Skip to comments.Viewpoint: Dispelling the darkness [One BYU student recounts her battle with depression]
Posted on 02/06/2013 1:04:13 PM PST by Colofornian
I had my first panic attack somewhere around the age of 12...
I thought...I would grow out of such episodes over time...As I got older, the attacks and periods of depression only grew more frequent and intense...
For those inexperienced with depression, its not simply a few bad days or fleeting moments of unhappiness, but a constant, oppressive feeling of hopelessness. It interferes with your day-to-day life. It was difficult to focus or do anything. Some days it would take me hours to get out of the house simply because I couldnt summon the will to do anything. Several times a week, I would spontaneously begin sobbing; sometimes devolving into a curled ball of tears as I waged and inner battle I thought I could never win. My grades and personal relationships suffered. Eventually, I worried about my safety from my own self as I became plagued with destructive and even suicidal thoughts.
...I share because with all of the advancements weve made in being understanding, there are still too many stigmas associated with depression and anxiety, particularly in Utah and the LDS culture.
Utah has often had one of the highest rates of anti-depressant use in the country. Some have blamed these numbers on LDS culture...
Many times clinical depression is the result chemical imbalances in the brain...There is no reason to be ashamed of depression or the treatment. Shame and fear only compound depression, making it more isolating...
Depression thrives in isolation...
Even in depression, there is hope.
I have been in counseling for about a year. Two months ago, I began taking a low dose of Prozac. Both have helped immensely...
(Excerpt) Read more at universe.byu.edu ...
Depression is never anything easy to fight through: Dealing with past "issues" that have been stuffed. Frustration, often relationally-based. Emptiness. Loss of hope. Feeling overwhelmed without the needed energy. And then the repetitive thought cycles and feelings of isolation, and for so many Mormon women -- just the opposite -- always "on display" in the "worthiness" comparison "game."
There is help.
Christian counselors are out there. And the true Christian Gospel is one of hope, empowerment, and is anti-legalistic.
About three years, ago, a Truth in Love campaign included billboards in their outreach toward Lds women, particularly overstressed and depressed Lds women. (See RELIGION: Group targets LDS women)
Per this linked article from the Rexburg Standard Journal (Rexburg, Idaho is "base" for BYU-Idaho): Cares preaches that God's forgiveness and blessings are available to everyone for free if they simply accept the "good news of God," that "we are already perfect and worthy in God's sight." So the question is, are Mormon women actually plagued with guilt and stress because of their religion...? The Speaking the Truth in Love campaign is different from many anti-Mormon groups in that most typically seek to argue or dispute facts regarding Mormon history or doctrine...the Truth in Love campaign seeks to fellowship and love Mormons into accepting their views that Mormonism will lead to "eternal death" rather than "eternal life." One reason for the change in tactic may be because of recent scientific studies by Mental Health America and Express Scripts, a national drug distribution company. The report ranks Utah as the most depressed state in the country and shows that Utah residents are prescribed antidepressant drugs at twice the national average. Researchers have drawn conclusions that the large LDS population was partially to blame for the high levels of depression in the state.
I provided links to first two headlines below...plus several others [wherever you see "source headline"]:
* Two Studies Find Depression Widespread in Utah
* Utah leads the nation in rates of depression
* And referenced where Utah has the most anti-depressant use, especially in women: Study Finds Utah Leads Nation in Antidepressant Use. Some point to the pressures of Mormonism, especially for women, to explain the surprising findings. [Source urls: http://www.usu.edu/psycho101/lectures/chp2methods/study.html http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/06/03/eveningnews/main510918.shtml ]
Other related depression and suicide Utah anecdotes:
* Utah, which a 2007 report said had the country's highest rate of nonmedical painkiller abuse. Source headline: Utah has new prescription for painkiller problem [Original link...click on first link above for linkage to actual article]
And depression is not only a female issue in Utah:
* Utah leads the nation in suicides among men aged 15 to 24: As of 5 years ago: Utah leads the nation in suicides among men aged 15 to 24...Utah also has the 11th highest suicide rate 14.3 deaths per 100,000 people in the nation over all age groups, according to the most recent data from the American Association of Suicidology. Source headline: Deadly taboo: Youth suicide an epidemic that many in Utah prefer to ignore [Original link -- click on first link above for linkage to actual article]
* Utah has the country's highest suicide rate for males between the ages of 14 and 25. That grim statistic is given a name and a troubled family in Carol Lynn Pearson's impassioned Facing East, now at the International City Theatre in Long Beach. Source url: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2285528/posts
* For more than 10 years, 15- to 34-year-old males in Utah have had suicide rates markedly higher than those seen nationally. In fact, in the early to mid-1990s, suicide was the number one cause of death among 25- to 44-year-old men in the state and the second-leading cause of death among men aged 15 to 24. Source url: http://www.adherents.com/largecom/lds_LowSuicideRate.html
Now, this article actually says being active Lds "helps" in comparing rates. But this and another study I saw actually says when you compare the suicide rates for active Lds, inactive or less-active Lds, and non-Lds, the middle category is by far the highest:
In addition, per this article the risk of suicide among males aged 15 to 19 was three times higher among the less active church members than among their active peers, but the rate among the active youth was comparable to the national suicide rate.
