Botox and Prozac and Diets, Oh My!

When my brother was in the hospital, I got to drive up and down the freeway many times. I soon became familiar with all the billboards. This was one of my favorites (and by favorites, I mean it made me want to beat people up.): A lovely, buxom woman smiled down upon us shapeless freeway drivers through the huge words, “All I want for Christmas is my two front … .” The meaning behind “…” became clear as you read the name and number of the Plastic Surgery Clinic that she was referring you to.

When we were house hunting in Utah, we tried to make an appointment for a second showing of a house we were interested in.  The Realtor informed us that we could not come until after 3 p.m., because the homeowner was hosting an eyelash extension party.  Excuse me, a what? I had never even heard of such a thing in my life.  I have since seen and heard about this phenomenon many, many times.

I read this article this morning, and I found it really interesting.  I recommend it.  It reported:

Though no religion-specific data exists to show rates of eating disorders or body image issues, numerous accounts from diligent parents, priesthood and auxiliary leaders of struggling girls, and women speak for themselves. And one of Forbes magazine’s annual rankings may indicate that our quest for perfection took a wrong turn somewhere along the way: Salt Lake City, home to the worldwide headquarters of the LDS Church (and where an estimated 50 percent of the population is LDS), was ranked the “Vainest City in the Nation” in 2007 and 2008, and was in the Top 5 in 2009. This ranking is due to the city’s record-breaking amount spent on beauty products and treatments like Botox, an amount that is ten-fold the amount spent in cities of comparable size. If you’ve looked at the billboards along any Utah freeway, you won’t be shocked to hear Salt Lake City has the most plastic surgeons per capita, at six per 100,000 residents, trumping New York City and Los Angeles.

Why?  I don’t get it.  Of all the people in the world, we should be the most embracing of our God-given selves.  Though the LDS doctrine does teach us to strive for perfection, with an emphasis on following the example of Jesus Christ, it absolutely does not teach or endorse that we should make our bodies measure up to society’s definition of perfection.  In fact, Elder Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said the following:

I plead with you young women to please be more accepting of yourselves, including your body shape and style, with a little less longing to look like someone else. We are all different. . . . In terms of preoccupation with self and a fixation on the physical, this is more than social insanity; it is spiritually destructive, and it accounts for much of the unhappiness women, including young women, face in the modern world. And if adults are preoccupied with appearance—tucking and nipping and implanting and remodeling everything that can be remodeled—those pressures and anxieties will certainly seep through to children. At some point the problem becomes what the Book of Mormon called “vain imaginations.” And in secular society both vanity and imagination run wild. One would truly need a great and spacious makeup kit to compete with beauty as portrayed in media all around us.

You may have heard before that Utah also leads the country in the use of anti-depressants.  This is, again, a mystery.  There are some who argue that it’s probably a product of the high expectations of the LDS church culture and people feeling like they don’t measure up.  I don’t buy that, because a careful study of any of the counsel that comes from the general leadership of the church never has that kind of tone.  On the contrary, there are consistently messages of love, encouragement, and acknowledgment of our goodness and power and influence.  This is especially true for women.  Not anywhere else do you find more empowering words or praise for womanhood than you do from our own pulpits.  There are also myriad talks about adversity, challenges and tribulation, and how to deal with them, which clearly eliminates the expectation of living enchanted, perfect lives.  So what gives?

I’m obviously not an expert on these sociological matters, but I think I can see where some of this struggle originates.  LDS women are like other women throughout the world; we have struggles and sadness and insecurities.  There are also rampant mental health issues throughout our society, to which we are not immuned.  As I have become more and more of an adult, I have begun to see how many people, including many friends and family, struggle with depression, anxiety and consistently high stress.  Life is a pressure cooker that seems to take a great toll on our mental health.  We often need help.  It is safe to say that we all self-medicate.  When pressures are high and our ability to deal with them feels low, we turn to something to help us feel better.  Within the LDS faith, because of our doctrinal principles, we do not turn to the same things that many, many other people turn to in times of stress– drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, pornography or self-serving sexual behaviors, for example.  Perhaps our anti-depressant numbers are seemingly skewed because of this.  Other people with the same struggles self-medicate differently.  (I want to make clear that I do not have an anti-medication stance.  At all.)  Perhaps this also explains, in part, the obsession with beauty issues.  When women feel overwhelmed and empty, they look for ways to make themselves feel better, and for LDS women, fake eyelashes is not “against our religion.”  Whatever the reasons, which I really don’t know, I think we all need to do a better job of turning to the right place for help.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” — Matthew 11:38

