When I started to write a post about mental health the other day I deviated. I was supposed to write about mental health in general and ended up just pouring my heart onto the page. So back to the original post…
I have many wonderful and talented friends who my life crosses with for fun, creatively and also with work. A few years ago a former student of mine introduced me to Katie, as we both had Lupus in common (I guess the disease is good for something). Immediately we got it, the whole chronic illness thing and everything that comes with it. To make it even better she’s a fellow creative soul.
We collaborated a few times in our quest for invisible illness advocacy and creative therapy. Over the past year Katie has been away studying for her screen writing MA. We’ve missed having her around but the best thing is that she’s been growing her amazing talent. I know it’s not been easy with battling the daily illness thing and the lack of support she’s had. That just makes it more inspirational that she wrote and directed an amazing short film, Bubble.
In Bubble we meet Erica and Paul, a couple struggling. ‘Erica’s desperate to burst Paul out of his depression, but on the first day he takes medication, she pushes too hard.’ The film is not really about the depression or how it manifests. It is about a couple and how their relationship copes with the the effects of depression.
‘The representation of Depression in modern media is so often the sad person, who takes medication, and is sad. The human experience of a mental health problem, for both the sufferer and loved ones observing, is much more complex.
When spending long periods of time with a loved one experiencing Depression, I realised I had no idea how to help, or how to act around him when a black mood descended. I realised I was making things worse, but had no guidance on how else to be. It was then that I realised that there are no examples of stories or films that I knew of which exemplified what I should or could do for my loved one who was suffering so clearly but so internally.
Bubble endeavours to be one such example.’
I knew a little about what had inspired her and she told me a little more :
‘Two things really. Firstly I watched other short films and wanted to have a go to see what I could manage. And secondly I struggled to know how I could help friends with their depression, so wanted to explore that.’
The film is a snapshot into understanding mental health from all angles. It cleverly puts emphasis on the couple rather than the illness. I think this comes from Katie’s innate understanding of invisible illnesses of all kind. After all we all live with, and experience the the illness someone has when we are close and care. We all learn to cope with it and don’t always get everything right. Invisible illness needs to be talked about, accepted and challenged.
Ohh and I almost forget to mention it, Bubble is up for an award. It’s part of the Nottingham International Microfilm Festival Audience Award. You can watch and vote for it here: