It’s a common phenomenon that needs no further introduction: People who turn their back on Orthodox Judaism are often faced with depression. This is easily understandable, as they are often lonely and are left to their own devices.
However, they are often told that they brought their depression on themselves by distancing themselves from God and Klal Yisrael. It’s they who are messing up their lives and God who knows where they’ll end up (drugs, suicide, etc.). In short: It’s all their fault!
Depression consists of a denial of one’s own emotional reactions. This denial begins in the service of an absolutely essential adaptation during childhood and indicates a very early injury. There are many children who have not been free, right from the beginning, to experience the very simplest of feelings, such as discontent, anger, rage, pain, even hunger – and, of course, enjoyment of their own bodies.
Religion is all about denying true feelings, redirecting emotions and controlling the natural child within. Laws are ruling the orthodox person’s every step, even in the bathroom (how much you are allowed to uncover yourself, with which finger not to wipe yourself off, etc.).
Orthodox Jews are told what to read, what to believe, what to think and what to feel, what to wear and what to eat. Everything else is kfirah.
No wonder that many people have the inner need to rebel! To put it a little more blunt: if an Orthodox person did not rebel against OJ during their youth, I doubt it that they were really given the opportunity to experience their youth. After all, who wants to voluntarily let his inner self die?
The critical voices that so conveniently blame the victims also conveniently forget that people like them may have been the root cause for the heretics’ depression.
And that by ostracizing them from their communities, they are standing idly by the blood of their (former) brothers.