A couple of months ago, I spent some time playing with one of the virtual cameras James Cameron used to make Avatar.
The camera was, well, it was amazing. When you looked into it, you could see straight into a different world. If you looked up, you saw the sky. If you looked down, you saw the ground. You could spin around 360 degrees and see the “landscape” that surrounded you.
There was no sound, but the colors, the textures, they were all there. It seemed real.
We need the world’s artists, filmmakers and IT magicians to replicate that experience. To, in fact, take it one step further and create a virtual reality in every sense of the word. But it wouldn’t show the viewer the brilliant landscape of a science fiction world. Instead, it would immerse the beholder in the dank, dreary world of a depressed person.
The colors would be flat. No brilliant blue waterfalls or verdant green hills here. Everything would be done in shades of gray. The sun. The sky. Even the children’s faces.
The sounds would be altered. Laughter would sound like sobs. A dog’s bark would sound like a howl. Even the sound of a loved one calling the camera holder’s name would sound distorted. Accusatory.
There would have to be a feeling of heaviness too. The viewer’s feet would be weighted down with boulders. Her shoulders bent under a heavy backpack. Her head dragged downward by an inexplicable gravitational force.
And if the makers were really talented, they’d insert voices inside the viewer’s head. They’d whisper thoughts of worthlessness. Of self hatred. Of anger toward anyone and everyone who dared to be happy.
They’d loop in an endless soundtrack of hopelessness, and work to convince their victim that the world would be better off without her.
And it wouldn’t end until the person being subjected to the experience was broken and begging for release.
Sounds harsh, I know. But perhaps if something like that existed? We could stop having ridiculous conversations like the one going on over on Katie Couric Facebook page today, talking about how mothers who take antidepressants are weak-willed little pansies incapable of dealing with the day to day stress that comes with living.
Because after you’ve lived through that? I’d be willing to bet that you would never again call a person who suffers from depression weak.
Depression is a merciless illness that attacks you in a place where you have no defenses – inside your own damn brain. Most of the time you don’t even realize what’s happening until it’s too late. Until you’ve been sucked down so deep you can’t even see the sun anymore.
Finding the will to fight back, to punch back the demons and reach for the happiness you’ve forgotten you deserve takes more strength, more f’ing chutzpah, than any of those superficial Holier-Than-Thous can even imagine.
Depression is not something to be ashamed of, any more than hypothyroidism or diabetes is something to be embarrassed about.
It’s a chronic illness. One that many of us keep in check only with the help of medication. Like Honest Mom, I am a better mom when I take my antidepressants. When I don’t? Well, it can get really hard to be a mom at all.
So, unless you’ve been there? Shut the fuck up. Please. We have enough critical voices screaming at us from right inside our own brains. We don’t need yours added to the chorus.