Friday, January 11, 2008

In case my sister-in-law decides to read my blog . . .

I feel like I should explain why I have this blog. So, Heather, this is for you!

I decided that I needed to blog for a few reasons. Reason number one: I felt like I needed to spend more time writing in order to improve my craft. Not that blogs are all that arty, but, for me, the more I work at writing the better I am articulating myself.

Reason number two: I'm not in therapy at the moment and when I write, about anything really, it relieves my mental pressure. It makes me feel less lonely and more alive--both of which combat my depression.

Reason number three (and this is the big one): I feel like LDS women, and men I suppose, are still reticent to talk about depression as a chronic illness and a fact of life. I registered this blog after having a conversation with my sister about a young mother in her ward. This particular woman, let's call her Molly (as in Molly Mormon), is currently having marital problems, financial problems, and is really struggling keeping up with her life. After they chatted for awhile my sister asked Molly if she felt she was depressed. My sister suggested she might need a little professional help to get through her current struggles. Molly laughed and said something to the effect of, "There is no way I'm going to be that girl." When asked what she meant by this Molly said that she didn't want to be one of those Mormon women who had to pop a pill every morning because they couldn't deal with life.

Now how the conversation went from there, I'm not really sure. Maybe Molly really wasn't depressed and didn't need help. If so, good for her. But what struck me about their conversation was that even if Molly had needed help, she was unwilling to get it simply because of some nebulous, negative stereotype. What exactly does she think it means to have depression? If she knew me, would she think less of me for having an illness and accepting help? And, what if she really does need professional help, whether in the form of medicine or therapy (which pretty much everyone can benefit from)? Is she unwilling to get it because it would, well, mean asking for help, and good LDS women don't do that?

Unfortunately, I don't think the young mommy in my sister's ward is alone in her perception. And that's why I started this blog. Maybe, by adding my voice to the discussion, the stereotype would start to fall apart. Maybe, other people would start to talk too. Maybe we could all start to offer and accept meaningful assistance when it was truly needed. Maybe being depressed wouldn't be so bad after all.

Of course, for all that to happen, I need some readers. But that's a whole other kettle of fish!


Charlotte said...

Well maybe someday Molly will find your blog. And it's not just depression I think. Our whole LDS "can-do, look-on-the-brightside, independent" attitude pretty much frowns on all mental illness as a form of weakness.

Lura said...

I just found out about your blog tonight, and I just wanted to let you know how much I look up to you! You are not only an incredibly talented writer, but I love your honesty and faith. Thanks for the blog- I love it!