This is a heartbreaking documentary from 2009 about a boy who was diagnosed with depression at age 5, then later, with bipolar disorder. The movie is as much about his family and friends as it is about him, but the main character is depression. Whether you know anyone who suffers from depression or not, you should watch this awesome movie.
Even though I’ve suffered from constant physical pain for 30 years, I don’t think I’ve ever suffered as much as this young boy, Evan Scott Perry. It’s stories like this that have convinced me that physical and mental pain are very much the same. And it reminds me how much DNA plays a part in mental illness, and that it’s not always caused by abuse or violence. It also helps me to understand why people who suffer from pain turn to drugs — and yet I still wonder which drugs really work the best for both mental illness and chronic pain.
This young man was on Lithium, and it obviously helped, but like many who suffer from mental illness, he didn’t like the side effects. And like many with mental illnesses, he stopped taking his medication. The psychiatric community would blame Evan’s suicide on the lack of prescription medication, but I think that’s only partly true. I understand Evan’s desperation — I’ve been there. I’m just not sure there’s a “cure” for that level of pain.
I salute Evan’s tremendous bravery in fighting his illness and the courage of his family to make this poignant movie. (And I’m happy to report that the closed captioning option for this movie works, unlike other youtube videos.)
If you are struggling with addiction or depression, it may seem like there are few options for treatment, especially ones that are successful. But, there are programs that are working, like this one:
And for a comedic look at bipolar disorder, there’s always Silver Linings Playbook, and I can recommend this one from 2014 (with Mark Ruffalo, need I say more?):