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These Movies & TV Shows Give An Honest Look at the Reality of Living With Clinical Depression

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Living with clinical depression is often terribly isolating — not just because of the symptoms of depression themselves, but because of all the misinformation out there on what depression looks like and how to treat it. From colloquial use of “depressed” to mean “having a bad day” to off-handed comments about how mental health problems can be cured with vigorous exercise, eating right, or simply trying hard enough to feel better, people with depression are surrounded by reminders that those who don’t share their struggle have little to no idea what it really feels like. What that means — especially for women, and even more especially for women of color — is that people are more likely to get their symptoms dismissed, be misunderstood as hostile or inept by colleagues, friends, and family, and feel that voice of depression that tells you no one understands you get even louder.

Enter: a collection of movies and TV shows that curl around you and whisper in your ear: “So what if they don’t understand? I do.” TV shows like You’re The Worst and BoJack Horseman and movies like The Skeleton Twins and Little Miss Sunshine dropped the stereotypes and glossed-over difficult-to-understand aspects of depression and featured characters who struggle with their mental health in a realistic way, prompting a pang of recognition in anyone who’s felt the same. Depression goes way beyond a bad attitude that can be fixed in a couple of therapy sessions in these movies and shows, which feature characters whose depression colors their outlook, their physical experience, their personalities, and more.

In honor of Mental Health Action Day, we’re celebrating movies and TV shows that took the time to get clinical depression right — and made so many people feel less alone in the process. Read on for the viewing recs you need to educate yourself about depression, or just remind yourself that others do feel the way you do sometimes, and it’s okay.

A version of this story was originally published in 2021. 

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