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I never would have thought that a film that brings awareness to depression would make me happy. It is great that certain myths about depression were dispelled. Demetrius Harmon aka MeechOnMars, was able to put his first hand experience with depression into his short film “Be Happy“. Although the film is fictional and at some moments humorous, off camera Demetrius is very vocal about having depression and attempting suicide on numerous occasions. As you can imagine this isn’t an easy thing to be open about, but Meech and a group of his well-known friends were able to relay a powerful message in the film.

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“The worst thing to call somebody is crazy. It’s dismissive. “I don’t understand this person. So they’re crazy.” That’s bullshit. These people are not crazy. They strong people. Maybe their environment is a little sick.” Dave Chappelle

This opening quote to the film hit me right in the heart. Although I don’t suffer from depression I know what it’s like to express my feelings to someone and dismissed and not truly understood. In 11 minutes Demetrius allows us to see what he goes through by personifying depression, anxiety and happiness. The scene that really stuck out to me is when Demetrius’ dad  tries to give simple advice to fix his illness meanwhile anxiety and depression linger in the background also speaking to him. It made me think back to the days that I would give friends with depression what I believed was top-notch advice.I held on to the attitude that if after I gave them my life gems and they still “insisted” on being down and that then they must want to be miserable. I had never considered that they had an ongoing record of negative thoughts entangling them.

Another major point that I picked up was Demetrius dad’s comment about him needing to stop acting white. The strength of black people has become somewhat of a backhanded compliment. Our people have been through a lot and make the most of the most foul situation and I am very proud of that heritage. At the same time I think we’ve become so accustomed to strength looking a certain way that being emotional or having mental issues has been deemed as being weak and unacceptable in the black community.When I was a kid I recall having a cousin who was mentally disabled and watching adults mistreat him. When I would ask why they would mistreat him for outburst that he couldn’t help they would reply “ain’t nothing wrong with him.” I’ve heard the same response to those that suffer from depression and it’s a shame.

Some people get depressed (when you become sad for a while as a result of a bad event) and some people are depressed (chemical imbalance in the brain). It’s real and you aren’t any less black if you surfer from it. Most importantly I’ve learned that you can be depressed and have happiness. They experience happy moments, just like “normal” people experience down moments. I think it’s important that we all understand depression better, because a vast majority of people surfer from it whether it’s silently of out in the open like Meech. We all need to be sure that we are handling this illness in a proper way. Think about how many people who have turned to suicide and their family/friends never knew they were depressed, because they didn’t feel comfortable speaking out about it. Be open-minded. Don’t make negative comments about depression. You never know who is in your very own circle who is silently suffering.

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