Boy, am I riled up! My sister pointed me to an article on abcnews.com. Talk about your stereotypes!
Wait, before I get any further I want to say that I am not in any way expressing frustration with Wendy, the woman in the article. I am proud of her and moved by her willingness to share what is obviously one of the most difficult experiences a person can go through. I applaud her for getting the help that she needs and for having the courage to go against her family. Wendy (not that there's any chance you will read this, but if you do), you go girl!
Now, back to my anger. Point number one: That journalist is a hack! M over on the Entreblog does an excellent deconstruction of the article and for anyone who is tempted to take the article at face value, read his post before you come to any conclusions.
Point number two: Why is it assumed that all depressed people automatically take issue with the Church? As it glosses over in the abcnews piece, people who actively attend church have lower rates of depression. Why would that automatically be different if you are LDS?
Point number three: Why does our American culture insist on making depression a two dimensional story? Depression isn't just about sadness and suicide. It's about a fundamental disconnect between our emotional selves and our physical selves--whether that comes about through a biological/hormonal problem or through a specific life circumstance. How that disconnect plays out is different in every person affected by the illness. And until we start understanding the individual stories, we will never understand the phenomenon as a whole. That article did little to educate readers. It simply took advantage of people's ignorance about the LDS church and a serious health issue.
Anyway, Utah has been "the most depressed state in the nation" since 2002 so I don't think these studies are saying anything new. I do think, though, that the red flag has been raised and we should start educating and supporting each other, especially in our wards and stakes. I hope my blog helps a little with that. I hope it at least starts a couple conversations--especially about that article and all its lies.