My Mad Fat Depressive Episode

My Mad Fat Depressive Episode

A television series may have taught me more than therapy.

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Spoilers ahead!

Similarly to many others, I recently visited home for Thanksgiving break. Personally, I didn't eat any turkey, but I did find a new series to binge that would completely destroy and save my life all at once. "My Mad Fat Diary" is the series I so desperately needed when I was younger, but I'm glad I found it as a college student instead.

Growing up, I was far from a beauty queen. I always thought I was overweight and had some major self-confidence issues. I also struggle with my own variety of mental health problems.

"My Mad Fat Diary" is a short British television series set in 1996 Lincolnshire. There are only three seasons and 16 episodes. The show depicts an overweight teenager named Rae Earl leaving a mental hospital and going on to tackle friendships, boyfriends, sex, self-esteem, and more. In the first season, Rae is on her way home to face her life again when she runs into her best mate, who she hasn't seen since she went away and has no idea she's been ill.

Her best mate, Chloe, eventually invites Rae out to a pub to meet a gang of new friends. It is there she meets her soon-to-be love interest, Finn Nelson, who she despises at first. Throughout the first season, Rae struggles to fit in with a new group of friends who don't know she's been mentally ill. She also struggles to identify and process her feelings for Finn, and she does it all while struggling to find healthy ways to cope.

In season two, we finally see Rae and Finn living out all our relationship goals to the fullest, but sadly, it's short-lived. Rae struggles a lot with her confidence. She worries what people may think of her next to the guy so clearly out of her league. Things escalate when she and Finn decide to have sex, but she is unable to get past her insecurities long enough to undress before him. This is what ends the relationship at the very beginning of the season.

Rae spends the rest of it on what I like to think of as her journey of self-discovery. She begins to accept therapy, loses her virginity, adjusts to her new family, and even finds her way back to Finn.

The third and final season of "My Mad Fat Diary" is only three episodes. Rae has to accept the end of her therapy, choose between a life with Finn and a life at University, and mend her friendship with her best mate. It's a bittersweet ending to a story that brought me on an emotional roller coaster unlike any other.

Sure, this may all seem pretty melodramatic, and in some ways it is, but Rae Earl is the type of character almost anyone can relate to. Rae associates many of her faults with being overweight. She struggles to believe she is deserving of many things but mostly struggles to believe she deserves love.

The show isn't perfect. There were no trigger warnings where they were needed, and there weren't always happy endings. What the show does do is bring you along a journey to learn how to save and love yourself, and for that, I'll never forget it.

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An Open Letter To Someone That Doesn't Want To Live Anymore

Please read further if you need to.
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Hello,

I’ll begin by saying that I don’t have the right things to say to you. I know that you are in pain. I know that you think your life is no longer worth living. No amount of advice I have can fully remove what you are experiencing. So instead, I am here to tell you a story.

The first time a certain young girl had an experience with suicide was when she was in 8th grade. She went to school as usual, getting dropped off at the front entrance with some of her friends. She walked in and the topic of conversation was a boy in the high school. The night before, he had killed himself. She had never met him. She knew some of his family members, but not once did she have the opportunity to experience conversation with him. And yet, though she did not even know who he was at the time, she was floored. She hid herself in the bathroom to cry, shaking uncontrollably within the stall. It was incredibly painful for her to know that someone had been so sad that he felt that he didn’t want to live his life anymore. She knew that he never would have expected her to care. She was a girl almost three years younger than him, someone he had never met. But as she cried within the halls of their connected schools, she wished that he had somehow known that his life had mattered to her.

As you have probably concluded, I was that 8th grader. But this story isn’t about me. This story is about you.

I’ll go further. Every person that has taken their own life that I have known has affected me. And every person that has taken their own life did not know me well. I was not particularly close with any of them at the time of the occurrence. This is important, so please consider this: A girl that had never met the people who committed suicide mourned their death. She fell and questioned everything she knew because of their choice. She became depressed because of the death of someone whom she was not friends with at the time. She eventually started to feel the same way they had. And I know that someone, somewhere, whom you have never actually met, will mourn the loss of you. Please don’t take that idea for granted.

You matter. You might not want to be alive right now—but you are. Maybe you don’t think about how it will affect your mom, who will cry in her bed each night wondering how she could have overlooked your sorrow. Maybe you don’t think it will matter to your best friend from high school, who will shiver outside the church where your funeral was and refuse to step foot in another sanctuary. Maybe you don’t realize that your cousin will look at the pictures of the two of you and hyperventilate, not leaving his room for days. But those kinds of things will happen. Please, realize that you need to continue living your life for them. Realize that you need to continue living your life for the 8th grader who will cry in memory of you because she can’t stand the idea of knowing you ever felt this hopeless. If for no one else, realize that you need to keep living your life for yourself—because there is more left for you to discover.

I wish I had the words to remove all the pain you feel right now. Though I may have never met you, be comforted in knowing that I love you. I want you to be living. I believe that the reason why you are still breathing is because you still have a purpose on this Earth. I know you are hurting but please keep going. You are loved by those whom you have never even met.

Cover Image Credit: Canadian BFRB

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