I am not advocating throwing out your mascara or your Prozac and just dedicating yourself to scripture study.  That would be naive.  I do think that no matter what level of struggles we face, we can find much more relief the more and more we learn to rely upon the Savior.  We will find more sense of self-worth.  We will find forgiveness for our imperfections.  We will find strength in our trials. We will find love and acceptance and be filled in the places we feel empty.  A careful study of all those Your-Life-Will-Not-Be-Perfect-So-Be-Prepared talks that come from the general leadership of the church will point us in the direction of Jesus Christ.  So this is basically a war cry to LDS women everywhere:  When life hurts, and it will, you are not alone.  Turn to your Savior and let Him share your burdens and remind you how beautiful you are, just as you are.  As a completely average, A-cup, almost 20 pound “overweight,” frazzled mother of young children who’s still wearing my pajamas, I give you my word that it works.  It really does.  Let’s get a few billboards for that.

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42 thoughts on “Botox and Prozac and Diets, Oh My!

  1. Steph–It is this exact phenomenon that blows my mind every. time. I visit my family in Utah County. I’ve spent some serious time reflecting on the fact that maybe we, as a people, need to embrace differences and imperfections a little more. I think the message of the new Mormon.org really seems to be that Mormons are DIFFERENT from each other, which is why they want us to fill out our profiles. We are not clones or Stepford Wives. Our challenges, strengths, and beauties are unique. Yes, we all want to be good–inside and outside. We want to be a shining light and an example. But I would loooove to get off the airplane in Salt Lake and feel like I do when I get off a plane in Boston–all different shapes, sizes, and hair colors. Engaged in energetic debate and conversation. And yes–with some girls wearing no makeup, hair in a pony tail, and a look that says “I am so dang intelligent that I don’t have time to shave my legs.” Great post–thanks! 🙂

  2. A hearty AMEN! I love Sheri Dew’s quote (I’m paraphrasing here) that nothing makes a person more attractive than having the Spirit with him or her. Not even eyelash extensions. I know that whenever I try to fill my needs with anything other than sincere communion with the Savior, it is a temporary fix. Even the fix from chocolate, Diet Coke, and Jane Austen movies wears off.

  3. Whenever we drive to Idaho, my husband and I often remark on the ridiculous amounts of plastic surgery billboards and the message they are trying to convey to every man and woman: perfection is attainable through medical means. This is, obviously, impossible because the more you focus on your looks the less satisfied you are with the body God blessed you with. As a woman, a young mom at that, I tend to avoid the fashion scene and wear limited amounts of make-up. I do enjoy doing my hair and putting on make-up, but I find other things to be more fulfilling. Things like scriptures (as you mentioned), service, exercise (in moderation), and taking care of my family.

    As for anti-depressants, I find that statistic that is oft-quoted as a tool people use to decry Mormons and elevate their own status. (Not that you used it that way.) There are those who turn to anti-depressants and other things without fully relying on the Savior as well as those who shun medications and live miserable lives because they can’t find solace only in the Atonement. We are each given different trials and, for some, mental illness remains an imposing figure in their otherwise faithful lives. Frankly, I think it is more likely that anti-depressants are used more by Mormons because they’d rather use medication prescribed by the doctor than self-medication means that others often use (alcohol, substances, and other things).

    One thing I adore in the Ensign is their new layout for the VT message. There is a clear movement toward encouraging all of us women to turn to each other when we encounter difficulties and build each other up. We are all vastly different and have so many talents to give. I believe that we can embrace this thought and truly help each other through this trial-filled life.

  4. One thing about the anti-depressants I’ve been thinking about is that our state has a high birth rate. Postpartum Depression will therefore be at a higher rate than elsewhere. Which means that there are more anti-depressants being prescribed by doctors. This doesn’t account for all of the meds, but I’d say it bumps up the numbers a bit.

  5. You’re seriously awesome and I’m definitely coming back to read through comments on this one.

    I heard a talk give on possible reasons for the anti-depressant thing which included the self-medicating thing you mention and also that the more educated people are the more likely they are to get professional help, which makes sense.

