On the Couch with My Depression Video
by Paula Harris
Poet's Statement: I wrote this poem while I was spending a few weeks in New York trying to run away from my depression (it didn’t work). It’s basically a moment-by-moment breakdown of that one day and how, even though nothing went wrong and I was super aware of my self-care, still, depression nailed me to that couch. The idea behind the poetic short films project is to make poems more accessible and less intimidating. Trying to slide poetry in front of people by stealth, I guess. I’m so proud of Angharad Gladding and the film she made, and I’m proud that the poem and the film aren’t about offering some magical upbeat resolution to depression, but about capturing how depression shows up and that’s it. It’s depression, showing up, again. It’ll keep you on the couch, even when all you need to do is brush your teeth and put on your shoes. Angharad Gladding’s Director's Statement: I’ve always used different mediums of art to express my views on mental health. I have done so before and I want to continue to use film-making as a way to gain more awareness for those who struggle with mental health. I’ve always felt a little out of place myself with the stigma that surrounds anxiety and depression in society. I started out doing this because I want to normalise that stigma that currently surrounds it and allow people to see it as it really is without fear or judgement. This poem in particular resonated with me. It was so real and raw in its portrayal of struggling with depression. I felt I’d found another kindred spirit, who like me, wanted to paint mental health struggles as they really are in their natural form. I wanted to transform that realness and rawness into a visual representation to be used to reach a wide range of individuals.
Paula Harris lives in Aotearoa/New Zealand, where she writes and sleeps in a lot, because that's what depression makes you do. She won the 2018 Janet B. McCabe Poetry Prize and the 2017 Lilian Ida Smith Award. Her writing has been published in various journals, including The Sun, Hobart, Passages North, New Ohio Review, and Aotearotica. She is extremely fond of dark chocolate, shoes, and hoarding fabric. Find more at: www.paulaharris.co.nz | Twitter: @paulaoffkilter | Instagram: @paulaharris_poet | Facebook: @paulaharrispoet