfect people but they try.

I possess the insight to know it was not my religion that caused my mental illness but it was instead my ill brain which made me go peculiar over it, which is different. I know plenty of Jehovah's Witnesses who for years have been content with their faith, in their right minds and happily married. If this religion caused mental illness then every one of the members would be patients in psychiatric hospital, but it is not the case. I will continue to be happy in it as long as I do nothing in it under compulsion; and my faith has certainly enabled me to endure the bad times of my illness, and that I can be grateful for. It did this by preventing me from panicking when ones suffering appeared to be becoming unbearable because I trusted that if I hung on it would improve and it always did. This is because of the scripture in the Bible at 1 Corinthians 10v13, which says that God provides a way out for one to be able to endure things. Also, I am sure that my faith has made me unafraid of the illness so that in total I have only been afraid of it for two to three weeks altogether.

Also, it would have been ten times worse without my parents' help and support whom I am grateful to for nursing me.

I incorrectly thought I could distinguish what was and what was not inspired of God of the Bible interpretations of my religion's governing body. However, considering they say they are not inspired of God and the only thing inspired about their publications are the Bible verses they quote, common sense dictates they could not really be sure about a certain number of their Bible interpretations being correct or not when other religions have different beliefs on the same verses. Therefore, I should have known that one must view those decisions sceptically until absolute proof became available often from hindsight apart from, that is, the glaringly obviously correct ones such as no immortal soul, no hell fire, abstain from joining warring armies, and the earth is to become a paradise. However, mental illness made me fail to see it. The governing body themselves say their interpreting the Bible is an evolutionary process, sometimes returning to their original belief whilst having accepted something different in the meantime. For example, the founder of the faith, Charles T. Russell, maintained as the faith currently does that Romans 13:1 applies to the earth's political governments re. the superior authorities. However, Rutherford, the following-on president of the faith changed it to mean Jehovah and Jesus. It was changed back again after he died. Scientists also rewrite their books when new discoveries overturn cherished theories and beliefs. See 1/Different asteroid theory on extinction of Dinosaurs, 2/"Pterosaurs were not cumbersome gliding dinosaurs, but nimble and athletic flyers, scientists now believe." I thought many years ago that the governing body were correct when they said the destruction by God of false Christian organisations, and obviously Armageddon too, would commence before the 20th century had expired - see page 216, paragraph 9, of the green covered Watchtower book The Nations Shall Know That I am Jehovah - How?, published 1971 although I do not actually recall seeing it in that book at the time. I believed it because of  their calculation that the generation aged fourteen in 1914 were reckoned to witness Armageddon in their lifetime. See Matthew 24:34. They do not promulgate the latter now owing to a rethink because of hindsight. I used to preach publicly that it was Gospel truth though. I feel embarrassed. Owing to my lack of common sense I failed to get the balance right between not being an apostate (not going against one's religious beliefs) and the governing body not being inspired. Sorry, people - the ones I preached to at the time. A Kingdom Hall talk I heard in 2004 remarked that the Governing body of Jehovah's Witnesses had made mistakes in promulgating Bible beliefs but not big ones. However, I think the latter could be debatable in two particular points with all due respect. Some rank and file members of the faith use the mistakes made by the Governing Body as an excuse to leave the faith. I would not because I forgive them their errors - Mathew 6:14. I think the governing body have done well in providing evidence for God's existence and reason for trusting the Bible.

From the end of 1970, mental illness made me have religious mania (but I did have it a bit before then e.g. not realising it was wrong of me to preach during work time at my place of employment i.e. getting paid for not working) and develop a crazy belief about preaching Christianity full-time which I literally forgot went contrary to the tenet of Jehovah's Witnesses. This was one of the several reasons why my nerves became exhausted, because after willingly doing one month of *Pioneering in December 1970, and voluntarily giving up my full-time paying job to do it, it became extremely arduous. I incorrectly thought that as I was single and with no rent to pay owing to living with my parents it meant I was obligated to preach full-time and work for money only part-time as doing anything else would be selfish when people needed to know how to acquire everlasting life (e.g. lifeboat men do not visit the movie theatre when a ship is sinking). I was doing it under compulsion from then on. I had liked preaching when doing a little bit and wanted to return to doing that. I thought it was my fault I was not enjoying it nor wanting to do it full-time when the Bible says do things willingly and not under compulsion, and so I did it anyway. I wanted to do what I thought was right. I misinterpreted the following type scriptures because of not having enough common sense to understand them: 2 Corinthians 9:6,7, "But as to this, he that sows sparingly will also reap sparingly; and he that sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Let each one do just as he has resolved in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." New World Translation. I longed to get a full-time paying job and thereby also accrue enough money to restart my hobby of radio controlled aero modelling. The Watchtower magazine (publication of Jehovah's Witnesses) says that a common reason why Christians can have nervous breakdowns is because they do not want to be a failure, which means their mental illness makes them fail to realise they are not built to do as much as normal people are able to do, and so they push themselves on and run themselves into the ground. They suffer from mental blindness which I also had. Thus, in the meantime, they make their lives an unnecessary misery, and then their families lives a disaster when they become ill because of it and have to be nursed by them. 

Householders that a Christian preaches to can sense if one's religion is bogging one down. Consequently, they will avoid joining the faith like the plague if one is reluctantly preaching too much owing to false reasoning, and it makes ones preaching efforts counter productive. Far better to preach ten hours a month with a spring in ones step than seventy hours with a long face.

