If I were thinking clearly, Leonard, I would tell you that I wrestle alone in the dark, in the deep dark, and that only I can know. Only I can understand my condition. You live with the threat, you tell me you live with the threat of my extinction. Leonard, I live with it too.(The Hours)
This quote was spoken by the Virginia Woolf character in the 2002 movie The Hours, adapted from a book written by Michael Cunningham.
I remember exactly what it felt like watching this movie. I recall the absolute awe I had in experiencing the power of it. When we left the theater I cried all the way home. I don’t mean a few tears, I mean sobbing, barely able to catch my breath type of crying. I didn’t know it then, but I identified so deeply with the characters and their suffering. I was in the midst of a brutal depression. I was not really functioning. This movie cut right to my heart.
Not long ago, I sat in the house bored and flipping thru channels on the TV. I found myself watching The Hours. It was a very strange experience. It seemed so odd to me. I felt no connection to it whatsoever. It was uncomfortable to watch. When the scene arrived where Virginia confronts Leonard on the train platform, and speaks the quote above, I realized how far I had come from where I was in 2002. Back then when she spoke these words, I felt as if someone was channeling my thoughts. Pulling them from deep in my head and putting them in the mouth of this actress. It is not that I don’t feel it has a significance to me, it still very much rings true to me. I do not however have the same emotional tie to it I once did. It does not have that special tether to my heart and head it did back in 2002.
This speaks volumes about how we experience depressed vs. non-depressed life. Depression colors how we see things. How we experience even the minutia of everyday life. It especially alters the reality of life and how we find our way along its path. Depression can make things important to us that would otherwise have little to no meaning, like myself and the quote from The Hours. It is this altering of our reality that makes depression so dangerous. Viewing life from inside the bell jar is an awful experience. It takes a moment like this one, watching a movie again 10 years later to really snap that into focus. I need more moments like that. They are imperative to my survival.