Saturday, November 17, 2012

Melancholia: Inspiration for a difficult post.

I know I don't generally do reviews of movies. But this isn't quite a review, so you should read anyways. ;-)

I've watched Melancholia several times over the last few days. In fact, it's on as I write this. If you haven't heard about this movie, it's definitely worth a watch. It's definitely not the kind of movie that we see very often. Well, I don't anyways.

Despite what I'm going to tell you after this paragraph, I want to say that I really do love this movie. It's very different (as I said before), and it's fascinating. It mainly focuses on two sisters and their life just before (and during) a world-ending event. Literally. A rogue planet passing by and then eventually looping around and hitting Earth. It's obviously not a happy movie, but it's a beautiful and well-done movie. It has a fantastic cast (Helloooo Alexander Skarsgard ♥), and despite chunks of general inactivity, the story was great.

Now for the harder stuff.

This movie was extremely difficult for me to watch. Some movies are really uncomfortable at times, but this one really got to me and made me squirm in my chair.

The first reason for this is that I've had nightmares that involved me watching some planet/giant asteroid/etc smashing into Earth. Sometimes, that's where I woke up. Others, I couldn't wake up. Those were the most horrifying to be trapped in.

The second? This movie is one of the most honest portrayals of what heavy depression is like. One sister is "normal." The other has extreme melancholic depression.

Do you what it's like to have heavy depression? I'm not meaning there are days/weeks that you're just abnormally sad. I'm meaning full-blown debilitating depression. I have struggled with depression for most of my memorable life. Sometimes it's not so bad and I feel like I can handle it. Others ... Well ...

If you answered "no" to the above question, let me tell you what it's like, from my experience. Naturally, every case is different. But these are what I know for sure.

On good days, you're seemingly normal. On the outside. On the inside, you want to scream. You might have an excellent day, where you feel perfect and awesome. Those days are pretty few and far-between.

On bad days, you want to scream even louder. You might try to hide, but you do your best to pretend to be normal. Usually, you fail.

On the worst days ... Well, those are intense. These are days where you go through periods where you are unable to function. You can't eat, sleep, talk, get out of bed, or bathe yourself.

You go through days where it seems that no one understands what's going on. And most of them don't. "Cheer up emo kid." "It's not that bad." "You shouldn't let yourself get so upset." "There's nothing for you to cry about." "You're just making things harder on yourself." Any of these sound familiar? You will hear them constantly on your bad days. They make you want to go even further into hiding before you lash out. People think they're trying to help by saying these. Unfortunately, you won't see it that way. They really unintentionally make things worse on you. You'll either be angry at their words or you'll feel like a failure of a human being. Both of which are counter-productive feelings.

You try to find something that'll cheer you up. Usually, the more simplistic things help. Reading a book. Writing. Building things with Legos. Playing with modeling clay. Climbing a tree. Hanging out with a trusted friend. Spending time with your kids.

These don't always work. Some days are beyond the help of those.

Some days, it's hard to even function. Some days it's difficult or impossible to eat, sleep, talk, get out of bed, or even bathe.

Some days, everything is too intense for you to handle. Others, you feel so numb, you're not sure if you're still even alive. This is why some people start cutting. The bite of the blade feels less painful than your inner pain. And if you're bleeding then surely, you're still living. At least that's how you'll see it.

Socially ...

Well, some days it's hard to talk to anyone. You learn early on how to pick the friends who will stand by you even on the worst days. It's extremely important if you don't want to become completely anti-social, which might just make your depression worse.

Most days, things will be fine with your friends. But when you argue with them (as friends eventually do), you will take it worse than you otherwise would. Or you will drop them completely, because it's easier on you. But that inevitably makes your small circle that much smaller.

That's just what you think of other people. Would you like to hear what people think of you?

Usually they think you're bitchy and self-centered. They think you're lazy and unreliable. Most think you're weird, and very few think of "weird" as a complimentary term. Sometimes you're told that you're irritating and hated. A few of your own family members think you're on drugs. Even when you're not and have never used any in your life.

Some things will make you cry so easily. Some things will upset you to no end, but you won't be able to shed a single tear. People don't like either response. They think you're childish or uncaring.

You might seem extremely quiet and reserved. Everyone around you will think you just know everything, sometimes before it happens. You don't. You're just extremely observant. You watch everything around you so often that everything develops a pattern. People think it's weird for you to notice.

How do you think of yourself?

Well, that varies from person to person and day to day. You might contemplate suicide. You might not. You might have to fight with yourself to avoid committing homicide. You might not. As I said, it varies from person to person and day to day.

Generally speaking, you don't fear death. You might wish for it. You might just see it as a part of life and something that can't be avoided. You will cry at very few funerals, increasing that outside view of you being self-centered and heartless.

There will be times where you think that the moment you're in, if that were your last, it would be okay. They might be happy moments. They might be intense or painful moments.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. This is the type of depression portrayed in Melancholia.

So why am I telling you guys all about this? Awareness, really. Depression in its many forms is frighteningly common. Sometimes it's temporary. Sometimes, like mine, it's a lifelong struggle.

The likelihood that you can tell just by looking at someone? Pretty slim. Unless you know them extremely well. Even then, only that person knows how severe it is for them. It's different for everyone. Perhaps you shouldn't be so quick to judge.

A few links for both the movie and melancholic depression:


  1. I admire your honesty, you're an inspiration ... strong and courageous ... kudos for you :) n x

  2. Thank you, Ngaire. That means a lot. :-)