This week I wanted to write about something a bit different than usual. A week or so ago I finished binging HBO’s Euphoria. This how describes itself as “An American adaptation of the Israeli show of the same name, “Euphoria” follows the troubled life of 17-year-old Rue, a drug addict fresh from rehab with no plans to stay clean.” The primary character deals with addiction, depression, and manic episodes. I will start this off by shouting in all caps THIS SHOW CAN BE VERY TRIGGERING, so proceed with caution if you are planning to watch.
What I was surprised to find is how much I related to on several layers with this character. While I am not addicted to drugs, I use different variables to control when I am feeling less in control of what is around me. This has bubbled up as anorexia and bulimia historically (which I am incredibly thankful to be 6+ years into remission for), drinking (in the past), and more presently list-making and organization. I still find myself attempting to unplug my brain in a multitude of ways when I get into depressive states. I also experience a wave of high highs and low lows regularly.
What this show also triggered for me is a glamorization at times of these mental health issues. This has been something I have seen for some time from Girl Interrupted when I was in high school to 13 Reasons Why today. It can be confusing to try to find the answer to what is the right balance here. As my readers know, I am a big believer in normalizing the conversation about mental health issues in general. I believe this extends to all ages, genders, and humans in general. However, I also feel uncomfortable with trying to make any of these issues “sexy.” As someone that actively struggles with depression and anxiety, I can confirm it is not sexy or cool at all. It is hard, exhausting and often downright ugly. I also find that it is easy to be “seduced” into old habits when viewing particular material if I am not careful. I don’t have the answers here, and I am not suggesting these shows should not be made by any means (I am a high key huge fan of Euphoria and think it is a beautifully made and essential in many ways to shine a light on addiction and mental illness). I do believe we need to be cautious and aware of a ripple effect content can have in general.
I am curious if any of you find shows that touch on mental health or triggering subjects more helpful or harmful? What do you think the right balance is?
As a side note, lots of interesting changing variables are coming up in life, and I am nervous but hopeful. I am looking forward to chatting about this in the upcoming weeks. Thanks for checking in, and I will talk with you next Thursday ❤