*Pioneering is where one promises on a form printed by Jehovah's Witnesses to do a certain number of hours preaching monthly which was at that time one hundred in my case. Taking time off to repair my car meant I had to make up those lost preaching hours which meant I was effectively working overtime so neglecting visiting the sick and elderly in the congregation. Pioneering is like making a vow similar to how Old Testament people made them to God in order to do more than otherwise they could have done. At a Circuit Assembly in about 1973 the speaker said that the idea of Pioneering was to keep one in a routine. However, for weak bodies the supercharger of Pioneering will blow their engine up metaphorically speaking if they fail to realise they lack the mental and physical strength for it as has happened to people. They refuse to be a failure owing to to a diminished level of common sense. I think it far better instead to make a private vow to God for doing more preaching to a level that one can manage if one wishes to do it rather than undertaking it via the official Pioneering way where the same number of hours apply to all applicants. After all, the first century Christians had no official Pioneering arrangement and they did all right.

There are three different levels of hour requirement depending on the type of Pioneering which is Auxiliary, Regular and Special. I do not know the exact hours for them since they have been reduced. And one must not feel guilty not doing more if doing extra is going to make one miserable. In September 2003 the number of Special, Auxiliary and Regular Pioneers in the UK was 10,382 with a total UK active membership of 121,932 for that month. We are all different in strength. For example, I had a terrible job arising from bed in the mornings because of undiagnosed food allergies making me tired, and I did irksome window cleaning to make ends meet when I was too lazy even to wash the dishes at home which was another strain upon my system. I was joyful whenever it rained on a window washing day because it prevented me from cleaning those panes. For two years I literally forgot I could  give that job up if I so desired. I also suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder making me have to work harder at it owing to unnecessary repetitive actions when actually washing a window.

The average hours preached by the different Pioneers in September 2003 for UK: Special 108.2, Regular 60.4 Auxiliary 49.4. 

From May 1971 for a while I did one month Pioneering i.e. 75 hours monthly and one month off but still doing a lot of preaching in the meantime because by that time I had realised that Pioneering was too much for me. Eventually I dispensed with it altogether and just did over 50 hours per month preaching which was still too much for me but was enough to stay the safe side of a nervous breakdown. It meant I did not have to make up the lost hours if I had to repair my car etc. I had to own a vehicle because of living in a rural area with a ten kilometre journey to the Kingdom Hall, and for my job. Ten hours preaching per month was the maximum I should have been accomplishing and less really than that actually, more like one hour per week which would have suited me "down to the ground" if it was calling from house to house doing it and in the afternoons so that I could lay in bed in the mornings owing to food allergies making me wake up feeling grossly unnaturally tired. Also, if I could have at this time just put leaflets through letter boxes about my religion instead of speaking to people on their doorstep I would have been ecstatic. However, I liked informal preaching which is not knocking formally on someone's door but striking up a conversation when, for example, sitting next to them on a park bench. However, I did enjoy the formal type once I became engaged in a conversation with a house holder. I reckon a lot of people pretended to be out of their homes when I did the formal type of preaching during weekdays to avoid speaking to me.

In April 1971 five months of Pioneering and awful window cleaning to make ends meet plus other things had brought me to the brink of a nervous breakdown from nervous exhaustion. After the first month of Pioneering I did not want to continue with it or the job but my crooked conscience got in the way and made me carry on as I have already said. Three weekends of April are a complete blank memory wise because of the nervous exhaustion. I only avoided a conventional breakdown then because of having to attend the chiropractor once a week the following month which forced me to take a day off which reduced the mental pressure then allowing the fuel of the nerves to be replaced as quickly as it was being used instead of the opposite.

If my mother had realised I was "biting off more than I could chew" Pioneering she would have said the following to stop it, "How can you do two days window cleaning weekly when you do not even do the dishes because it is so arduous? You fight to get up in the mornings because of tiredness (food allergies), and you intend to do ten times more preaching monthly than the ten hours you do at present which you just about manage, am I right? When you repair your eleven year old car the hours deducted from ministry time will have to be made up doing overtime in it to reach the one hundred hour per month quota. It will wear you out considering we also live in a rural area with longer journey times. You will also never have enough time to fulfil your Christian duties properly like visiting the sick, elderly and grandmother together with helping your father and I decorating etc in the home we have just moved to. You had all that near fatal ulcerative colitis when aged twelve to fifteen and the strain from having to push yourself is going to bring it back. The word pioneering conjures up covered wagons, prairies, Indian fighting and fording rivers i.e. struggle and hardship. Ill people should not Pioneer (actually stated by the Circuit Overseer in 2005 at the local kingdom hall). It is one size fits all and is only for the fit and healthy. We have had enough hospitals with your sister being cerebral palsy from birth and you in one as a youngster too with that bowel trouble. We do not want anymore of it thank you. Therefore, you get a fulltime job again one you like and just jog along. That is all you are fit for." As it was, in the fifth month of Pioneering in April 1971 I had for three weeks slight symptoms of the ulcerative colitis return which was streaks of blood in formed stools when it had previously totally left me in 1966. Perhaps it was not the colitis but something else though. I never went to the doctor about it anyway. I have never had it return since. In the 1960s we knew a lady who always said her son was not strong enough to Pioneer, thus he did not do it. Now, if my father who was not in my faith had ordered me not to do it I would have refused to accede to his request because the Bible says one must do God's will even if it upsets a family member who disagrees with it - Luke 14:26. However, I would have complied with him if he had shown me the same health arguments against it that my mum should have uttered above. I never thought of those arguments against it at the time owing to not possessing a mind of my own, and if I had thought of them I would have "off my own bat" not Pioneered and so later not got on the treadmill of doing just a lot of preaching instead of Pioneering but it still prevented my exhausted nerves from recharging. 

