I loved the novel Passing by Nella Larsen so I gave the new Netflix adaptation a look last night. The film is worth watching but didn’t fully express the psychological complexity so effectively explored by Larsen in her 1929 novel. Reflecting on why the book made such an impact on me in college, I realized how relevant the thematic content is for depression sufferers. Like most people with depression, I engage in performative deception when I’m out in the world.
I don’t walk around with my head in my hands on the bad days. The only time you’ll find me in a physical posture of despair is on the subway and I’m in good company there.
Instead, I get out of bed early every morning, get dressed, and talk like a person unfamiliar with the shadowy valleys of clinical depression.
I came across a study recently that found 1 in 5 people diagnosed with depression are flourishing a decade after diagnosis (10%). I want strangers to think I am one of those lucky few.
But in the confines of home, I am prone to succumbing to the numbness and fear I spent the day concealing. And despite the complete comfort I have with transparency online, you’ll never catch me staring into space in a restaurant or at a party because that could get me caught.
I’ve often wished with the purest sincerity that I could be more open about my moods. What would the benefit of such transparency be to me personally? I don’t really know. It’s not that I want sympathy but I would like to feel a mutual understanding exists between me and the world.
I’ve started this community to make private pain more public. It’s both altruistic and selfish because I view this platform like a runway on which I’m building up enough speed to get air born.
Realizing my dream of cultural acceptance, or at least understanding, requires others to join me. A great many others. Start here and end soaring.
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