So...this article not only says suicide risk is 3x higher among less active Lds than active Lds (among 15-19 yo), but that the suicide rate for active Lds 15-19 yo is no different than the national suicide rate!!!
One point that can be drawn from the above is that Mormonism is no barrier to the suicide rate for teens, and in fact, jeopardizes more teens (the less active ones)!
It includes a mention on how so many Lds women feel they are constantly "on display" in the "toxic perfectionism" comparison "game."
If people would just cheer up there would probably be less depression
suicide risk is 3x higher among less active Lds
People who accept responsibility for their own actions tend to have higher suicide rates than those who blame somebody else.
There is a reason suicides are very high in responsibility taking cultures like the Japanese, the American Indian and Mormons and very low in blame somebody else cultures like those in Obama strongholds. However, I'll take my very remote risks of suicide in the former versus my relatively high chances of being murdered in the later.
I know, I was there.
I once was lost but now I'm found, was blind (in more ways than one) but now I see.
Jesus ALONE saves.
Colofornian! How’s my favorite anti-LDS knee-jerker?
This article is from an lds university.
Doin’ well, Tep...
The real Jesus loves you!
Perverted logic. (But, hey, it's the "V" man, right?)
Gangbangers have a higher "cide" rate, period...[When you combine being murder victims...murder perps...and suicide]
Ya just gotta decide which sides of the "cide" you're gonna zero in on, hey "V" man?
Looks like Colo is fine, back on the job of exposing the LDS...
(I’ve seen other stories as reflected in what you attempted to link to these past 3-4 yrs...your link doesn’t show a specific article, tho)
That's Mormon apologists for you...They want to slough it off all upon non-Mormons!!!!
Sorry, Lds. You can't have 60% of a state's population; articles like this one and the Jan. 31, 2013 DesNews article featuring a study of 20 such Lds depressed women...and not have Mormons highly contributing to that #1 state rating.
Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 6:1 KJV.
Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. Matthew 6:1 NIV.
Could 150 years of intermarriages explain some of the depression?
Not sure...worth investigating...
For all interested in the long-term effects of intermarrying amidst a limited gene pool within smaller Mormon communities, see:
It discusses Nephritis/Alport's Syndrome...
Per Walker, citing former BYU History prof Michael Quinn: The hierarchy children are from the elite first families of Mormonism and these families started polygamy in America. Nearly all the Mormon founding families were relatives, so the first polygamists enjoyed relations to different degrees when the divine experiment began. The Twelve Apostles of Mormonism then acted to increase this familial relationship by marrying other relatives until in 1877, at the end of Brigham Youngs reign as Mormon Prophet and King, the polygamous hierarchy became l00% interrelated. D. Michael Quinn, former Brigham Young University Professor, states The Mormon practice of polygamy enabled men to marry daughters, nieces, cousins, granddaughters and former wives of other General Authorities.  Did this practice affect my family and other Mormon pioneer families adversely, possibly even in other momentous ways?
Good question to ask...
Oh...and Walker mentions how when polygamy was being prosecuted in the 1880s and when it went underground in the 1890s and 1900s, the children of lesser known plural wives were oft' kept in the dark about their genetic kinship.
Hence, some may have wound up marrying blood relatives without even any realization of that!
Reading your comments is making me depressed. We are in the end times. A lot of people are depressed. Just look at what’s happening in the world.
Can't Monson rein in those renegades at Deseret?
What good is a newspaper owned by the 'church' if it spits out non-faithbuilding articles like this?
Then be WARNED!
To continue to read THIS reply will make you even FURTHER depressed!
They own stock in a pharmecutical company?
If HISTORY has any bearing on the matter:
Along with drinking alcohol, Joseph Smith sold, at the formerly Mormon-owned store called Zions Cooperative Mercantile, tea, coffee, and tobaccoall forbidden under the Word of Wisdom. On December 22, 1841, eight years after the Word of Wisdom was put in place, Joseph records that 13 wagons of groceries arrived at the new store, delivering, among other things, tea and coffee (History of the Church, 4:483). Also George Albert Smith remarked, We are doing a great business in tea, coffee and tobacco in the Co-operative Store (October 7, 1873, Journal of Discourses 16:238; also cited in Donna Morleys, A Christian Womans Guide to Understanding Mormonism, p. 223, Note #13).