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The Moment in 'Twilight' That Made Me Face My Depression

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I’m watching “Twilight.” Bella is sitting in a chair in her bedroom and Edward has left her. Her fears have come to fruition — she isn’t good enough. She feels lost, alone, scared, hurt, worthless and abandoned. Lykke Li’s haunting singing intensifies the pain. My chest is tight, my heart is hurting and I’m crying. No, not crying. I’m sobbing. Ugly, chest-heaving, snot-dripping sobbing. I have to get out of here now.

I make my way to the bathroom of the theater and see my reflection. I think, get it together! It’s just a movie. But I can’t stop thinking about Bella’s pain; her eyes are so sad. The tears pick up again and I go into a stall. The tears won’t stop and my throat feels like it’s closing. I’m a mess.

I hear my name. My best friend comes in looking for me. Again I think, come on! What is wrong with you? She knocks on the door and says she’s worried. She asks if I’m OK. In that moment I realize it’s not Bella’s pain I’m feeling. It’s my own.

I’d had bouts of depression but was always able to get through. But when within three months of my son being born my grandmother who raised me died, I couldn’t pull out of it. I self-medicated with Xanax, Vicodin, wine and over-the-counter meds. I went into hibernation and barely made it through the days. I was emotionally closed off and most times felt nothing.

I turn to my friend, and answering honestly for the first time in seven years: “No, I am not OK.”

I’m not sure how long she hugged me while I cried in that bathroom, or how many people came and went, but I didn’t care. God, it felt good. But I was also scared. I wanted to run, but instead went to see a therapist the very next day. The ugly crying commenced as soon as I sat in the chair. Thoughts I’ve had for years but was too afraid to say came pouring from my mouth in inaudible words and incomplete sentences.

During the session I was drained, but also felt 500 pounds lighter. My therapist asked me what triggered my break. Embarrassed, I told her.

“Rita, you are an extreme empath,” she said. “You embody these characters. You feel what they’re experiencing.”

In this case, because of what I was experiencing in real life, watching Bella’s pain ripped my emotional dam wide open.

This happened four years ago, and it’s been one of the most difficult, but also the most rewarding, times of my life. I’ve still had breakdowns and still have moments where I’m sunk in scary darkness, but now I’m not afraid or embarrassed to talk about it. I’ve learned it’s OK to be myself, and feel for myself, and I will continue to battle this because I’m so grateful to be alive.

If you think about it, Edward Cullen saved my life.

Originally published: September 1, 2015
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