    Anyway, thank you so much for this. I’m just finishing up nursing with all that means for my “figure” and it’s a good time for me to be reminded that I’m beautiful! My body is awesome, not because it looks like it’s “supposed” to but because it does so many amazing things that it IS supposed to. I love it (my body). 🙂

  6. I love how you say things. I am so behind you and getting some ‘good’ billboards out there! Up here in the Seattle area there are few traditional billboards, but none are positive messages. They all say we are missing something and need to change ourselves or use this product to be better more wholesome people.

  7. I had to share this on my Facebook page, and then I also emailed this post to a few select woman that I love that I wanted to share this with. Thank you again for your post.

  8. I recently went on a diet. I had medical reasons for doing so–problems that will decrease significantly if I’m not carrying this extra weight. But I was flabbergasted to be told that 20% of this diet product goes to Utah. Twenty percent! Goes to 1/50th of the United States. I’ve seen the billboards too, and am not sure that I have ever seen one in my city. So I’m baffled with you…not sure what it means about us individually or as a culture…

  9. I agree that there is a lot more pressure here in Utah to look and be “perfect”. I also agree that we need to be better at accepting others and especially ourselves. I was appalled at a friend of mine who was judging an over weight person for using the scooters in Wal-Mart, and what they had in their basket. Who knows if that person was in their last few months of life and wanted to enjoy it?
    I also think that people who go and get help sometimes take what the doctor says without thinking it through. I had an experience with a doctor that wanted to prescribe me some anti-depressants, but I knew that it wasn’t the right treatment for me, because I was just having a bad day. I think that people do what the doctor tells them, because they figure they went to school and know what they are talking about.

  10. Thanks for the wonderful reminder that unique is beautiful and that we should strive to be our best selves rather than the cookie-cutter version that media seems to love to promote.

  11. I just typed an extremely long comment that would have alienated a lot of people, and then thought better of it . . . so I’ll just shorten it to this:

    I think it’s an issue of testimony more than anything else. When you’re truly converted to the Lord’s work and constantly listening to the spirit for opportunities to serve others and do His will, who has time for botox?

  12. I was just ranting about this to Zeke the other day… we went to visit my parents and seriously, the drive from Logan to Salina (especially through Salt Lake and Utah County) I just want to put blinders on my whole family (me included)!!! The billboards are horrible!

    I’m very naive I’m sure, but Logan just seems so far away from all of that and I am SO thankful.

    As women we are very pressured to be and look perfect. I absolutely think it is wrong to have any kind of plastic surgery (for uneccesary reasons of course) or Botox or anything like that. I think of the scripture about trusting in the arm of flesh.

    We need to have more faith! We need to be more humble and Christ-like! We need to evaluate and re-evaluate our priorities.

    I struggle with my self-esteem all the time. I think it’s a trial I have been given. But I have also been given a wonderful husband who loves me just the way I am. And I’ve been given the knowledge of our loving Father in Heaven and His perfect Son. That is what helps me through.:)

  13. Here’s the thing… Unless we only take cues from the media, i don’t think we ARE pressured to be perfect. At least, I don’t feel that way at all. Now, I live in a small town in the mountains of North Carolina. Fashion isn’t really a big thing. I don’t think we have even one plastic surgeon… so maybe it’s different here than in other places. I guess I’m echoing your sentiment Steph, that you don’t get it. I don’t either.

    • Oh we used to love driving up to Blowing Rock and getting ice cream there on Main Street. That was when we used live in the Queen City.

  14. One of the guys in my office was talking to his wife about having another (their 3rd) child. She would only agree to it if he promised to pay for her to get a tummy tuck afterwards. I couldn’t believe that would be the deciding factor in adding to their family.

    I worry about these body issues as I raise my daughter. I know my example will be a big factor in that and I hope I’m saying and doing the things that teach her to not look to the world for validation. I want her to grow up loving her body as it is and not spend her life being miserable about what it isn’t. She was born premature and I think everything about her adorable body is a miracle!

  15. AMEN! When are we as women going to cut ourselves a break? When are we going to accept each other for just as we are? When are we going to be happy with ourselves?

  16. Not to rock the boat here or anything, but um… have you passed through MY town lately? When I drive through the Provo-Ogden corridor, I’m just happy not to be faced with rows and rows of women’s behinds, or billboards like the one I pass every day: “There’s a New Place to Sin in the Northwest!”

