Sometimes I send my posts to be linked from the Carnival of the Vanities, a conglomeration of posts from Outer Blogness. One poster was Jason, who went by “Starbright” on RfM and elsewhere. I linked to his blog early on when I still had my old blog, and he linked to mine, and we exchanged comments and emails. I knew he had been dealing with mental illness, and I was shocked and saddened to learn that this terrible disease had finally claimed him.
I am so sorry for his family for their loss. I cannot imagine how it feels to lose a spouse and parent that way. It’s a sobering reminder for me that I nearly did the same thing last year. I’m really not sure what it is that stopped me before it was too late, but I’m grateful I didn’t go through with it.
It’s easy to blame Mormonism for the kinds of problems that led to this tragedy, but that would be simplistic and really unhelpful. It probably goes without saying that I think that Mormonism’s culture of guilt doesn’t really help people who are predisposed to mental illness, but that’s not the whole picture. And it would be just as easy for Mormons to point to Jason as showing the results of unbelief and apostasy. But that would be equally as wrong. I do think that becoming detached from lifelong moorings can certainly add to existing mental illness, but again, it’s not the cause.
I wish I had some words of comfort, but none come. In grieving for Jason, maybe we should remind ourselves that there are others out there suffering just as he was. If we see someone struggling, I hope that Jason’s memory will motivate us to do something to help.