Posted by: nflanders | June 22, 2005

I wear black on the outside…

Sometimes, when I feel depressed, I simultaneously feel guilty because I have nothing to be depressed about. I have a higher standard of living than 99% of the world, no major medical problems, and no immediate financial worries. In fact, I disgust me.

Is it true that once you have all your survival needs met, that you automatically have to look for something wrong to dwell on? Is there an evolutionary disadvantage to being content? I don’t think I’ve ever been really happy. Looking back, all the happiest times of my life seem to coincide with periods of great stress.

I think I’ve given up on being happy or content or whatever that means. I just don’t think I’m wired that way. I think that this might be why I have a hard time finding my place in the Church. We’re supposed to be so ecstatic from our knowledge of the truth, that we can’t help being filled with joy. Am I unhappy because I don’t know the truth, or do I not know the truth because I’m unhappy?

In the end, I think I’m just scared. Scared that I am just fooling myself, and that there is nothing after death. Or scared to find out that I missed my one chance for salvation. The way I look at it, there’s no good way for this to end.



  1. i have struggled with this before. i would think “if the gospel is so wonderful then why do i find it so hard to do and like the things the church wants me to?” often i wasn’t even sure i wanted to go to the celestial k-dom because it sounded like too much work, just made me depressed. so i figured something was either wrong w/ me or w/ the church. i’ll let you guess how that debate ended.

    i think being depressed is natural, most people go through cycles like that. if it becomes a chronic problem then get some help, but if it’s always something that sticks around for a day or two and then leaves don’t worry. a few beers w/ some friends might help too. or else go rent caddyshack.

  2. I wear my cheerful jungle animals tie when I’m depressed.

    To each their own.

  3. Chin up, Ned. Why must you be such an angry young man when your future looks quite bright to me? Get up, get back on your feet, you’re the one they can’t beat and you know it.

  4. Ned,
    For what it’s worth, when I see people who at happy all the time, whatever their faith or lack thereof, I suspect drug abuse. In short, we’re not suppose to be happy all the time.

    Many in the church go through what m said until they accept Jesus in his role as savior. In other words, we can’t do all that is expected of us, that’s why we need Jesus. Even GBH and all the GA’s need Jesus.

    Sorry to be blunt, but do you have kids? We’re all visitors and have a built in need/instinct to nurture the next generation, w/o which it’s as if we never lived. If you haven’t had or adopted kids yet, maybe that’s the root cause of the funk your in. Again, sorry for my bluntness.

    To rebut your last sentence, there are plenty of good ways for the rest of your life to unfold. Be patient in the journey. G-d bless.

  5. Thanks for the encouragement, guys. It’s no big deal, I think I am just a naturally depressive kind of guy. Maybe my music collection doesn’t help too much either.

    To respond to Steve (FSF), no we don’t have kids yet, and frankly, the idea terrifies me.

    m, I really identify with what you are saying. I think some people (like me) just aren’t cut out for full-blown Mormonism.

  6. Yeah, but what’s “full-blown Mormonism”? I mean, aren’t we all struggling to be happy and do what is right? Do we have to judge ourselves against what we suppose is the “ideal” Mormon or are we judging ourselves to how we can personally improve our own lives? I don’t think we have to enjoy Sacrament meeting to be happy people.

    One thing that helps me out is I’ve learned to avoid worrying/thinking about things that I have no control over. Now that I have control over that I can see how much that controlled me. It’s amazing. /Steven Covey lecture

  7. Rusty–

    You are right. I am probably too concerned with where I fit in with Mormonism, when I should really be figuring out where Mormonism fits in my life.

    Unfortunately, I think I still have a lot left to figure out on that front.

  8. Ned, between the two of us we could be two integrated individuals. I go but don’t believe. You believe but don’t go…

  9. Ann–

    I wish I believed enough for the both of us. I’ve attended two weeks in a row and now my faith is shot. Perhaps playing hooky was the key for me.

  10. There are more mormons like you than you think.

    Here is a site that you might like:

    When I first read what people were saying in their forums, it’s like I found my new home. Very nice, reasonable people.

    Anyway, best of luck with your religious endevours, Ned.

  11. I have to say that was a very good read.

  12. Thanks, Mike. They do seem like nice, reasonable people. I think I will lurk around there for a while.

  13. I’m not a very happy person. I’m not unhappy or depressed, I’m just not very cheerful or joyful or smiley. I’m very mellow and laid back. People who are very happy and effusive wear me out. I can get tired just being around them.

    Husker Du has this great line in their song “Could You Be the One” that says,

    Is it only happiness you want?

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