    As for the per capita plastic surgeon statistic, it’s no secret that SLC and the surrounding areas attract a disproportionate number of professionals, from doctors to lawyers to everything in between. The moderate cost of living, the high STANDARD of living, the relatively pleasant climate, and the umpteen bazillion opportunities for families are usually cited as reasons. I don’t think it’s fair to call SLC residents vain just because a lot of plastic surgeons live there. And don’t start in on “if there weren’t the demand, there wouldn’t be the supply” because all you have to do is count the number of surgeries a doctor has to perform to live very comfortably, to see that it’s not necessarily a proliferation of boob jobs that’s creating that statistic.

    As for anti-depressants, let me just say that as someone who has served and prayed and fasted and sacrificed and STILL been on meds for nearly 16 years, it wasn’t the high expectations of my fellow ward members or the number of children I had or the fact that I don’t cook meth in the garage that led to my taking them. It’s almost always more complicated than that, and we do one another a disservice when we suggest that there’s something ‘wrong’ with people who get the help they need.

    I’m sorry, Steph. You and I are great friends. But in this case, I feel like this kind of “the problem is not loving the Lord enough” that brings so many LDS women down. Does going to an eyelash party make you vain? My sister was 19 and lost every strand of hair to cancer treatment. Would it have been inappropriate for her to wear a wig and glue on some false eyelashes?

    We need to give each other more credit, pass less judgment, and start ignoring “statistics” that don’t even begin to tell the real stories behind anything.

    • DeNae, I think we agree on this issue more than I was able to make clear in my post. I do NOT think that testimony is a cure-all. I think medications for mental health are important. In fact, almost 50% of my own family, including my spouse, has needed and used them at some point. I was just trying to make sense of what seems to be disproportionate statistics. I’m guessing that they are slightly skewed because our numbers in other kinds of substance abuse are probably MUCH lower— and that’s the way that so many other people medicate themselves. In trying to make sense of the whole plastic surgery + antidepressant phenomenon, my point was that ALL of us (myself, LDS, and non-LDS included) could probably find *more* support in the Lord than we seek out, and we often seek too much help in other sources: appearance, or chocolate :), or whatever.

      You are absolutely right that we need to be very careful about how we judge. I admit I struggle with that myself sometimes, trying to figure out *why* people do what they do when it doesn’t make sense (to me). But each person, in drawing close to the Lord, can find what works best for them and feel His love and support through their individual difficulties. I just believe that when we rely on *that* more than we worry about society’s expectations for us, the burdens can be easier to bear. And again, for emphasis, I do not mean as a replacement for medication. Depression and anxiety are real and cannot just be wished away by faith. All I know is that the Savior CAN help us and He does. I love you, dear, and I’m sorry if my words seemed critical. They weren’t meant to be so at all. It was supposed to be a “Who cares what the world wants us and expects us to be (even well meaning other LDS women)? Just be at peace with yourself and the Lord” kind of message. Sorry if I got it wrong.

  17. For the record, DeNae, I don’t think this is what she meant at all, but I do agree on some points.

    That said, I am a convert. I was baptized 3 years ago. I am a mother of 5, a working mother of 5 no less. I can assure you that I DO feel pressure and inadequate a lot of the time. I was not raised knowing what so many of my Ward already know. I can’t can, couldn’t bake bread let alone know what to do with wheat, the list goes on. It IS hard. Very hard. I do it because I love Heavenly Father and believe in this Faith. I teach my daughter so that she might know. I have also taken anti-depressants in the past and will likely have to do so again in the future. I don’t necessarily think the two are related. Prayer and Scripture study won’t fix this for me. It helps me focus on what is important though. Not looks, not my homemade Ezekiel Bread (don’t I wish), but Love, Family, Faith and Enduring to the end.

    Thank you for a post that helped me reconnect with my goals.

  18. Wow! What a great response to a few topics that are close to home to so many of us (either personally or by association). In the war we are fighting for our salvation Satan uses any approach he can to destroy the love we can feel from God.

    Mental health is as real as someone who struggles with diabetes. Our personal insecurities challenge us each day. The battle cry goes forward with prayer, scriptures, and the courage to go forward be it with the support of faith, family, and friends. Some days we gain ground and other days we hope that our heavy hearts will be healed.