It would have been nice to have heard at assemblies or big gatherings of my faith when one was being encouraged to Pioneer the words that no one should feel obligated to do it just because they are single and have no ties and this is because Jehovah loves a cheerful giver plus some do not possess the strength for it. I am sure I never heard that. Mind you I used to volunteer behind the scenes cleaning toilets usually (not emptying portable ones; I could not do that) so missed talks. Pioneering can be a trap for the mentally ill to suffer from an exhaustion breakdown if they forget they can give it up any time they like. It seems that at  conventions of my religion they did not speak in a way to safeguard the mentally ill from doing it inappropriately for them. I think it must be fairly common. For example, in the congregation I was in in the 1960s a young girl there when she became older moved away from home to Pioneer in London and when it became hard going she should have returned home but instead her deranged mind made her believe that route would mean she was a failure and she was not having that making her  push herself on preaching ending in an exhaustion breakdown. Her mother told me her daughter was very ill from it for three weeks. It happened in the 1980s. Well, at least it failed to give her  brain damage. But two people in one congregation suffering from it must mean it is not a rare occurrence. Also, the man I used to accompany a lot in the ministry in the the early 1970s told me at the time that he Pioneered only because he had no excuse to do anything else which is the wrong reason to do it, so he was also mentally ill and could not think straight the same as me at the time. His father was the man who made me feel guilty when I said to him I was thinking of giving up a lot of preaching - see number 18 below. His sister and daughter were also mentally ill meaning he was extreme in his views because mental illness was in the genes, thus in my opinion he should never have been made an elder disseminating wrong advice sometimes, but he would have said the same thing to me even if he was not an elder. Years before elders were instigated in the congregation in the early 1970s he was asked to stand down from being in charge of the congregation i.e. congregation overseer, owing to such extreme views. Intelihealth reports on the number of mentally ill people in the States which is quite high. Therefore, the  Jehovah's Witnesses governing body takes this into account now when they encourage its members to do Pioneering as I have personally heard it at the meetings of my congregation over the telephone.

However, I believe I would have avoided my breakdown if I had read - from December 1970 - the following paragraph which appeared in the Watchtower magazine of April 15 1970 concerning how much preaching a J.W. is required to do; it would have given me the correct viewpoint thus making me do the amount I could cope with like I used to do. I was not an avid reader of the Watchtower publications unfortunately; it was really too painful for me to read anything, not being academically minded but instead a practical person working with my hands. Letters I wrote at this time were arduous to undertake and time consuming to compose with lots of crossing out:

"Questions That People Ask About Jehovah's Witnesses. How much time are Jehovah's witnesses required to devote in their house-to-house preaching? There is no set requirement. Actually, the time spent depends upon how one is motivated and the time he has available to preach. No compulsion is used. One does what one can. Many devote between ten and fifteen hours a month to calling on others to teach the Bible. Others devote as much as 100 to 150 hours to the organized search for those who desire to know more about God and his kingdom. None are paid for their share in this work; they serve because they love God and their fellowman." Watchtower magazine, April 15 1970, page 245.

Mind you, the phrases such as "one does what one can", "serve God whole souled" and "Christians do their utmost" and the Bible says slave for the Lord used to mislead me into doing more post 1970 considering I could not think properly to comprehend their correct meaning owing to increasing mental illness. I failed to realise my limitations and madly went beyond them and wore myself out preaching too much as I have said. Incidentally, in all the hundreds of hours I preached, I never directly made a convert. And yet I know of others who have made lots. This proves that I was a useless teacher and did not have my religion clear enough in my mind. Also, people may have sensed the faith was bogging me down from 1971 and it put them off joining it. My mental illness had made me unwittingly build my faith upon an unsound foundation but is healthier today, but reading about my faith to improve it is difficult considering my physical thinking difficulty caused by my condition which makes me unable to read at will or choose what I read about when I can read something. Sky TV's documentaries I watch can erode ones faith when they state things like the Greenland ice sheet is  tens of thousands of years old when the Bible story of Noah's flood would age it at 4,500 years. I firmly believe in God because I disbelieve we could make ourselves from nothing, and also because I believe I have been helped supernaturally by Him during my illness which prevented it from becoming unbearable.

I had also failed to realise that I should have taken out life insurance (and business insurance too - I was a self-employed window cleaner followed by house repairing but in the meantime for three months in 1971 I was a door to door salesman for the Betterware company selling house cleaning equipment in North Weald, Essex. Mental illness made me not realise that I was not skilled enough in house renovating. I detested all those jobs which were just means to an end ones to allow me to preach a lot. For two years I literally failed to realise I could give up window cleaning and get something else less arduous - I simultaneously did windows and Betterware but my window customers were getting angry at me much less frequent visits) to avoid burdening my parents with funeral expenses if I died, nor did I contribute anything towards my parent's mortgage, but they never asked me to pay it and it is possible I failed to think of giving them anything towards it anyway. They also let me pay less to them each week of my share of the house running expenses than I should have contributed but if they had asked me for my full share then it might have avoided my nervous breakdown because it would have meant me returning to full-time employment thus easing the strain I was under - I would then have been doing something I wanted to do. Thankfully, I did have the sense to get a National Health Insurance exemption certificate from the government owing to being a low wage earner. I was earning right up to the limit I was allowed, and this was also the income tax level and so I was not earning enough to become eligible to pay that tax.

(Incidentally, when I left full-time work and started self-employed part-time window cleaning, I earnt more money in two days than I had done in a five day week at Ozalid, Loughton, Essex - see photograph of my office.

I used to visit my grandmother about twice a week during this time, but I totally failed to think of taking her out for a jaunt in my 1960 red Triumph Herald even though she had given me money towards purchasing it months before I started working part-time. In fact, I cannot remember her ever getting into the car. With hindsight I think she must have been hinting she wanted a ride because she would say how nice the car looked outside when I visited her. Its registration number was 961 WML. I cannot remember if I sold the vehicle in 1990 or 1991. The reason for disposing of it was that I wanted the money and also seriously doubted if I would be well enough to drive again. Anyway, I would not want to go any distance in it considering it is not as safe in an accident as a modern jalopy. If I recover from this illness it will only be by some sort of medication.

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The author's 1960 Triumph Herald, circa 1989. He owned it from early 1970 until 1990 or 1991, and he has not been well enough to drive since the first week of December 1974.

I had kept my mental illness a secret from family and friends right up to December 1974, although my mother went to an elder of my congregation about a year before, reporting that something was wrong with me but that she 'could not put her finger on it'. However, he obviously concluded that owing to me appearing OK I must have been well thus he nor anyone else broached the subject with me including my mother. They should have asked me questions to establish how I was feeling, and whether I was preaching a lot under compulsion. However, they cannot be held to blame because they were not trained psychologists and so were ignorant to certain wiles of the human mind. Even if I had been asked if I wanted to do what I was doing or was I happy doing it I am certain I would have lied believing I was required to answer that way (I used to lie to people to be polite who came to see me saying it was nice to see them when it was not because I was a loner). Therefore, interrogators must be more specific in their questioning (but see item 25 below). Ask the subject to carefully think before replying. Get them to indicate on a scale of one to ten how happy they really are doing it all. Actually, I think all they need to be asked is are they doing the full-time preaching under compulsion. With mentally ill people, who are not in their right minds, nothing must be taken for granted. I shall give a list of signs further down this page which showed me to be mentally ill but which my friends failed to identify were such in the years up to 1974.

Incidentally, I did wake up enough in 1974 to work full-time at paying jobs for nine months, but not enough to realize I was mentally ill with exhausted nerves and should rest. I had some symptoms of schizophrenia e.g. madness and paranoia, but minus the voices and hallucinations, but I cannot identify what type of illness it was. A doctor at the Maudsley Hospital, S. London, identified it as autism called Asperger syndrome. Mind you in her report she incorrectly said that I had never worked so she did not have all of the facts to come to a diagnosis, but I did have for symptoms of it. A major two were not much common sense and an inability to make relationships. When one considers that one person in one hundred of the world's population is schizophrenic (illness of madness) - and, I think, it usually strikes in one's early twenties - then it seems to me that one in one hundred Christians will become seriously mentally impaired from it - through no fault of their own - so it is up to each well individual to look for subtle signs of it developing in others so that avoiding action can be taken to prevent them succumbing to an illness like mine. See Awake! article entitled Nervous Breakdown - Cure or Prevention? August 22, 1974, page 16 -19. It is a pity I basically hardly read the literature of my religion when I was becoming ill or before owing to being too busy and a lazy reader because if I had read that article then I would have avoided the breakdown owing to correctly diagnosing my symptoms thus instigating an escape route strategy such as easing up in all I was doing and trying not to worry. I also used to miss a lot of the talks at the annual mass assemblies of my religion a few years up to 1975 because I volunteered to help in their running.

From mid 1974 I had no bad conscience from working full-time (except for a short spell in November 1974), which means that a different strain - worry this time - took over to cause my breakdown at the end of that year - see item 2 below. However, I recall that I would still have suffered a nervous exhaustion event over the ministry in the summer of 1974 and gone unconscious suddenly if I had not tried to court the woman. The Watchtower magazine not long ago said that some Christians erroneously believe that they are only doing enough good works (preaching) when it is hurting them. Remember, stress makes the body ill, and it is a sin against God to unnecessarily damage ones body which God made i.e. showing disrespect for someone else's handiwork. Even if I was not a Christian I still would have been mentally ill but it would have been different in certain respects because the mentally ill develop their problems over whatever they are close to, and so I would have been intimate with something else; but I think I probably would not have worn myself out because I would have been doing all things for self and not madly voluntarily preaching.

For a run down on my past sexual difficulties and my religion please see Chapter 1.

The list of signs - but which were not always obvious to others - of my mental illness developing up to 1974:

1/ Preaching about my religion during work time when I should have been working. It was a form of stealing from ones employer which I failed to realise.

2/ From puberty at age eleven I was basically disinterested in the opposite sex, and also for the first time suddenly became desperately shy of young women and a loner, but I had male friends despite the latter except, that is, for the first two years into puberty when I had none. I was physically unable to make close relationships with male or females because it was too frightening for me, and so I used to run away from anyone who wanted to be a chum. However, loneliness, at the end of 1972, forced me to give up my part-time solitary window cleaning job in order to work with people.

If a sufferer of my mental illness were to fall in love when it was in its latter stages they would be unable to cope, it being the "last straw to  break the camel's back" causing an exhaustion breakdown because of being too terrified to enter into the relationship. This is what happened to me when I became smitten every single which with a coreligionist in mid 1974. I thought heaven had arrived. She is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. This obviously produced a high cortisol level, and this Daily Telegraph article says pretty women can be bad for ones health consequently. I became terrified of good looking females at puberty. Attending an all boys school for the first time at that time did not help either. My heart started to pound like a steam hammer when I saw her walk into the place on the morning I went to formally introduce myself at her Sunday morning Kingdom Hall meeting. I wanted to marry her but did not know if our interests would be compatible or not. When it came to making friends with the opposite sex I was  more like a fish in orbit rather than one out of water. Being an Asperger's syndrome* sufferer - autistic and unable to make relationships  - as I believe I was plus my psychiatric illness generated religious problems and low self esteem, all combined to increase the fear level I had of her to an intolerable level causing me to have to regretfully temporarily terminate the relationship after inviting her out once. I planned to try again later with her when I had solved my problems but failed to tell her of it. Up to then my levels of fear and of liking her were neck and neck making me run after her and then away analogous to repeatedly attempting to rescue someone from a burning building when the flames keep beating one back and then one suffers a breakdown from the trauma of waiting for them to die down. On the one and only date with her I actually panicked and lied saying I had no feelings for her which caused her acute disappointment until I added that no doubt we could get something going. I lied again saying I just wished to be a friend when I wanted to marry her. Colossians 3:9 says, "Do not be lying to one another." I used to "strain out gnats and gulp down camels." I was not mendacious on purpose and mental illness made me fail to correct it so cannot be held responsible. I was also thinking of things to say to put her off me. Consequently, before lying to her, right in the middle of dinner I told her about the ulcerative colitis I had suffered from for three years when a teenager, but it did not work. It is sad she never knew I liked her so much because it was mutual. Not that she would have been able to marry me because of my mental illness which I think would have put her off, especially with brain my damage too. However, some women will marry an ill person. After I had given her up she spoke to my mother on the phone asking why. My mother said, "I think he thinks he is not good enough for you." She was amazed and replied, "You don't think like that in the faith." My mother, like my father never asked me questions. They took everything for granted. A fatal error as I bottled things up.

