Monday, December 21, 2009

The Most Depressed Place in America

According to Mental Health America, which claims to be "the country’s leading nonprofit dedicated to helping ALL people live mentally healthier lives," the most depressed state in America is . . . Utah.

Living in Utah—I lived there for many years—one feels an extraordinary, almost surreal pressure to be good.

This pressure leads, I think, to profound unhappiness, in part because we're not made happy by being good.

We especially aren't made happy by being good as it's defined in Utah, where being good means being obedient. Consequently, in Utah culture, being good means ceasing to exist as an individual.

We learn very quickly—as toddlers, really—that the way we articulate our personality is through disobedience. Living begins when obedience ends. Happiness, curiously, begins with disobedience, too—that's been the great (happy) surprise of my adult life.

But in Utah, individuality—personality—is a mark of perversion. It's viewed with suspicion. It represents a kind of egomaniacal impulse to distinguish oneself, Eve-like, from God.

Anyway, here's the chart:

1 comment:

  1. For some reason I was surprised Alaska wasn't much farther down the list.