  19. You are fabulous. Thank you for sharing this. Here in Alaska, we are pretty casual, but I still see the young women in my ward struggling with this. (And let’s face it, so am I.) The answer is so simple. Not easy, but simple.

  20. As a move-back-to-Utah’er…or something like that… I was disturbed at the sheer number of billboards that line the major freeways here. Living in a few other states, then coming back I couldn’t believe how close they were to each other. Don’t get me started on the content! No matter the pictures and suggestions on the billboard, some more disturbing than others, they truly pollute the state.

    While traveling back and forth to visit family from other states, we often saw groups (yep, more than one) of women that surely looked lovely prior to their trip to Utah, but were leaving the state bandaged, bruised and being pushed in a wheelchair through the airport. I would say from our trips that the fine doctors here in Utah get a lot of business from (inside and)outside the state.

    I lumpy, sometimes frumpy, larger than I used to be, but happy that I am actually a mom. I am pretty thankful for the stretchmarks. I call it my custom paint job. It’s fancy on an old restored car… I’ll take it!

  21. Every once in a while I check out your blog and I am always impressed with your comments. I teach group fitness classes, and it is really easy to compare yourself to other instructors/gym members and how they look. I am so grateful for the gospel and the view it has given me on who I am as a daughter of a loving Heavenly Father. I am grateful to know that no matter how I look I am loved by Him who has created me. This world really has mixed up views on how women “should” look and I have to say, without the gospel, I too would be lost. Thanks for your comments!

  22. Beautifully written post. I have to admit that I had no idea all this went on in my own backyard, eyelash parties… really. Something I will be sharing with my girls tonight. Thank you.

  23. Thank you, Stephanie. Very nicely thought out. I appreciate you sharing those links and quotes and stats.

    I have been an active Mormon my whole life and I would have to say there are a few factors at work that might make Mormon women more prone to mental illness and a distorted body image.

    We have larger families on average. This definitely puts us at higher risk for anxiety and depression. Each kid you add to a family increases the odds that the woman will be overwhelmed and/or exhausted. You just can’t get around this.

    We are far more likely to stay home while raising kids. In our day and time (compared to agricultural societies) staying home means choosing to spend most of your day isolated from other adults. This is not healthy! Our communities are not as tight-knit as they used to be. We are far less likely to feel tied to our neighbors although in Utah you’d think that the ward community might help. (I haven’t ever lived in Utah as a non-student so I can’t speak from experience.)

    While I think the Relief Society organization can be a blessing in many ways, I have seen far too much of the social cruelty among groups of women in the wards I’ve lived in (and I’ve lived in the Midwest, Northeast, the South, and the West). I think there is a lot of pressure/competition that is very subtle. I think too many women want to be friends with women who look good and look stylish. I have seen some very clear boundaries between the haves and the have nots in the wards I’ve been in. There is definitely pressure in these groups to look good!

    And, I think there are so many expectations of us. I personally feel like there are messages all the time in church that make me feel inadequate and overwhelmed. Volunteer at the temple, make dinner for a sister on bedrest, prepare a Primary sharing time, have the missionaries for dinner…are you reading your Book of Mormon? are you doing FHE tonight? are you getting involved in your communities? let alone making a nourishing dinner one’s own family and making sure that the floor gets swept once in a while. I have four kids and the expectations for us are daunting indeed. Bravo to those who can juggle better than me.

    Thanks for the discussion. I think there’s much to do in reaching out to each other in true sisterhood and not looking on the outward appearance when we’re looking for friends. I think Mormons still have a long way to go. We’ve got the good essential doctrine and now just need to figure out ways to apply it.

  24. Very interesting! And it seems you have hit quite a controversial subject! 🙂 I am also intrigued by this and think there needs to be more study done. I’d love to know why – specifically about the depression issue as I am on anti-depressants myself. I’m thinking that because Satan knows he cannot tempt us with alcohol and other things, he uses depression against us. I don’t know. Great thoughts! Thanks for the post!

  25. I am so happy I grew up on a farm, where the only time we worried about botox was when we were late for milking/ (get it – cows – botox- ha i’m funny) I drink Coke. I like it.

