Disaster & Depression

Updated: Feb 1

In my dreams, colossal tidal waves loom slowly towards beaches and inland landscapes. Most times, I have enough time to escape them. When they do tower over me then, crest, I either wake up, or, oddly, surface without injury. As a kid, I had dreams about tornadoes. They would constantly approach but, I would end up realizing I was dreaming or was convinced it was reality but, never experienced the impact of the swirling winds.

Upon awakening from these dreams, I would be gripped by fear. Naturally, I became obsessed with them. So, I studied tornadoes, banged out an excellent Senior Project about them and now I rarely dream of twisters. I researched what the meaning behind the giant waves in my dreams meant. Thats a topic for another time. I've loved Disaster films as much as horror movies. Whats the difference actually? I'm the awesome one who turned on San Andres after the Ridgecrest Earthquakes last year. As if I wasn't rattled enough, right? But, thats what I do, I find horror and disaster movies way more informative than the advice given by the media.

When the previews for the movie 2012 came out, they scared the shit out of me! It was if the images from my dreams were being projected onto my TV. Now, as it's one of my favorite disaster flicks, I often go back to 2012 when I do disaster movie marathons. Most having to do with asteroids striking the planet and climate change calamities. Few films regarding viral outbreaks ever phased me. Although, most of the "infectious" movies I do watch result in the microscopic killers turning victims into zombies. Films like Outbreak and Contagion were merely entertaining, in my opinion. But, in the back of mind, I always doubted the reality that things like that could actually happen. It was too obvious, too easy to spot and easy to intervene. After all, we have survived most modern day outbreaks like the H1N1, SARS and hell, the 2018 flu pandemic. We've got a handle on these things right? Ha!

I've pondered these situations. At times, I had nothing better to do than obsess over them. I was finally convinced that if we were to be faced with any kind of worldwide disaster, it would either because of climate change or, war and lastly cosmic. Climate change definitely being the most likely. I didn't take the outbreak of the Coronavirus outbreak in China seriously. I was more worried about the flu. Then I got the flu. I survived the flu. While I felt like utter shit, I did enjoy resting and catching up on movies. It felt good to do nothing while my body was at war with a common virus. I didn't get any bout of depression while I was down. When I felt better, I took pride in cleaning my house and getting things going again. I felt purposeful but, the machine that is me didn't take the time to continue to rest, cleanse my energy or, ground myself. I just went full force into attending events and getting together with the people I love. It all happened so fast.

Now, as I sit here accepting that life will be very different for the next eight to ten weeks and they are progressively getting worse, I am reminded of a film that displays how people with severe depression handle disasters. Before, I get into talking about the movie, let me just first say that the last two weeks have been tense and dreary, despite the smile on face in all the pictures on Instagram. Quite too many of the people I love had shitty things happening to them. One friend had her car stolen. Just the night before her money card was compromised and her funds weren't all available. Three of my close friends, and even one of my kids had heart wrenching break ups. There was a looming and, heavy energy lingering over me and them. Through out the heaviness, I sucked it up and took care of everyone as best as I could. It certainly has left me drained.

Then, just a few days ago, life changed overnight. It pissed me off. I couldn't comprehend why the fuck, I wasn't given a choice to decide if I was to be exposed to COVID-19. After all, the numbers and risk seemed too small to take such extreme measures. Everything I had planned for had been cancelled. The epic 40th Birthday plans I had been making for a long time had stripped from me. All within moments. The bands, artists, creators and producers that I love are screwed financially. My heart is broken for them. I got mad, I got sad and the darkness came. I felt so guilty and, humiliated by being so sure 2020 was going to shift things, positively, for me and my circle. For those I feel the most connected to. But, here we are. It's only March and the entire world is facing a crisis and, it keeps getting worse. The Extrovert in me only surfaced in the Fall. That version of me needs a little rest while the Introvert in me is thrilled that its currently rainy in SoCal, there will be more time for meditation, rituals, books I've been dying to read and, of corpse, writing. I am amused at the the thought that it took a global crisis to stop me in tracks and remind me to breathe.

