Something is not right with Jessa Duggar.
Fans think that she is, among other things, depressed.
And they're pretty sure that they know why.
As fans note, Jessa was forced to forgive Josh for molesting her by the fundamentalist cult in which she was raised.
She endured trauma without closure or real counseling, and was forced to hide what she endured to help her parents save face.
And that's only one piece of the puzzle of Jessa's traumatic childhood.
According to this fan theory, Jessa's messy house isn't just laziness or the realities of being a parent, it's a symptom.
Take a look:
Jessa ... are you okay?
For a while, now, fans have been concerned about Jessa's mental health, and with good reason
Sure, she puts on a show
All Duggar women are taught to gaze longingly and adoringly at their lord husbands and to "make themselves available" to suit their man's needs. But constant fake smiling is just an act, and one that many depressed people put on day in and day out to put family and coworkers at ease.
The real Jessa is struggling
In video after video, Jessa shows her deeply messy home. While yes, she's a mother of three, some fans on social media (including folks who themselves have depression) think that the effects of lingering trauma are making it hard for Jessa to put in real effort when it comes to tidying up.
This theory makes a lot of sense
"She’s a victim of sexual assault and what’s more, she has to interact with her coddled, favored abuser on a regular basis," a Reddit user correctly notes.
There are also life circumstances at play
As the Reddit post notes: "She’s a married mother of three young children who is dependent on her parents for financial support."
Jessa's home looks like a cry for help
"Jessa seems indifferent to her dirty house, her ten month-old not having her own crib, the Christmas tree still out in March, etc," the post reads. "And I’m sure we all remember her infamous IG post with the pile of used diapers, dust everywhere, the filthy HVAC filter and so on."
Depressed fans can relate
"Everyone is different, of course," the post acknowledges, "but I know when I’m suffering from a particularly bad bout, keeping the house functionally clean seems nearly impossible."
And there's more
While Josh Duggar's sexual predation upon his little sisters is infamous, the Duggar children were also victims of physical abuse, as countless fans have pointed out. The Duggars and their cult believe in corporal punishment, which is not only immoral, but inflicts trauma and can cause lifelong mental health problems in people who were hurt by the ones who were supposed to love and protect them.
It all adds up ...
The Reddit post concludes: "I’m wondering if growing up in the cult, being a sexual abuse victim, being financially controlled and having a trio of young kids is contributing to Jessa being depressed"
Some other fans chimed in
A reply reads: "Just a personal note. I grew up fundie myself & when my parents took me to a Christian counselor, I was given the great advice that "depression was a sin". When I was older I found myself a REAL therapist who helped me with actual therapy and meds." We are glad that this person was able to get real help.
The Duggars would behave similarly
As we have all seen, the Duggars believe that their fundamentalist religious beliefs are the best medicine. This, and the desire to save face, is why they covered up Josh's crimes and sent him to religious counseling instead of, you know, real qualified counselors. From home births to nasty cover-ups, they've made it clear that they want to handle things with their church, not with professionals who can actually help.
The mess may go deeper than it seems
"When you are sexually abused as a kid," another commenter writes, "you get really good at compartmentalizing because you have to be. You can tune out things in your environment that others can’t."
It helps at the time, but ...
"It’s a survival skill," the comment continues, "but unfortunately without therapy it turns into avoidance in ways that are less productive. So I can absolutely believe that Jessa simply doesn’t 'see' the mess in her home the way someone without her trauma background might."
Yet another way that her parents failed her
The comment concludes: "Yet another reason why her family is the worst for not getting her therapy from a non-religious, competent counselor a long time ago."
So what does that mean?
If you've ever wondered why people seem to be able to function in traumatic situations, from battlefields to childhood homes, yet break down AFTER they're safe, it's because the P in PTSD is kind of a sick joke.
Survival skills exist within a context
Let's say that, as a child, you learned that footsteps in the hall late at night meant that something terrible was going to happen to you, or that a slammed car door outside meant that your abusive parent was coming home in a foul mood. That's a survival skill. Then you go out into the world and live with people who truly love you, but you are hardwired to react to those noises, which are now just innocuous and harmless, like a traumatized veteran reacts to fireworks. That's PTSD.
So as this applies to Jessa ...
We don't know what specific triggers she may have, but between physical and sexual abuse, the coping skills that helped her to survive as a child may now be holding her back from leading a healthy, happy life.
And then there's the depression
Many of us know people who experience chemical depression. That's a chronic problem on a neurotransmitter level. But there can be environmental causes to depression, and trauma is certainly one of them.
Just look at how she was raised
If you ignore the horrors of the more obvious abuses for a moment, you know that Jessa and her siblings were raised under strictly controlled circumstances. They had no freedoms, no real choices, and very little leisure. They certainly had no privacy.
What does this do?
Essentially, it can lead someone to feel resigned to their fate. It then becomes difficult to motivate yourself towards anything, even on a chemical level, because you are so accustomed to just accepting the choices that have been made for you.
So, as it applies to Jessa
This could make it harder for her to bond with her children, no matter how much she loves them. This could make it harder for her to clean up after them, especially when the same messes -- as is not unusual with children -- happen day after day. If Jessa is depressed, she is more easily overwhelmed and defeated than someone who is not.
So what does she need?
Ideally? A new, better childhood with parents capable of loving her and respecting her as a person. Jim Bob and Michelle cannot and will not do either. Taking years of therapy after leaving home and before having kids could have helped her to process what she endured, but that is not the fundamentalist way. She was married off and started popping out babies, as ordered.
Jessa is not alone
Fans believe -- as is only natural -- that she is not the only siblings who is traumatized and likely depressed from a combination of Josh's sex crimes and their parents' physical, mental, and emotional abuse. It would be amazing to see just one of them go to therapy and become well, but we know that this is why Jim Bob uses his wealth to control his adult sibling. Go to a secular therapist and address what happened to you honestly? Well, Daddy Dearest is going to cut you off.