Depression, this word is associated with a lot of meanings that we’ve learnt according to the popular meaning of it in our society. The most popular notion that we all have is probably a sad person (be it for something specific or general) who spends the day in bed without being able to do anything due to a lack of energy, and that is how most of us have been sold the disorder through popular series and movies of our time.

There is a reason why depression is the most popularly known mental disorder and it’s that at some point in life we ​​all have a passing episode of it, a period of time where we feel without energy, without the desire to do anything, and with a general sadness about everything or even a lack of emotions in general.

But the truth is that depression encompasses many more things, and the fact of making it a popularly known phenomenon has also generated a large number of myths about it, myths such as depression is just a lack of desire, that over time the person who suffers it overcomes it without help, that depression appears because something bad has happened to us or that we can always see when a person is depressed. The truth is that none of this is totally true, depression englobes many different behavioural patterns and it is more common to find two completely different cases than are the same, even if it is the same disorder.

As we’ve already mentioned, there are a large number of series and movies that deal with depression, although many of them fall into the error (whether intentional or not) of romanticizing it or generating myths, and therefore I want to recommend a series that is a mixture of drama and comedy written by, and starring, one of the world's most renowned comedian Ricky Dene Gervais, called After life. In this series Ricky Gervais plays the role of Tony Johnson, a journalist for a small local newspaper in his town, who enters a depressive state after the death of his wife from cancer.

Tony views suicide as a way to end everything and realizes that he no longer cares about anything, all the 'social' norms, his well-being, hygiene,friends and other things no longer matter to him so he is free to do and say what he wants, but his plans of being 100% free are 'frustrated' by the continued insistence of his family and friends to make sure he's okay and to try to help him, which only makes his situation and feelings worse.

In addition, we can see how Tony is enduring day by day due to some recordings that his wife left him where he is periodically reminded that he has to keep trying, that he doesn’t have to give up and that he has people who love him, being a magnificent representation of the thoughts that many affected people have and that leads them to continue holding on. Another important aspect is his dog Brandy, who accompanies him in almost the entire series and is painted as a protection factor against the need he has to continue taking care of her, even if he doesn’t care about anything.

The series shows in a very realistic way, but also with very comic touches, what the day-to-day life of a person with depression is like, how they think and rationalize the things they do and the factors that can make the depressive state prolong itself in time, giving us a hard but very accurate notion about what can lead to suffering from a depressive disorder. Proof of its realism is the acclaimed criticism that the series has had not only by its fans but also by some mental health organizations that endorse its realism and are grateful that the taboo to this disorder is removed in a comical but hard way. For all this, I would recommend the afterlife series as a learning medium that can help understand what happens to people who suffer from depression, be it for close people like friends or family, or even for the person who suffers from it.

Currently, the After-life series is available on Netflix and already has 2 seasons with a third season confirmed and in production.

Tommy Gyran Norheim
Division of Psychology, Psychotherapy and Coaching
Tommy Gyran Norheim
Adults and adolescents
Languages: English, Spanish and Norwegian
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