Prior to our first meeting, five to six things had brought me to the brink of a nervous exhaustion event which exacerbated the situation. My religious problems also barred me from courting her in that I had worn out the nerves that one uses to believe ones religion to be true having accomplished it by forcing myself to believe it in order to undertake the extra Christian preaching activity against my will when beforehand my faith had only been strong enough to preach a little. I possessed no mind of my own and for three years up to the end of 1973 I had forgotten I could have discontinued the big preaching at any time. Therefore, it meant that trying to believe my religion was  too painful upon those raw nerves in order to court her without fear, and because I could not conscientiously accept my religion anymore it caused a bad conscience because she would expect me to me happy with my religion. I wanted to believe it, but re-reading the evidence to prove it true failed to register. It was like water off of a duck's back. I thought if she learnt of my religious problems she would dislike me particularly as I had never understood Christ's ransom sacrifice, a basic tenet of the faith i.e. how could a perfect man dying save the sinful human race; I thought she would think me mad and run off upon learning I had been publicly preaching about a subject I had known nothing about. It was only when I finally convinced myself I understood it that I started to improve during the nervous exhaustion breakdown in December 1974 because my exhausted brain was then able to start recharging itself owing to no more worry draining its fuel more quickly than its replacement. Before that the anxiety was draining the brain more making the world around me become progressively visually darker. Goodness knows what would have happened if the worry had continued.

The lessened intensity of those emotions after stopping seeing her in August 1974 still caused the breakdown in three and a half months and it was either a new to medical science or an unknown to science type meaning that it could have happened to others but has gone undetected. It is very easy to acquire brain damage from it if one does not rest the nerves and so uses them for too long. In my case it was from listening to speech and walking, and one other maybe from speaking.

Also, my repressed libido  hampered making the relationship. 

Incidentally, in late February 1975 my respiration temporarily stopped from the excitement I experienced when she came to visit me at home after I had  just been made worse by a week of the antidepressant Dothiepin when I was an inpatient at Wanstead Hospital, E. London. The emotion interfered with the extra nerve damage from the drug resulting in the failed respiration. I did not feel breathless and it restarted when I deliberately calmed down possibly after more than one minute of it being stopped.

She came to see me one more time some weeks later at home when I was on weekend leave from Claybury mental hospital but then declined to come anymore but requested she be informed how I was progressing which we failed to do except when my sister happened to see her a few times from 1978. Even then I think I had not informed anyone in the family how I really felt about her so she would still have been in ignorance of my true feelings towards her. On her last visit she asked me what caused the breakdown but I was too frightened to say it was over her so I replied that it was everything which was true in a way but she should have gone away knowing it was over her. I actually would have had a breakdown in July 1974 over the Christian ministry if I had not attempted to court her - I would have gone unconscious actually on the morning I went to formally introduce myself at her Sunday morning Kingdom Hall meeting - but instead of that I had three and a half extra months worrying about the woman and being wide awake so to speak. I had written to her mother in 1986 but I discovered years later that she had failed to receive the letter.

My mother not long before she died stated that courting was the most natural thing in the world. I replied it was for her but its difficulty "blew my head off."

I spoke to her mother at a convention of my religion in November 1975 at Leyton swimming baths, E. London, but I immediately fled the place when told she was there. Even if I had been well enough to attend any of them since I would have been unable to go in case she was there, I was so afraid of her despite still wanting to wed her. Whether or not I could face her now is an unknown quantity. She is married now anyway. I was in love with her Audrey Hepburn (the late movie actress) shaped eyes and if I had seen those coming at me fifty meters away at an assembly I would have immediately been off in the opposite direction.

Matchmakers must be careful before doing their stuff in case one or both of the parties is unable to hack love.

I think the regular chiropractic adjustments I had from May 1971 until 1976 improved my mind and so made me want company with others. Also, likely the potent nerve food black molasses I consumed at the same time helped by nourishing my nerves that were deficient in zinc and vitamin B 6 and which were discovered at the Biolab, London, in 1985. Starved nerves cause mental illness. I am of the firm conviction that the chiropractic was also responsible for turning me from feeling like an insignificant rusty machine into a well oiled brainy one, and with an improvement to my self-esteem but not enough to negotiate having a female friend in 1974 when my religious problems were simultaneously at play. Up to around Spring 1974 I had disliked reading, but as literally as quick as a bolt of lightning I acquired the urge to do study. Mnemonics (an amazingly simple technique to improve memory), which I also learnt for the first time around then, also improved self-esteem. Unfortunately, because I was becoming exhausted, this intense desire to learn only lasted for a couple of weeks. Another patient of my chiropractor told me they experienced the same but theirs continued. Before I received chiropractic I had felt I was walking awkwardly, especially in front of young women, and my hands which were not dexterous became blue/red whenever they became exposed to cold weather. All this was cured by chiropractic together with my crooked head which used to lean on one side when conversing. I think most people could benefit from the treatment and not just the ones suffering from painful backs. Incidentally, my walking has regressed to getting on to how it used to be owing to a lower back injury sustained in 1985 which has re-compressed the leg nerves. Chiropractic works by relieving pressure upon nerves between vertebra improving nerves' signal strength analogous to releasing ones foot from off a hose pipe. Incidentally, chiropractic has improved the discomfort of my lower back injury to an acceptable level and I can recommend it for back pain. However, I do not think it will totally cure me considering the large amount of treatments I have already had for it but when I was attending regularly, sometimes I had no pain at all afterwards for a while. I shall need to go occasionally to keep it in check. I get a clicking there when I exercise my back. One psychiatrist in hospital in September 1978 when I was an inpatient remarked that my spine was in good shape which I know was owing to chiropractic but I refused to tell her because of speaking difficulty but I could have forced it out.

