As a new mom I’ve been needing a new show I can unwind to during naps or have playing in the background while getting things done around the house. So I’ve been binge watching Party of Five on Netflix and it has quickly become my go-to for said purposes. I’ve loved seeing little Owen grow up from baby to toddler in the first seasons, I liked seeing Julia come into her own, I even cheered Charlie on from the edge of the sofa when he decided to grow up and be a family man. I’ve enjoyed this show and it’s 90’s vibes, up until now that is.
I get that this is JUST a show and that I’m probably WAY too invested in these characters, but something happened last night as I watched fun, loveable Kirsten slip into a deep and dark depression. Something in me was irritated, mad even. At first I thought maybe it was just a “too close to home” sort of feeling, like looking at Kirsten sit on the floor in the corner of the room, just her and her emptiness, somehow reminded me of my own battle with depression and the times I too would sit on the floor empty and not able to move.
As I put Paxton to bed, I couldn’t get the show out of my mind. If you haven’t seen the show, well then this post is huge on spoiler alerts. Kirsten makes a mistake and loses her job and you watch her quickly spiral into a big, ugly depression. This is all after having a really… crappy… few years. Finding out she can’t have children, getting engaged only to have the wedding called off on the day of the wedding, finding out your parents’ marriage is going through hardship and to top it all off losing not only a job but your career. I totally get that this is a drama and obviously the writers have to play up this aspect to get a response… but I can’t help but think that there’s some truth to her character and even though it’s not real, my heart ached when I watched her hunched over in the dark not able to move or eat or even form proper sentences.
For me, my depression was a result of un resolved anxiety. I know all to well what a slippery slope looks like. I can say now that I am in a healthy place but that knowing what triggers my anxiety is the key to staying in a good place. When Charlie found a filled prescription of anti depressants, he confronted Kirsten in an outrage. She said she took them after their called off wedding and how the Holidays were just too hard on her own.
So here is where I have some issues. First off, why was Charlie horrified when finding the prescription? She couldn’t handle the weight of the holidays after being rejected on her wedding day… and besides that, she sought professional help when she felt like she couldn’t manage which resulted in regular visits with a psychiatrist and prescribed medication and that’s something to be angry about?! Now she’s lost her job and she is quickly spiralling and Charlie has no idea how to help her other then forcing her to come work at the family restaurant- hey, if you lose your career, something you’ve worked years building, it can be fixed by just coming to work somewhere else, right?? I get trying to help your loved one feel normal again, but by helping them you need to first address it for what it truly is so that depression’s ugliness doesn’t swallow you whole too.
I am so thankful that Nick saw the warning signs, the red flags and didn’t just dismiss them as “bumps in the road” for me. It was confronted from the beginning and he supported me as I sought professional help with counsellors and doctors. It wasn’t an easy fix but it would have been a whole heck of a lot worse if we pretended it would all just go away eventually.
As Kirsten sat in the dark, cold and sad, she tried to explain how she was feeling. Like buttoning up her shirt and missing a button was like how she was feeling on the inside. Something was missing; there is just a hole where a button should be.
My hope while writing this blog post, is that you’ll normalize this issue. That if you see the beginnings of anxiety or depression in yourself or in someone you care about, that getting help will be a priority and that no one would be made to feel less of a person for their battle in getting healthy. If you see a friend going through hard times like losing a job, a friend or a marriage, ask them how they are getting help. It’s so important that we encourage proper help before it turns into full on anxiety and depression. Stigma needs to be broken about getting counselling, taking medication and even talking freely about anxiety and depression. You are not weak. There isn’t something wrong with you. There is no shame here.
Life isn’t always a party; get the help you need.