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How 'BoJack Horseman' Normalized Weight Gain and Antidepressants

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Editor's Note

The following article includes spoilers from the sixth and final season of BoJack Horseman.

Do you use humor to cope? The Mental Health Memes group is for you.

Diane Nguyen, one of BoJack’s best friends, faces a lot of trials and stress throughout the entire TV series. At the height of her depression, she is freshly divorced, left her job to write her own book, chopped her hair off and moved to a new city with her boyfriend, Guy. All these stressors trigger a depressive episode.

In season 6, episode 7 titled “The Face of Depression,” Guy doesn’t think he should go on a work trip because of Diane’s growing depression.

Guy: It seems pretty unimportant in light of what you’ve been dealing with.

Diane: What I’ve been dealing with?

Guy: Your psychiatrist says you’re depressed.

Diane: Okay, yeah, I’ve been a little depressed but I’m not like “depressed.” I don’t “have” depression.

Guy: You’re smoking three packs a day. You’ve been wearing the same pajama bottoms for weeks.

Diane: This is all part of my writing process. My best stuff comes out when I hate myself.

Guy: What stuff? No stuff is coming out. I’d feel better if you just tried the medication your doctor prescribed.

Diane: Well, it would make me feel worse. They put me on Prozac in college and I became so common boring… It sucks. It made me breakout. I gained weight. What if you leave and come back and you come back to this person you don’t even recognize?

Guy: I don’t even recognize you now.

Guy leaves for his work event. When he comes home, Diane is waiting to pick him up at the airport. She’s gained weight but she’s smiling. We then see Diane succeed as a fat person who has her depression under control. There’s no workout montage or rigorous diet she follows to lose the weight she put on. None of her friends mention the weight gain or treat her differently because of it. She’s fat and she’s happy. Gaining weight was part of Diane’s healing process.

Diane’s narrative has helped me learn and grow in so many ways. Society likes to push the narrative that being fat is synonymous with being unhealthy. When I was at my skinniest, I was also at the height of my depression. I was acting self-destructive and I contemplated suicide often. Since then, I’ve gained a lot of weight because of my medication and chronic pain. I’m 50 pounds heavier, but I am happy. Yes, I still have bad days, but I would choose to be fat and happy any day over being skinny and suicidal.

How do you think Diane represented of depression? Tell us in the comments below.

Originally published: May 8, 2020
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