Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Crazy gays

I saw Forester's post today, and SG's comment, and some other posts that reminded me that I suspect gays are uncommonly crazy. Anecdotally, as I tally up the gays I know and the gays I know who have some sort of psychiatric problem (whether it be depression, bipolar disorder, OCD, etc...) it's a freaking lot. It's just plain huge.

So, if memory serves, Hooker's research was the first step in showing that homosexuality was not associated with intelligence or mental health. But, if memory serves, that study had an enormous selection bias / exclusion criteria (one that is ignored by all the same folks who spit on the ground every time Spitzer's name gets mentioned).

Conventional wisdom says that any difference in the prevalence of mental problems in gays is directly attributable to a hostile society and the unfriendly circumstances gays must live in. Which, I believe to an extent, but not to the extent of explaining all the mental illness I've observed.

There ain't nothin' morally wrong with being depressed or bipolar or whatever. I'm a big fan of mental illness not carrying stigma. I do wonder, though, why I get the impression that there's such a big correlation.

I don't believe being gay makes you depressed. So, I wonder what it means.

6 comments:

playasinmar said...

I'm not depressed!

You don't see any reason Forester might be depressed. Unhappily trapped in a marriage, perhaps?

Nothing gay and nothing straight about being sad in that situation.

Master Fob said...

Curiously, what percentage of the gays you know are Mormon? Not to say that's the reason for the correlation, but it does add a few points to the hostile environment argument, in my opinion and experience.

santorio said...

first, two types of depression:

depression as a reaction to stress, such as death, economic duress, physical health issues, and of course, being gay in a society that for the most part considers just being gay (let alone acting gay) as immoral. responds well to cognitive therapy and, simply, time.

then there is major depression, with its bipolar and manic-depressive and hypomanic subtypes. may or may not respond to medications. strong genetic component. on the "same gene" as sexual orientation? who knows?

by a thread said...

I don't think being gay constitutes being depressed. I think the deeply rooted LDS values and beliefs matched with SSA is the perfect recipe for depression. If you don't experience that, or understand that, you may want to count your blessings. Remember that everyone...straight or gay, LDS or Jew is different and in various stages of progression.

-L- said...

I've considered the moody plight of Mormon gays in particular, but there's an important distinction between being depressed and unhappy and moody and actually having a clinical diagnosis of a mental illness (i.e. bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, or major depressive disorder, etc.).

It's the latter group I'm more interested in. There are plenty in the former group, too, and I suppose that's a discussion for another day. But I wonder if the genetics of mental illness and the genetics of homosexual proclivity might overlap somehow. Yes, this is a curiosity that would not be well received among many who prefer we never look back on the days of homosexuality as a disease EVER! (Regardless of the politically neutral nature of the curiosity.)

Forester said...

Just to set the record straight, I am not unhappily trapped in a marriage. If anything, my marriage is the strongest source of support for my depression. I really don't believe my depression is directly related to my SGA. I've been diagnosed with clinical depression for two years. I've been attracted to men for over 20 years.

My depression hit all of sudden, out of the blue, no rhyme or reason. I woke up one morning in total fear of having to get out of bed and go to work. Since then, it's been the most bizarre and intriguing journey. I would never have guessed it would happen to me. I've always been happy and easy going. There are days that I can't imagine why I ever felt bad and I believe I will never feel bad agian. But then it hits again, an overwhelming darkness. I still don't have an explanation as to why I have mental illenss.

Of course there are many gay mormon guys that are depressed because of their SGA. They haven't been able to resolve the internal conflicts associated with it. I feel for these guys. For many it's difficult to find a path that works with being gay and Mormon, and then there are those who are also married. Yes, it can be a difficult road to travel.