  26. hello stephanie! i’m usually a lurker and don’t comment much but i feel the need to reply this time. i appreciate your sentiments about relying on the savior during our trials. many times my relationship with and faith in the savior have been the only thing keeping me afloat during my lifelong struggle with bipolar II disorder. i have had bipolar II since I was 11 years old but was only recently correctly diagnosed at age 29. previously depression, postpartum depression, social anxiety, and just being a complete loser(my conclusion) were all thought to be cause of my struggles. my guess is that as more information becomes known and the shame and stigma associated with mental illness diminishes the the statistics will climb. as of right now 1 in 5 people live with mental illness. in many ways mental illness is a modern-day plague. my doctor told me that i was one of the lucky ones because most people with mental illnesses do not receive correct diagnoses until they are in their 40’s. i told her it wasn’t luck. it was the result of a brave lds woman who wasn’t ashamed to talk about her own experiences with mental illnesses. i recognized myself in her story and sought help. probably the most devastating aspect of bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses for faithful active lds men and women is that our illnesses can make us not be able to feel the spirit or god. having the faith to pray and read my scriptures even though i can’t feel god or the holy ghost, not because of sin but because of mental illness is more difficult and heartbreaking than i can describe. i am so grateful for the modern day medicine that is giving me my life back. i really appreciate that you have had experience with loved ones that have suffered from mental illness and have compassion for their plight. i hope that with time and education we will become better as individuals and as a church at recognizing the difference between mental illness and sin-caused or circumstance-caused depression or unhappiness. understanding those differences will give each of us a correct direction to go when despair or discouragement threatens to overwhelm us.

  27. Great post, Stephanie. I don’t have any answers. I think there are so many who struggle with feelings of self-worth and the best thing we can do is love them and encourage them.

  28. I had read awhile ago about the high rate of anti-depressant usage in Utah and at the time was alittle stunned. One thought I have since had is perhaps one of the factors (and there are Many more) could be that rather than just use other drugs such as alcohol to cover up these moods we actually seek help from professional sources.
    I also thought of the pressures I honestly see amongst my sister is the gospel every day. Some feel great pressure feeling that they are never good enough. Some struggle with their children. And most have misconceptions about others. We strive to make it look easy; like we are handling it well and like we are good mothers. Sometimes we over-strive, over-volunteer and forget about us. I see this so often.

  29. I love that you wrote about this. I have been thinking a lot about body image lately. My husband works a mere 3 miles from where we live, and there are three billboards for liposuction in that short distance. And one for hamburgers. I laugh about the placement of the hamburger sign. At any rate, we are all beautiful children of God. No matter what shape or color or form we come in. How disrespectful we are when we try to alter the marvelous bodies we have been given. I really think we take for granted these precious bodies. It is a very sad obsession we have. And quite honestly, I don’t think it has anything to do with achieving perfection, but a lot more to do with keeping up with the Jones’. I have seen that LDS women (in my experience) tend to compare themselves to other women more harshly than non LDS women. It is that constant comparison that drives women to want to alter their bodies. And I agree about the prescription abuse. Members don’t turn to the right sources for the relief from the pain of living. They don’t turn to drugs and alcohol either, so they must find a relief somewhere. Living is hard, but it can be so much harder than it needs to be. I think we make it hard upon ourselves when the Lord clearly states to come unto him as his burden is light and easy to bear. But there is the faith/trust issue. We don’t believe that it is really all that easy, so we don’t. How sad for our Savior. What a blessing it is for us to have the Gospel to help guide us and to find a respite from everyday living.

  30. Lady, I have tears in my eyes. This is beautiful. Now I’m even more sad that we didn’t get to chat today. I don’t understand why things are the way they are here. Even today, looking at all the ladies in the restaurant, I was amazed at what I saw. All the highlights and the tans and the heels and the ginormous purses…..and I started to wonder why I had never bought one of those army hats. Then I thought of your post about the ladies at parent-teacher conferences and nearly laughed out loud.

    I’m not anywhere close to getting “smart lipo” or eyelash extension to make myself feel better, but I also don’t turn to the Saviour like I should. That “I-don’t-need-ANYone’s-help” streak runs strongly though me, and unfortunately, that includes Christ and his Atonement. I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to remember to turn to Him.

  31. In a place where there is a whole lot of good, Satan has to work extra hard. Satan knows members in SLC aren’t going to do the REALLY bad stuff so he goes for what will sway them. Insecurities.

