F***K The Haters! Joker Has One of The Best Depictions Of Depression I’ve Ever Seen
‘The worst part about having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don’t.’
writes Arthur Fleck in one of his notepads and as everyone that’s dealt with some form of mental illness will tell you…. there’s sooo much truth in that sentence.
Let me explain.
Much like Arthur, I spent the better part of my teens and adolescence in the state of anxious form of depression. Seriously, it’s a thing. It’s a sub-type of the general depression and it exists. Look it up. But the thing is… The opening scene in the Joker is a vivid reminder of my daily morning routine while I was in the grip of all that. The anxious depression, the drinking and the loneliness. And it was a scene that hit home really hard. I wasn’t applying clown makeup but yeah, for many many years I was applying my makeup with tears rolling down on my face. After I had a good cry about my shitty state of being, a shitty day ahead or shitty life in general, I would fixate my SMILE and I was ready to start the day. And I did smile. Seriously. There isn’t a photo of me from that particular period that I’m not smiling. I don’t know why to tell you the truth. I was falling apart internally, I was down to 50 KG and I was spiraling out of control with my alcohol consumption but I had a perfect smile every god damn day. I was a high functioning depressive alcoholic and for years nobody knew about it. Not even my own parents.
And when Arthur says to the psychiatrist… All I have are negative thoughts! Yup. That’s also true. They’re with you. The negative thoughts. All-day, every day. Oh and night too. Yeah, I can’t forget to mention the horrible insomnia that was eating my brain at night, participated by all of the negative thoughts stored somewhere in my broken brain. Lovely times… 🙁
Oh, and last but certainly not least. There’s the loneliness. The constant trying to connect with somebody. To find love, friendship, companionship and to give love in return while you’re so fucking low is sooo god damn hard. Some might call it a cry for help (the constant need for whining about your depressed state) but it’s not. I just wanted to be around people, believe it or not. Yes, I was that weirdo that was goofing around with babies on the bus. Just like the Joker did. I was stealing jokes from stand up comics just to try and fit in. To try and keep that happy facade strong. But I was alone for the majority of my adulthood, as apparently nobody likes the depressive loners, as much as they try to convince you otherwise. I was the third wheel, I was the perpetually single friend that everyone felt pity for. I was Debbie Downer (as my so-called friends used to call me) and yes I did had friends at the time, believe it or not. But i felt alone. So alone. And yes, as I’ve grown older, I’ve noticed that it’s all about the quality of your friends, not the quantity. Now I have half of the friends I used to have but I’m cool with that. I’m happy with the friends that I’ve got now. I smile because i want to now. I smile because i’m happy now. I have a loving husband now too. But back in the Arthur Fleck days of my youth, I would go to the gym to try to find someone to talk to. I would ask acquaintances (people that i barely knew and vice-versa) on Facebook, or somebody that i just met on the elevator ride if they’d like to join me for a cup of coffee. Just to have somebody to talk to even for a brief period of time.
So, yeah. The Joker’s state of mental health is on point in this movie. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Most mentally unbalanced people won’t start a life of crime, rioting, and murder. Yes, I know that there’s a correlation between these things, but The Joker won’t inspire them so you can relax about it. If anything it gives you a better understanding of how lonely and miserable life the mentally ill people live on a daily basis. It’s not pretty, but at least the Joker shows us that it’s so god damn real.