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How 'Bohemian Rhapsody' Represents My Mental Health Journey

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Editor's Note

If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

This weekend I went to the cinema to watch “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the new film detailing the rock band Queen’s rise to fame and the highs and lows of it all. It was only after I watched it that I realized how much the relationship between Freddie Mercury (played by Rami Malek) and Paul (played by Allan Leech), alongside Freddie’s decision to go solo, group represented my ongoing mental health struggles.

So how does “Bohemian Rhapsody” represent my journey with my mental health? For those who haven’t seen the film, I will explain each moment as I go on, so please bear with me if it sounds muddled!

Initially, Freddie and Paul are acquaintances, working together on the production of Queen’s music. For me, Paul represents depression becoming an acquaintance of mine, gradually latching onto me and finding a place in me to stay. As time goes on, Freddie and Paul form a close relationship. This is when I became close “friends” (well, let’s just say we got closer) with my depression. Paul and Freddie spend a lot of time together. This was when depression (Paul) started affecting my day-to-day life. I began to spend more personal time with it. This came in the form of the usual symptoms: lack of motivation, fatigue, feelings of hopelessness.

The next significant thing that represented my journey in the film was when Paul persuades Freddie to leave Queen, his “family” as he previously describes them, and go for a solo career. This is the point in my journey that my depression convinced me I was being constantly annoying and disruptive to everyone with my ongoing feelings of loneliness and no one cared for me. I started to shut people out because I thought I could manage better on my own. And I didn’t want to be a “burden” to anyone else. In reality, it was just my depression telling me this, but I believed it and suffered for it.

Freddie and Paul move in together, and gradually Paul begins mentally abusing Freddie by slowly isolating him from anything other than his work and him. At a time when I’m really struggling, depression and anxiety abuse me. They tell me I’m not good enough, that I always need to work harder, that I’ll never achieve anything. At my darkest times they told me there was no point to living. Gradually they isolated me from the rest of the world. I began not answering concerned calls or telling people I was busy when in reality I just didn’t want to be a “burden” to them. Similar to this is the behavior of Paul, who doesn’t let Freddie see anyone or anyone come and see him, thus taking him away from all the people who love and care about him.

The peak of this is when Freddie is just lying on the sofa, realizing he is physically ill, and Mary (his ex-partner but whom he is still close to) comes around to try and work out what’s happening. Through her questioning, she causes Freddie to realize the harm Paul has caused to him. For me, this is when I realize again that I’m not well, which often materializes in my realization of my dependence on self-harm and my complete disregard and lack of care for myself. Mary (aka the few people who still have faith in me) are the ones who try to pull me out of my depression and bring me back into reality.

Where this representations differs from me is here: When Freddie realizes Paul was actively trying to isolate him and keep him out of everything, Freddie, after a scene of high tension between the two of them, leaves Paul and manages to rebuild his former life and perform again. That is where I struggle. When I’m in the midst of depressed episode/period and my mind is racing with anxiety, I can’t see a way out, I can’t see how anything will ever get better. All I can do is wait it out and hope it leaves me so I can become “me” again. I hope as I continue with this battle I will eventually be able to leave it behind as Freddie did, but until that point, all I can do is keep fighting and never stop.

Image via YouTube.

Originally published: February 8, 2019
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