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Do fundies ever get depressed?


flyawaystray

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I've recently started watching 19KAC. Michelle seems to be happy and cheerful 24/7, as well as some of the girls. I know if the kids aren't perfect in their parents eyes, they get shipped out to ALERT or Journey to The Heart. This got me thinking about mental illness and fundies.

Nobody is happy all the time, I think it's rather impossible. Michelle is really creepy in that regard and I don't know what to make of it. I guess if she feels down, she just pretends to be happy for Jim Boob's sake. It reminds me of Stepford Wives.

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Fun fact: Certain mental illnesses (like anorexia) are more likely to appear in people whose families weren't very emotionally expressive.

So there's definitely going to be fundies with untreated depression, anxiety, OCD, eating disorders, etc.

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From my own experience I think the answer is yes. Most of them are probably depressed. However everyone is very good at faking it. So much so that they all wonder why they aren't as happy as every other fake happy person around them and become more depressed about it while pretending to be even happier. It's misery.

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One of my casebooks (I'm finishing up an MS in clinical psych) has a section devoted to to the children of missionaries and religious leaders. "Keeping sweet" and depression feature prominently in it. We were also asked to do research into spiritual abuse for a multicultural class. So yeah, all that repressive indoctrination and black and white thinking IS harmful.

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Of course they do. The fundie groups I grew up with were a toxic soup of issues, both caused and made worse by the impossible demands and resulting layers of guilt. It's sad, but it's still a surprise to me when I see genuinely happy people. I'm pretty happy most of the time now and even my own happiness still feels shocking a lot of the time. It's been interesting the last couple of years as some of my formerly pretty "worldly" friends have gotten sucked into fundieness and gotten more and more tense. It's really sad... Some of my other friends (and I) have gone the other direction and gotten more and more relaxed and happy after growing up the miserable way.

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For some reason I always think of Scientology when it comes to how I think fundies (and Mormons) treat depressed. Vitamins and exercise make you feel grrrre-ate!

Think Tony the Tiger there.

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Teri Maxhell admits to being depressed in the past and I believe she cured it by prayer and bible reading.

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Of course they get depressed, they are human and humans get depressed. There's the feeling blue and out of sorts for a few days depression, and there's clinical depression. Almost everyone has days when they are blue and feeling out of sorts, it passes. But clinical depression can be reactive, as happens after a loss, be it the death of a loved one, divorce, onset of a serious health condition, etc. Or it can be manic depression, post partum depression, chronic depression, seasonal affective depression, and other types.

A lot of fundies with depression think praying is all you need to do to get better. They see depression as a sign of weakness, not a condition brought on by a disruption in brain chemicals. I would imagine it's hard to get them to consider either therapy or medication. Teri Maxwell has talked of her depression. I don't think she was ever medicated for it, was she? I think she still looks like she has a chronic low grade depression.I wouldn't be surprised if Sarah has depression, in part because of the genetic component and in part situational. I think Steve is depressed also. He's obsessed on death and dying. Depression can be anger turned inward, and a lot of fundie wives are angry underneath their smiles. I'm guessing Michelle Duggar is sometimes depressed, and it will probably get worse with the onset of menopause and no more babies.

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There is a very high rate of depression amongst Mormon women (medicated). And yes, given that 1 in 4 people have some kind of mental health problem in their life at some stage, usually depression, there are going to be depressed fundies out there - just like there are gay fundies and secretly trans fundies out there.

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They surely have depression or another mental disorder, as many people (they are human and they have a way of life that should not make very happy). But I guess they do not have the right to show it. I think it was Michael Pearl who advise to beat children when they were not smiling. Therefore the child (and the adults) is used to always smile, always look happy. Depression, anorexia, etc ... are things of Satan for them, I presume.

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I think that's the point: they're all pretty miserable. They have to constantly pretend to be happy or else their true feelings would show through.

It's depressing as hell.

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A lot of fundies with depression think praying is all you need to do to get better. They see depression as a sign of weakness, not a condition brought on by a disruption in brain chemicals. I would imagine it's hard to get them to consider either therapy or medication.

I have anxiety & when I first developed it I thought I could just make it go away (not through prayer). I thought if I couldn't fix it myself then I was being weak & sorry for myself. I think it could be a fairly common thing to go through. Especially as anxiety usually hits in your 20s when the tumultuous teenage years are a distant memory & you feel that you have it together & aren't expecting emotional instability until your early 50s.