One of the three films in Lars Von Trier's depression trilogy, Melancholia, speaks volumes on how depression effects people in good times and bad. The film is beautiful and so, terrifying. When I tell people, "beautiful things are created out of darkness." I am thinking of Melancholia as an example. Lars Von Trier nailed the struggle, as he suffers from severe depression; and he made an alluring visual out of it. But, it's the character Justine that truly speaks to me.

Played by Kirsten Dunst, Justine can't find seem to feel an ounce of happiness in traditions most of society measures one's success. She's got a great job, she's marrying a handsome bloke, and her sister's husband is footing the bill for the extravagant affair. As the wedding rituals commence, there are delay after delays due to Justine's constant running off. It seems she is being selfish and ungrateful. However, everyone that is at the head of every facet of Justine's life is hounding her. Pressuring her. Pulling her in different directions throughout the ceremony. Her boss, who seems to be offering a speech to congratulate her marriage, ends up giving Justing a deadline (the end of the wedding festivities) for a tagline. He is relentless and is the devil whispering in Justine's ear all night. Her narcissistic Mother and Father offer little to no parental comfort or helpful advice. Her Brother In Law, the one paying for the entire wedding, reminds me of a toxic family member I know too damn well. , John, played by Kiefer Sutherland, continuously reminds Justine and her Sister, Claire about how much he spent on the wedding, how ungrateful Justine is and how his wife's entire family are "bat shit crazy."I sympathized with Justine from the moment I saw the light leave her eyes. She was barely able to open them at some point in the her chapter of the film. She tries to clear her head with methods of isolation and meditation but, as with most of us suffering from depression understand, it takes more than just a few minutes. We become so exhausted. It's often impossible to "flip the switch" when you're already falling deep into the darkness.

Justine ends up no longer married by dawn. Debilitated by her disease, Justine ends up in the care of her Sister, Claire; played by Charlotte Gainsbourg and once again John. All of Claire's attempts to uplift her Sister fail. Even with the things that once made Justine happy. But, when the reality sets in that Earth is going to collide with the rouge planet, Melancholia, its Justine who becomes the most accepting of her fate and the fate of the entire planet. The acceptance of humanity's doom eased Justine out of the pit. She even made time to bathe in the light of Melancholia the night before it hit Earth. When the time came, it was Justine who calmed her nephew as two worlds literally collided.

While things may seem dire, I do believe we really will be ok. I, personally, can't stand being told what to do. Especially, in Trump's America. That high budget horror story won't end as it is but, I cannot see myself putting anyone I care about in danger. I am still in a funk, I expect to be, but, I am not feeling paralyzed nor, do I feel compelled to stay in bed all day. Creative work is flowing, I've been cooking again. I've been jotting down my conspiracy theories (they are going to make such good stories) I've been conversing with a musician from Italy and I am still making new connections on social media and nurturing older ones. Still attracting and still manifesting! We do have to make it a point to reach out our creative friends, our families and offer any support we can muster. Even when I feel like utter shit, its imperative I talk with my closest friends. I believe when things resume, small business, bands and more creatives will feel the biggest burden and more division will be the result. But, this is what creatives do. They endure and keep strong through struggle and make beautiful things when they come out of the pit. Maybe the countless people who suffer from depression, anxiety and, other mental health disorders will be the ones to shed light in what will be dark times for people not used to living in constant fear.

Sometimes it takes disaster to make standard society see that all the things they really thought were important, don't mean shit. At any moment the things we enjoy and the routines we follow get disrupted. For the comfortable and complacent, fear becomes the ultimate weapon. For those of us who are always living in a state of despondency, even when things that once made us happy or, assumed made us happy, simply don't. We don't always welcome disaster. But, we are the ones who become the light in the darkness. We are the ones that make the memes, and shed light on the situation. We will paint the pictures for you and, give you all the advice on how to become an introvert. Thanks to a lifetime of watching horror and disaster films (still wondering if they are the same) we can also give survival tips. Or, at the very least, give you a list of horror and disaster flicks.

I want to hear from you. What horror/disaster films have you been watching?

34 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
  • Grey Instagram Icon

© 2023 Michelle Halloween