I am wondering if the chiropractic treatment enabled me to have the unusual nervous exhaustion in December 1974 making me push myself on further into exhaustion than normally happens. Plus as I have said I was still taking black molasses and brewer's yeast which would have improved the mind. I also had a lot of chiropractic work on my neck vertebra which relieved pressure from off the nerves there which affect the mind. I understand that exhausted people normally have their minds go blank which protects their brains from injury, but mine kept awake right up to the breakdown and during it in December 1974 apart from its first two days which could have been blank. Incidentally, it did go blank for three consecutive weekends in April 1971 when I was first on the verge of a conventional nervous breakdown but it did not make me realise I was mentally ill. I avoided a breakdown then by being forced to do less preaching in the ministry the following month owing to having to spend one day weekly travelling to the chiropractor a 45 kilometre journey across London.

3/ From either 1971 or 1972 I think I must have given the false impression that I was lazy and did not want to work owing to usually arriving a few minutes late for the 9.30 am field service arrangements (a meeting of Christians inside a house prior to departing to preach from house to house). The reason for this tardiness was not indolence but my allergies that caused me to awake in the mornings feeling unnaturally very tired (this is because the body is fighting with the allergies all night and so it gets no rest - the words of Dr. Stephen Davies, orthomolecular physician, Biolab, London, but I think they also have a narcotic effect too). I was also pushing myself hard to do the large amount of preaching but was unable to thrust hard enough to make those early appointments on time.

4/ A deterioration in reading and writing skills. In my previous congregation of Woodford, Essex, I had publicly read from the platform the usual one article from the Watchtower magazine in the weekly congregation study of it on Sundays at the Kingdom Hall (the main local meeting place of Jehovah's Witnesses), but in the Epping, Essex, congregation I was in from November 1970 to 1974, I, consequently, did not qualify to read it, although I cannot remember if I read it or not at the beginning of my stay there. From 1967 when I started work, I would not have been able to write a letter if I had been asked to compose one at work, and it got worse over the years until, that is, after I had six doses of electro convulsive therapy (ECT) in Severalls Hospital in 1976, whereupon as soon as the Limbitrol injured nerves had healed enough for me to physically write again after the summer relapses of the illness, I could compose one as easily as falling off a log despite the physical thinking difficulty from the illness. What might have also helped was being unable to speak which meant I had to desperately communicate my plight, of being misdiagnosed, by writing.

5/ From 1971, I could only spend two minutes of my allotted six minutes giving an occasional talk in the Kingdom Hall in the weekly meeting of the Theocratic Ministry School, where individuals give lectures and demonstrations to improve preaching skills and Bible knowledge. I used to prematurely end my talks because I could not think of anything else to say. I would also always leave the preparation to the late afternoon of the evening I was going to give the talk which was not enough time to get it into my head. Once, I had to give a talk explaining Jesus' ransom sacrifice, and the same thing happened because I did not understand this fundamental tenet of Christianity, tut tut. An elder afterwards asked me why I had finished the talk early, but I cannot remember exactly what I replied.

6/ I sometimes appeared to people to lack sensible judgement. In about 1972 my mother once observed me find half a penny on the ground (the lowest value coin at one two hundredth part of one pound sterling) and immediately try to hand it in as lost property to the warden of the caravan park where we were on holiday in Devon or Cornwall; the astonished lady told me to go away with it. I thought it would be stealing if I had kept it. Deep down I think I also did it to enjoy a thrill of people seeing how stupid I was. As far as I recall, my mother never said anything to me about the incident. Also, during this time I refused to use a certain spoon that lived in my kitchen draw at home because I thought it would be supporting a religion that was not mine owing to it having imprinted upon it the words Ilford Lane U. M. Church. I used to "strain out gnats and gulp down camels" i.e. I worried about things which were infinitesimally important and made errors in big things.

7/ From either 1971 or 1972, whenever my friend had been doing all the talking to householders for two days during the times that I accompanied him in the ministry preaching from house to house, it temporarily dried up the knowledge I had about my religion so that I was unable to verbally preach for a while.

8/ From 1971 I would sometimes be undecided whether to go out to work, do the ministry, or work in the house. This would make me several times in relatively quick succession change from my working clothes to my best clothes; and it was a symptom of my reluctance to do what I was doing.

9/ I first started to suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder at the beginning of 1969 when I was promoted from office boy at Chappells Music, New Bond St., London, to a bookkeeping type position in the accounts department where I had to always check my arithmetical calculations and recording of account numbers to avoid making mistakes. In late Secondary School I had been literally bottom of the class in mathematics which meant I chose an inappropriate job. From 1971/72 this developed to whenever I was going out I would have to go back into the house several times to keep confirming that the gas was switched off. I also had it when doing window cleaning from November 1970 which made me wash the windows longer than was necessary and expend unnecessary energy in order to earn my money in the allotted time, and I used to allow just over two days per week for window cleaning. I detested the job and used to hope it would rain on work days thus preventing me doing it. Amazingly, for two years I literally forgot that I could give it up and do something else. I even carried it on albeit more slowly to the chagrin of my customers when I sold Betterware goods for three months from house to house in North Weald, Essex, in 1972 during the miner's strike and associated neighbourhood power cuts or brown outs.

