A Mind Devoid of Happiness or: The Maze
“A Mind Devoid of Happiness or: The Maze” is a 5 minute abstract short that follows a young woman who is struggling through a depressive episode. She experiences a series of difficulties that we believe anyone who has known someone with depression or who have experienced it themselves will relate to and understand. Sarah, the writer, and I made this film because we both have a history of depression and mental illness not only in our families but in our own personal experiences.
A note from the writer: “When I was diagnosed with depression at 12 years old, I thought my parents were nuts, and that I was just an average teenager who talked about dying, could barely get out of bed, and knew I had no friends because I was worthless. As life progressed, and anti-depressants stabilized my mind, I thought maybe they were onto something. But the anti-depressants don't stop all the episodes. And as I've faced new obstacles (i.e. growing up), the episodes have become much worse. I've learned that creating art, or something outside of my mind, that takes complete focus to execute, can get me out from the cloud of depression.”
My story isn’t as severe as Sarah’s but I think that’s part of the point. Every person’s experience with depression and mental health at large is different and equally as valid. While I was experiencing depression the main thing that I noticed is how little my friends and those who I came into contact with understood. It’s not that they didn’t care, they simply didn’t have any knowledge about what I was going through. I was told that I should “cheer up” and to “think about the people who have it worse”. The stigma attached to depression and other mental illnesses does not affect those with physical ailments and we believe that our society could benefit from an appreciation of the severity of illnesses like depression. We hope the film can help people who endure depression, and can shed some light for loved ones on the perilous struggle sufferers often face.
-Simone Kisiel (director), Sarah Newton (writer, star)