*Disclaimer* I am not a mental health professional nor can I offer any medical advice.*
I suffer from depression. I didn’t realize it for a long time. I thought I was just angry and quick to temper. My mom used to say it was the Irish in my blood and for a long time, I believed it. I mean, what did I have to be depressed about? I’ve always had a loving family, and aside from the normal everyday stressors, nothing was bad in my life. I was eventually diagnosed in 2014 and started getting the help I needed. Then it dawned on me: I’m not alone. And without realizing it, I saw characters on screen that were suffering as I had been.
For the purpose of this post, I’m only going to touch on characters, I’m familiar with. The Lords of Kobol know there are many out there that I haven’t seen or read about.
I think the first character I remember being diagnosed with depression was Brock Hart on Reba. He kept it a secret from his family, and when they found out, they were confused. Especially his wife. “You have a loving wife, a beautiful baby, and a great job.” Which is what a lot of sufferers hear. But it’s not about the good things in life. You can have everything you’ve ever wanted and yet still be depressed.
My favorite episode of Doctor Who touches on depression. “Vincent and the Doctor” makes me cry every time I watch it. History tells us that Van Gogh was depressed and DW does a great job depicting his struggles. That episode aired in 2010 and I think that’s when I first started to realize that something was wrong my brain.
Recently my biggest go-to depressed character is Jasper on the CW’s The 100. From the moment he landed on Earth his life was one crap-shoot after another. From getting speared in the chest to watching his girlfriend die. It wasn’t until Maya’s death that he finally spiraled out of control. Many fans surmised that he had PTSD. Season 3 saw him with a knife to the throat, and he didn’t even care.
One of the best examples, at least in my opinion, is It’s a Wonderful Life. Yeah, it’s a Christmas movie about being thankful for what you have. But think about it: George was willing to die because he thought the world would be better off had he never existed. This is something that Depression will lie to you about. In the end, he realizes life is better with him in it. Not everyone is so lucky in real life.
I’ve been told that You’re the Worst and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend are prime examples of characters living with depression but haven’t watched them yet. But you can bet they’re on my To-Watch list.
Depression is an illness. Some of us respond to treatment while others struggle no matter what they do. If you, or someone you know, struggle with depression, please know that you are not alone. Below are some helpful links.
If there are any movies or TV shows that I’ve missed, I welcome any and all comments.