10/ When I was once praised by an elder in my congregation who was conversing with me, around September 1974 I think it was, I reacted oddly enough to something he said for him to later bring it up with a relative of mine, but regrettably not with me. I had reacted like a breathing goldfish silently mouthing three times in quick succession the letter O and looked away from him. This was because it was the only way I could continue to repress my emotions which for sexual reasons I had done continuously and unconsciously since October 1968. For me to be able to do that my sexual emotions had previously worked at an abnormally low level of strength owing to severe zinc deficiency discovered in 1985. One of the reasons I did  it was that mental illness had made me incorrectly believe it to be sinful for unmarried Christians to experience any sort of sexual emotion desire or pleasure and that they were only reserved for married couples, thus I switched them off 100% for six years up to the 1974 breakdown but failed to realise I was doing the repression and also, amazingly, never remembered  I was not thinking of sex despite leading a mad overly moral life as described further down. The repression was a symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder. I did experience a few seconds of sexual desire in October 1974 before I unconsciously squashed it out of existence again. However, the "dam" finally broke during the nervous breakdown in December 1974 when the brain became sufficiently exhausted and weakened enough to make me become aware of sex again.

11/ I did not look people in the eyes whenever I spoke to them because of embarrassment, and I could not concentrate on doing both things at once either. A friend of mine told me in 1977 when he visited me in the Maudsley Hospital, that I used to not look at people when I spoke to them. I think I also smiled a lot when conversing with people, because I wanted them to like me. I could not bear people to see me with a long face. Consequently, I think I could never have been an actor on stage having to look forlorn. I admire thespians who have such self control.

12/ In 1973 I appeared to be so tense to one friend that he did a short, floppy dance instructing me to relax, but I took no notice.

13/ My friends saw me do the following: In August 1974 when on holiday in Scotland with three of them, I dangerously ran down the side of a rocky/grassy mountainside not seeing its foolhardiness. I also did not realize the stupidity of standing perilously close to the edge of a cliff when I was once taking a photograph of the waves far below. On another occasion I blithely hung out a few feet above the calm sea from a post which caused trepidation to my pals. After all, I had been a window cleaner and roof repairman unafraid of heights, and from 1971 to 1972 I had once a month cleaned, with a friend, a six storey office complex - Moodies, in Shoreditch, London, a financial company - at first getting out onto the windowsills without a safety harness!

Self-employed people must be asked if they have thought of getting business insurance. If they have not, then it means they must be mentally ill, because normal people would automatically know that tradesmen must be indemnified.

14/ In the early 1970s, when I used to go to my friend's house for lunch sometimes, I believe I never thought of reimbursing him for the food I received - his parents were pensioners, and he was a very low wage earner like me. I also never even thought of taking tea, and cake ingredients to my grandmother when I used to see her about twice a week and which she always fed to me. However, I used to buy her a bag of sweets sometimes or once a week, but I cannot remember how frequently it was now.

15/ We had to have my terrific dog, Patch, put down by a vet in the latter part of 1973 when she was eleven years of age (see photograph of her in chapter 8) . My mother told me, after I had become ill, that she thought it strange I had never mentioned the dog once it had gone. The reason for that was my illness made me immediately forget about the animal.

16/ I told an elder - whom I asked to give me a Bible study in September 1974 as I had felt my conviction that my religion was true was slipping away from me - that Jehovah had become just like a black blob inside my head, but he failed to see its significance and so never questioned it. I had worn the nerves out that one uses to accept one's religion owing to my faith not having been strong enough to do the large amount of preaching that I had been doing, and so I forced myself to believe it enough so as to do it. It had only been strong enough to enable me to do a little preaching. I got to the stage where whenever I was preaching to people, I could basically not tell them things which would convince them my religion was the true one; this was because I felt afraid if I told them. I skirted round the things I should have said. Eventually, I was unable to make a return visit on anyone I had earlier met in the ministry for the first time who showed a particular type of interest in my religion. This was because I sensed that they would detect my lack of faith in God, and how little I really knew about the teachings of my religion; but I only remember it occurring twice. One of these people happened to see me filling my car with petrol at a garage in Theydon Bois, near Epping, Essex, and so he walked across the forecourt up to me and asked in an enquiring, somewhat perplexed tone of voice, when was I going to see him and his wife again. I never called back. As it was, I hoped other people would not ask me what was in the Awake! and Watchtower magazines I was offering them to read, because I did not know what was in them owing to being too busy to read them. I disliked reading in general.

17/ On one morning in October 1974 the tiredness generated from the exhaustion made me unable to get out of bed to go out to work until the afternoon to my full-time factory engineering job at British Matthews, Epping, Essex (I was a fitter's mate learning to construct beer barrel conveyance systems for breweries). On another morning, I painfully complained to my mother that I was so tired, but she shrugged it off and told me I would feel better when I got to work, so I went. If only she had picked up on it. Mentally ill people can do what others tell them to do as I always did, the ill individual not realising they are too ill to do it either.

18/ An elderly and eccentric person in my congregation - who has since passed away - gave me well meant but incorrect advice when in about 1972 I told him I was thinking of stopping doing the full-time ministry. He said just one sentence in a tone of voice which made me feel guilty about discontinuing it, and so I carried on with it. I suppose he could have misunderstood and thought I meant all of the ministry, but I cannot recall exactly how I worded it, but I can remember most of the sentence I uttered. However, with respect to him, he should not have said that to anyone, let alone to an ill person; someone normal would think that what he said was inappropriate. Eccentric people give peculiar advice. A normal person would not even have to seek guidance about whether they should stop it or not; they would know instinctively what to do. As the Bible says, Elders know that they must be careful in the advice they disseminate because they are imperfect like everyone else and can make mistakes or misjudge a situation. They must be able to "read between the lines" when spoken to by someone who is keeping their growing mental illness a secret.

19/ There came a point that whenever I was going out to preach Christianity, it made the greenery of the countryside look dark green, but it appeared light green whenever I was out doing something different to that. This was the effect of the strain the large amount of ministry had upon my exhausted brain. When I drove from my house in the left-hand direction, for the first 1.8 kilometres I would sometimes not remember doing it and would feel tempted to retrace that part of the journey to see if I had caused any accidents. That is the direction I would go to work in and I would go preaching in the opposite direction, but I do not remember it happening at any other time, apart from when I had the three blank weekends in April 1971 when right upon the verge of a conventional nervous breakdown from exhaustion when I must have driven.