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I have anxiety & when I first developed it I thought I could just make it go away (not through prayer). I thought if I couldn't fix it myself then I was being weak & sorry for myself. I think it could be a fairly common thing to go through. Especially as anxiety usually hits in your 20s when the tumultuous teenage years are a distant memory & you feel that you have it together & aren't expecting emotional instability until your early 50s.

It's not just that depression /anxiety /etc are just weaknesses, they're sins. They mentally flagellate themselves for being so selfish as to have any emotion they perceive to be undesirable which compounds the problem and round and round it goes in a deadly spiral.

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I have anxiety & when I first developed it I thought I could just make it go away (not through prayer). I thought if I couldn't fix it myself then I was being weak & sorry for myself. I think it could be a fairly common thing to go through. Especially as anxiety usually hits in your 20s when the tumultuous teenage years are a distant memory & you feel that you have it together & aren't expecting emotional instability until your early 50s.

When I first read your post I misread. Instead of anxiety, I saw the word anorexia (how weird - I know). But I'm a little puzzled... Don't we all have anxiety to some degree? Anxiety is not necessarily a bad thing. It can work as a driving force in your life.

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When I first read your post I misread. Instead of anxiety, I saw the word anorexia (how weird - I know). But I'm a little puzzled... Don't we all have anxiety to some degree? Anxiety is not necessarily a bad thing. It can work as a driving force in your life. If I didn't feel anxiety I would skip going to work/meetings in the morning since I would rather sleep. Anxiety shows up as a reminder that no, I can't do that or unpleasant things will happen ( people will get mad at me and I could risk losing my job).

Feeling anxious over normal things is different to anxiety as a disorder. When you have anxiety it doesn't just show up as a reminder or in expected situations, its always there. Think about the way you feel when you have a job interview & are very nervous, imagine having that feeling all the time.

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Of course fundies suffer from mental illness.

However, most will not speak of it. Instead they will keep sweet. They might not say "I'm sad" but they will have unexplained fatigue or pain. They might not say they hear voices but they will tell you how God or the Devil speaks to them directly. They might not admit to being manic but they will jump from religious group to group or do crazy things like buying a rickety plane to fly to Africa. They might not admit to being anxious but they will start prepping like crazy or become obsessed with what they perceive to be a safer past. They might not admit to anger issues but they will beat their children with plumbing line. It goes on and on. For specific examples read almost any thread on Quiver full of Snark - FJ'ers have identified LOTS of pathological behaviour in fundies.

This is not to say that non fundies don't do similar things - they do. I don't think there is any culture that is entirely accepting of mental illness - but there are some cultures (fundies rank high in this category) that are entirely unaccepting of mental illness. Mental illness can be a challenging medical problem at the best of times but compound that with a culture that will not even consider medical treatment and you have a recipe for pain.

edited because I can't spell and it is so early I have likely missed many other riffles

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Yes. Very much so.

My parents were super strict religious types (they kept bouncing from religion to religion in my childhood, then converted to Catholicism when I was 15). They never fought in front of me, any type of emotion that was something other than "happy" and "all is well" was not allowed, or looked upon. I suffered immensely from depression when I began puberty, but dealt with it alone because I didn't understand what was wrong with me. I would try to talk to my mom about it but she would seem either annoyed or like this was something that just needed to be ignored or pushed through. And, she is actually a majorly depressive person herself. My grandmother (her mother) was an I diagnosed bipolar, and one of my twin brothers suffers from depression (but no one talks about it).

The kicker for me was when I got pregnant in high school, had an abortion, and had a lot of emotional issues tied up in it after. I was suicidal. I started going to a psychotherapist, that I found on my own. The therapist wanted my parents to come to a few sessions. My dad looked me square in the face and said, "You know, don't you think you should just get over this and better, be wise the money you are paying to the therapist should go towards rent " (and the rent was to them. My parents charged us all rent to live at home once we turned 18).

When I move out and still battled with depression, especially post partum depression after kids, it was pretty obvious that talking about it was an uncomfortable topic. Because you kno, God takes care of it. It wasn't until a priest told me "God also gives us medication so we don't have to feel the way you do. So..."

Luckily I'm better now, Im very much into long distance running and that helps so much. My depression is caused by chronic stressful situations (which growing up in my family was), lack of sleep, not eating right, etc. I have people I can go to (therpaist, spiritual director) if I need to talk, and I'm not afraid of meds again if I need them.

