October 11, 2008
Garden State: “Large” and His Depression
In the movie, Garden State, Andrew Largeman says that his mother has been depressed her whole life, “for no apparent reason.” It is because of her depression that the accident occurs. As a nine-year-old boy, Andrew is frustrated that his mother is depressed and that he cannot make her happy. In anger he shoves her causing her to fall over the door of the dishwasher injuring her neck and causing the paralysis. It is this part of the movie that I can identify with as I too suffer from depression; I actually have what is called Bipolar Disorder.
Andrew Largeman is a depressed 26-year-old, would be actor, living in Los Angeles, who has not been to his hometown, New Jersey, in nine years. He was sent away because he was blamed for the accident that subsequently paralyzed his mother and he was thought to be a danger to others because of this. He is suddenly called home when his mother dies unexpectedly in a drowning accident. He does not ever remember ever feeling love in his home, even from his mother. He has been medicated by his psychiatrist father “for as long as he can remember”, but for some reason, he decides not to take his medication with him. Once he arrives home it is apparent that he and his father have a difficult relationship as his father tells him: “Thank you for coming, saying goodbye is important, I’m glad you could fit it in.” He complains of headaches and his father sets him up to see a neurologist. It is here that he meets Sam. She brings him out of his shell of numbness with her quirky sense of humor and crazy, yet touching, antics such as tap dancing in the firelight. “Large” begins to feel again for the first time in years. He remembers one time when he was crying and his mother was wearing her favorite necklace. He said that he remembered it swinging back and forth as she rocked him and let him wipe his nose on her sleeve. This is the one time that he can remember feeling love from his mother and he sheds his first tear. He falls in love with Sam who he says makes him feel like “he has come home.” In the end he cries over his mother’s death, something he did not do at the funeral, and comes to terms with the accident that caused her to be paralyzed and the relationship he has with his father.
I was diagnosed when I was 25-years-old. The diagnosis answered many questions for me as I looked back on my crazy, reckless life: the drug and alcohol use, the failed relationships, always being “sick” but not having any real ailment, the need for more sleep than required and the nagging hopelessness that I felt most of the time. I was put on a drug regiment. I have been on every one of the anti-depressants that “Large” mentioned in the movie: Lithium, Paxil, Zoloft, Cylexa, and Depakote. It took my psychiatrist years to find the right combination. At times, I would get so frustrated because this drug made me too sedated, or that drug made me irritable so then I would have to be taken off the drug and the tests would begin all over again to find the right combination. Sometimes, I felt like a guinea pig, or a lab rat. I am on a combination of medication now that seems to work most of the time. I still get depressed and I sleep too much. I also get what is called manic, which is when I become a little irrational. I am impulsive, doing things without thinking of the consequences. I have this almost insatiable urge to spend money, even if it is money that should go to pay bills, I will go on shopping sprees just to satisfy this urge and I don’t pay my bills. I usually become manic in the summer and depressed in the winter. The spending sprees are a new symptom this summer. It has gotten so bad that I had to turn my finances over to my husband and I get a weekly allowance. Do I like it?...