I was cruising through different channels on my Roku the other night and I came across “My Depression: The up and down and up of it. It was a musical cartoon voiced by Sigourney Weaver as Elizabeth Swados and Steve Buscemi as Suicidal Thoughts. This is based on Elizabeth Swados’ memoir My Depression: A Picture Book. Its less than 30 minutes long and it’s cute, humorous and at times a mirror to my own experience. The main difference is she sees her depression as a dark overhanging cloud whereas I see myself as the cloud. I looked Elizabeth Swados up in Wikipedia and was shocked to see she had passed away. I quickly looked for the cause and was relieved (I know that’s a bad choice of words) to see she died from complications of surgery, not suicide. The movie is bitterly truthful about the hold negativity exerts on the tired soul of a depressed person and the absolute hopelessness which keeps you mired in your own emotional detritus. Suicidal Thoughts took her on a wild ride ostensibly over a cliff but she got out before the ride came to a sudden stop. Sortta hit home.
But she WON!! Perhaps viewing depression as a competition to “win” is a little too simplistic for those of us who are on a constant teeter-totter between medication and life reorientation. Keeping the bats out of the belfry and working to see life without the discoloration of depression isn’t black/white as win/lose but every shade of gray, red, yellow and blue in the rainbow. “Winning”, also, has its own negative connotations thanks to other celebrities and their mental musings in media. I realize It’s easy for me to be flippant on this side of the void. My story is here for the reading and I’m posting the link to Youtube below so if you want to watch the 29:58 minute video you can.
The movie premiered at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival and was received very well.
The New York Times described the film “as charming and whimsical a discussion of depression as you’re likely to find… it’s honest and forthright as it talks about a condition often misunderstood and misrepresented.” BroadwayWorld commented, “Simultaneously heartfelt and entertaining, My Depression illuminates the symptoms, emotions and side effects of the disorder through witty animation, comedy and unique musical numbers.Wikipedia
Depression was accepted as an illness at the time of the movie but it was still said in hushed tones and only really spoken aloud among the afflicted. TV commercials were prevalent and horrifying with their sotto voce side effects droned over people miraculously returning to their old perfect lives after a single dose. I’ve found the best amelioration is knowing although each experience is unique to the person, we are not alone. And we need to tell our stories to each other by voice, by blog, by email or in film. It’s a reverse communicable disease, we get better by sharing.