I noticed my 12 year old was showing some signs, especially when she started her period last December (hormonal too). She keeps active, on the swim team, and it makes a huge difference in her mood. Time with friends too, and since she can get anxiety when the mood swings come on, I push it that she needs to get out. Gently. And she's always telling me she's happy I made her get out.

I still hold a lot of resentment towards my family. Especially when I see my one brother. It's like he's the pink elephant in the room. He's always in a bad mood. Antisocial. And now he drinks. Given that my own son is on the spectrum, and another nephew has behavorial issues, its something in our genes. But my mom just pulled them out of school and home schooled them when the behavior started. And now, at 27, not acknowledging anything is coming back to bite him in the ass.

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Yeah, I think fundies get depressed, theyre just not allowed to show it. So many fundies smile but the look in their eyes is just completely miserable.

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Yeah, I think fundies get depressed, theyre just not allowed to show it. So many fundies smile but the look in their eyes is just completely miserable.

Agree!

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Teri Maxhell admits to being depressed in the past and I believe she cured it by prayer and bible reading.

Yes she was depressed, that was why Steve got "fixed" to stop having children. That all changed when he read something in the Bible about children being a blessing & got it undone!

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When I first read your post I misread. Instead of anxiety, I saw the word anorexia (how weird - I know). But I'm a little puzzled... Don't we all have anxiety to some degree? Anxiety is not necessarily a bad thing. It can work as a driving force in your life.

There's regular anxiety and there is anxiety disorder. I've developed a chronic pain condition as a result of the latter. It went from being a driving force in my life, as you say, to making it very difficult to accomplish the simplest thing because of irrational, paralyzing anxiety that cannot be "talked down" or thought away. I've found myself in the ER at least a dozen times because of it. Anxiety disorder is no joke.

ETA: My parents weren't fundie, but I wasn't allowed to express negative emotion or even really express my emotional needs as a kid, which I think contributed to the development of the disorder. Fundies are notorious for this, as others have mentioned. My parents loved to tell me to "stop throwing a fit" if I so much as said I didn't like something, so I constantly internalized everything that upset or angered me.

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They do get depressed but it isn't expressed. I was told once showing depression meant that you didn't have faith in God among other things. A lot of them are probably afraid to express their emotions for fear of rejection or scorn.

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A lot of them are probably afraid to express their emotions for fear of rejection or scorn.

My former church was riddled with depression/disorders, especially among the leadership. The pastors' wives seemed to have an especially difficult time with depression. After all, any mental illness could be "prayed away", and if it wasn't, you must have a demon that needed to be cast out. (YES, that is what the rest of the church was told.) The guy I used to babysit for killed himself as a result of mental illness as well.

The ONLY acceptable emotion in fundie and fundie-light circles is happiness. If you express guilt, sadness, anger, etcetera, there's a problem, and the entire church will talk about you behind your back. ("We should pray for _____. He/she is not trusting the Lord like they should be," bla bla bla).

Video doesn't lie. Michelle Duggar might think she can bullshit the rest of the world into believing that she's nothing but sweetness and light, but she's not. We've all seen it.

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Feeling depressed (for whatever usual reasons people get depression - we're all human) and then being made to feel GUILTY for it has to be one of the worst recipes I've heard of. :( As it is, I find a lot of the moralizing over health in general (of non-brain organs) to be similarly disturbing.

Came in here to mention Teri Maxwell, though. She had fairly severe post-partum depression (in addition to just "regular" depression I guess too) to the point that she mentions this as one of the reasons she decided to homeschool with textbooks (as opposed to the Charlotte Mason and similar approaches). She's talked about that in some Corners. Her main book about dealing with depression, loneliness, etc though is "Sweet Journey," which is a Bible study that she found helpful and instructive that she's sharing.

I've not read that book, but if someone is interested on her views on the matter they're probably in there. Again though if you read through various Corners she mentions it from time to time too, you might need the wayback machine.

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How timely, as this week I drove by a main stream evangelical church and the sign outside said "We are too blessed to be depressed!"

It made me SO angry - I tried to find an email address to send to them. Seems they do not have a web presence.

I figured that the sign was put out by someone who simply doesn't know better and thought it was a cute saying. But in this day and age there is no reason to be naive about depression and mental illness.

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