20/ I failed to realise my inconsistency in walking out of the room every time a swimming costume clad female appeared on the television screen because I believed it to be it to be indecent, when at the same time I swam amongst them at the local public pool and beach. During a relative's wedding reception in September 1974, the dancing women disturbed me whenever they raised a leg above the floor approximately 20 inches or 51 cm, a licentious amount in my crazy rule book. An immediate vacation of myself from the room was required each time it occurred to avoid agreeing with the lewd behaviour.

Social phobia prevented me from dancing solo in the midst of people except I could do country dancing I think. Most of my social phobia has abated although I felt somewhat shy attending a Kingdom Hall meeting in October 2003 for the first time in three years which meant I stayed at the back afterwards instead of mixing in the main hall. I believe my social phobia was the result of vitamin B6 deficiency, and possibly zinc deficiency too, both of  which have been corrected with supplements obtained on prescription since 1985 when the Biolab discovered that Dr. Vicky Rippere's (since retired, Institute of Psychiatry, London) doses of them were not high enough, but to be fare she had no access to testing equipment for the three years I was on them to establish the correct dosage. 

21/ If a Christian makes an excuse to avoid attending a relative's funeral who was of a different religion to theirs, it could be that the real reason is being too frightened to be there owing to not knowing how much their religion allows them to take part in the funeral service of a different religion and too lazy to find out; the Bible forbids Christians to worship in another religion. I did exactly this once, in the early 1970s. I also had the identical trouble with weddings of relatives in Churches but I did used to attend them, but refused to stand up when the vicar asked everyone to do so during the service in case I was taking part in false religious worship. Soon, though, to avoid making a spectacle of myself I would sit at the rear of the Church instead of amongst the crowd. My other relatives of the same religion as me would stand up and sit down with everyone else. I eventually learnt it was OK to stand up with everyone else at the appointed times in funeral services led by Vicars. I failed to stand during my father's funeral in 1999 only because it was too much trouble to put the spike of my shooting stick onto a pad to not mark the floor re. my voluntary movement trouble. I knew dad used to believe my limited standing problem, so he would not mind. I sat upon it though during my mother's funeral in January 2002 when the song was sung because I had fitted a rubber bung to its end by then. 

22/ Exhausted nerves can do funny things to the mind. I reached the stage where I developed a "drug addiction" with the Bible. Whenever I had not read it for several days, increasing panic enveloped me until I had read it. 

23/ In the early 1970s, I developed a feeling which made me zig zag about in my preaching territory which wasted petrol. This was that whenever I suddenly felt compelled to make a return visit on a person whom I had previously found interested in my religion, I had to call on them immediately as I erroneously thought it was Jehovah's way of informing me to do it at that moment because it meant they would then be in the most receptive frame of mind to listen. I should have instead said to myself, "I shall do that visit tomorrow instead considering I will be out that way then. If I delayed doing one of those visits, my eyes would literally sting me from guilt.

24/ From about 1971 I felt that Jehovah was controlling my movements or actions. In late 1974 I rebelled against it and wanted to make my own errors. Also, somewhere in my mind, I had to push myself on and endure a nervous breakdown in order to have a good Spring clean to eradicate all of my funny ways. From the late 1960s I developed the feeling that I would fall down exhausted before Armageddon arrived (God's war to end wickedness which Jehovah's Witnesses have always claimed, since the nineteenth century, is not far off from occurring). Well, it happened to me.

25/ In the early 1970s I used to make decisions by how I felt instead of using my reasoning, and that is because the latter refused to work. I told a friend at the time that I made decisions like that, but he never said anything in reply.

26/ If a Christian is observed selling (or smashing up) his second-hand possessions because he claims they are demon possessed and are making him ill, or depressed as in my case in November, it demonstrates the individual is suffering from a severe psychiatric delusion. They must be taken to see a doctor immediately. However, a warning: once one has consulted a psychiatrist, one has seriously reduced or destroyed ones chances of a career owing to the stigma of mental illness.

27/ When I was at work in 1968, before I was baptised as one of Jehovah's Witnesses in 1969, mental illness made me not realise I was leading a double life. When I was leading the Christian life I would forget about my somewhat unbecoming worldly life, and vice versa. A person in my office called me a hypocrite over it, and I could not see what they meant, and when I asked why they thought it they replied that I must know, so I was not told. If they had spelt it out I wonder if it would have woken up my split mind and made me realize I had been leading a double life and was mentally ill.

If, later, up to 1974, I had been told that I was mentally ill and the reasons for it, I believe I would have agreed with it and so been on the road to recovery. However, for that to have worked, my interrogator would have needed to be a skilled psychologist because I never let anyone know how I was feeling, nor what thoughts and emotions I had been repressing as I was unaware I was doing it, as I have said. Only a doctor would have known what questions to ply me with. If I had been made aware I was mentally ill in the later stages of the illness in 1974, I am wondering if it would have caused me to go immediately unconscious, and so I think, in this respect, I can warn budding amateur psychologists to be careful when questioning why someone is acting strangely.

Tip 1: Do not always believe the utterances of mentally ill person because extreme fear caused by their condition coupled with not having proper control over their mind, can make them lie, even Christians and that is what I did near to my breakdown once.

Tip 2: Ask a thirteen year old Christian if they know how to spell Jehovah. At that age I did not know the name ended with the letter "h", despite having attended the Kingdom Hall from an early age and studying the Bible. I went to an ordinary school (Secondary Modern) and I am sure I got three grade 2 CSE qualifications (below a GCE pass) in my final exams including English, plus lower ones in other subjects.

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