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How Bella in 'New Moon' Perfectly Explains the Different Stages of My Depression

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This weekend, I was watching the “Twilight” series for the umpteenth time. As I sat back to enjoy the second installment, “New Moon,” it occurred to me once again how beautifully it depicts my depression.

Near the beginning of the movie, our hero, Edward, breaks up with our heroine, Bella. The shock of his rejection (I’ve written about how the fear of rejection and abandonment affects my relationship with my husband) causes a shock that shakes Bella entirely, and she sinks to the ground into a stillness like death. But she is not dead, though she may wish it. That is how my depression starts. A sinking, and a stillness like death.

In the most poignant “art reflecting life” scene, Bella sits in her room and stares out the window while time, seasons and people pass her by. That stillness continues so that I am detached from life and all that goes on around me. I tend to simply lie in bed and watch TV, doing only what is absolutely necessary in life. Grooming falls by the wayside, as do responsibilities and relationships.

In an email, Bella writes, “the pain lets me know that he was real, that you all were.” I gravitate towards sad movies and sad songs, seemingly reveling in the depth of my pain, but it’s only to remind myself that what I’m feeling is real, and that I still exist.

My sleep is disturbed. Bella screams as if in pain, waking her father who comes to comfort her. He rises off the sofa, where it’s become a habit for him to sleep so he can go to her in the night. I sleep too much, or not enough. Nightmares come, and my sleep is never peaceful.

Bella eats lunch alone. She doesn’t spend time with her friends anymore. She doesn’t spend time with anyone. I stay at home. I isolate. I avoid phone calls and any face-to-face meeting. It takes too much energy, and I don’t have enough to even walk around the house. I don’t have enough energy to see the sunshine or play with my cats, I certainly don’t have enough to fake a smile or a laugh for the world.

Bella’s father has had enough. He wants her to move back with her mom in Jackonsville, Florida. Bella doesn’t want change. She insists she still sees her friends and makes plans with one to prove it. My family worries. They try to fix it for me. They make me join them on outings, and they encourage me to do things out of the house. They make doctor’s appointments and find treatments. They want to be proactive, because it causes them pain to witness mine. I fake it the best I can. I smile, I go out. It exhausts me and leaves me witnessing the stark contrast between their reality and mine. But I fake it, hoping that soon I will make it.

Just as Bella becomes an adrenaline junkie, I try anything that may jolt me out of my despair, even if it’s using poor judgment that I do so. But sometimes, in that search, I connect with someone or something. Like Bella does with Jacob, I spend time with someone or doing something that lets me forget my despair. I take what Bella’s father says to heart, “Sometimes you’ve got to learn to love what’s good for you.” I cling to those moments of light and use them to slowly crawl out of the darkness, back into my life.

Header image via “Twilight Saga” Facebook page

Originally published: July 24, 2018
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