    I take “happy pills” (sounds so much nicer than Prozac), due to depression because of extremely mixed up hormones. I went through years of thinking if I was just more faithful I would get over it. Then I remembered Heavenly Father made it possible for the smart people of the world to develop these medications. And don’t worry-I totally get your post. I didn’t think you were telling me to pray more or read my scriptures more and stop taking the medicine. That is obviously not what your post was saying. I think people may have taken that part wrong because of those same insecurities that Satan plays on. I don’t care who knows I take my happy pills because of how much better my life is when the fog is cleared and I actually can show my family how much I love them, not just say it! 🙂

    I am giving Satan (that turd!) the credit on this one. He had to work hard to figure out a way to get through to the members in SLC. I mean the Prophet lives there-Satan has to work over time to combat that!!! Love you guys out there in Utah! You have a whole different load of temptations than all us Mormons “in the mission field”. 🙂

  32. I am so grateful that we have the resurrection to look forward to!! For because 1) we’ll have “our” perfect body (compared to “a” perfect body or we’d all be clones). 2) We’ll be free from the plagues of the mental/hormonal bondage that is the life trial for so many. And 3)I think we’ll be able to better see us as we really are (for we will be like Him) which means we’ll be able to see others for what they really are, too.

  33. I probably should have read the comments, since this might be repeated, but anyway:

    1. I take anti-depressants. Most of my Depression was post-partum related, but because I never took care of it, it’s full-fledged-not-related-to-babies Depression now.
    2. I think the reason we have a lot more anti-depressants in Utah County is because A. We have a lot of babies (i.e. a lot of post-partum) and B. We actually TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES. We also don’t drink or do drugs (well, illegal ones. Ha!).
    3. I hate/detest those billboards about plastic surgery, too. Hate, hate, hate them. I don’t find them witty at all.
    4. Your last few sentences ROCK. I totally agree. 🙂

  34. I noticed the same things when I was in Utah last. All those billboards were everywhere. Of course, I could walk in the grocery store and not be the only mom there dragging 5 children along behind here, so it all evens out.

    It is a weird dynamic whenever I am there- the pressure to be like everyone else (or at least try) and the comfort that there are others like me in the world.

    I don’t handle the dichotomy well, which is why I don’t live in Utah, I guess.

  35. I take a med for generalized anxiety and minor OCD. It is a relatively mild case, I’m fully functional. My sister is on something, she has borderline personality disorder. An in-law takes something, he’s a very high functioning autistic, with bouts of severe anxiety. I’m 36 and 15-20 pounds overweight, and I’m conscious of it everyday. I’ve dabbled with P90X and other workout regimens, but it is a struggle for proper diet and consistency amid the pressures of life. (Point here is some men also struggle with body image.)

    I agree with many of the suggestions offered for the statistics. Another thing I’ve pondered is the state of the family. Growing up in podunk Utah I was a fourth generation gentile. Mormon ancestors gave up a long time ago on both sides of the family. When I think of just one branch of my family, the nuclear family of one set of grandparents, the following tragedies have occurred: infidelity, divorce, homosexuality, prostitution, alcoholism, drug addiction, homelessness, attempted suicide, felony crime, depression, and mental illness. In contrast, out of that SAME nuclear family have also come the following: two missions served, two covenant marriages (and resulting families), hundreds of hours of service and sacrifice, seven college degrees. I attribute all of those negatives directly to the break up of families and multi-generational patterns of poor parenting skills, substance abuse, lack of education and self sufficiency. The successes have all sprang from young people answering the call of the Holy Ghost, making and keeping covenants and following where it lead them. They were led to missions, higher education, quality spouses and sufficient livelihoods. I’ve seen very similar patterns in families in small Utah communities I grew up in.
    You reap what you sow and your decisions WILL impact your great-grandchildren.
    So much of our mortal condition is a result of our physical bodies: our DNA, our brain chemistry, our brains are complex accumulations of life experiences, fears, etc. Our spirits don’t have all these imperfections and has to tolerate our bodies infirmities. We do self-medicate, and I say, if popping a little pink pill each morning balances out an otherwise slightly revved up level of serotonin, I’m popping with NO REGRETS.
    A great deal of our mortal experience is all about suffering the imperfect physical body in order to develop a more perfect spirit. It is what started with the Fall of Adam. The plan of salvation for us is truly remarkable: fall, atonement, resurrection. Patience people! You are all beautiful, righteous, faithful people laboring with a more correct understanding of your condition that all the people on the face of the Earth. Just do your best and grace will take care of the rest.

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