‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ shines a light on mental health

The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a show that I’ve been wanting to write about for a very long time. It’s downright delightful in a way that most TV shows aren’t these days. Its cast is hilarious and the musical numbers are fantastic send-ups of all sorts of pop culture tropes. But the episode titled “I Never Want To See Josh Again,” which aired on November 10, 2017, delivered a different reason to love the show. It was something truly special and I want to tell you why.

Season three of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (CEGF) has followed Rebecca Bunch (Rachael Boom) as she tries to get revenge on her ex Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriquez III) for leaving her at the altar. I was expecting a funny send-up of movies like Fatal Attraction but quickly realized that instead, the show would dive headlong into Rebecca’s ongoing mental health issues and the consequences of her one-sided obsession with Josh.

The show has made many comments over its three seasons about the mental health of its protagonist but it always presented a method that brought her out of her funk. Not this time.

After Rebecca fails to get any sort of revenge on Josh and alienates all of her friends, she heads back to her mother, Naomi, (played by Tovah Feldshuh) in New York to seek refuge. As is the case with any sort of depression, it was a slow spiral watching Rebecca push away the people that care about her and recede further and further into herself. She spends most of the episode sitting on her mother’s couch sleeping. As someone who has dealt with depression my entire life, I️ began to relate to this episode in a way different than I’ve related to any TV show before.

That relation only deepened when Naomi discovers Rebecca looking at ways to painlessly end her life.

Sensing her daughter needs her help, Naomi does what any mother would do and takes care of her daughter. Eventually, it’s revealed that she had been crushing up anti-depressants and giving them to Rebecca via strawberry milkshakes. Rebecca feels betrayed again by her mother and leaves to go back to California only to realize that she doesn’t feel like she has a place to go there as well. It is then, on the plane, that she decides to take all of her mother’s anti-depressants with some wine.

It was at this point in the episode that I started crying.

You see, CEGF didn’t have to work too hard to make Rebecca’s depression real to me because I’ve been exactly where she was. I know all too well the pain of feeling completely alone. I know all too well what it looks like to push away the people who care about you and I know what it feels like to have only one seemingly good option left to choose.

When I was 15, I was in the midst of the deepest depression I have ever been in. I had just switched high schools mid-year and had close to 0 friends and certainly none that knew what I was going through. I had never known loneliness like I did during that time of my life. I️t was as low has I’d ever been. But thankfully I had family and my faith that pulled me through. My mother and sister were rock stars during this time and made sure I got the care I needed.

While I never came anywhere near as close as Rebecca did, I could certainly empathize with her position. Rachel Bloom so wonderfully portrayed Rebecca’s increasing fatigue and growing depression. It was heartbreaking to watch. But as she began to lose consciousness on the airplane and the “help” button suddenly said “hope,” she was able to get the flight attendants attention. I️t would have felt manipulative if the episode ended in some sort of cliffhanger with Rebecca losing consciousness so I’m grateful that they showed Rebecca getting help. Ultimately, that is the message of the episode, that you are valued and there is always hope.

If you’re reading this and you deal with depression, please know that there are people who care about you and resources available to help you. You don’t have to suffer in silence and deal with this monster on your own. Reach out, please. There is hope.

I love this show and knew it had gone to some dark places before but man, I was not prepared for this. I don’t usually cry at TV shows or movies but this episode spoke to me like nothing else ever has before. It was raw and honest and served as further evidence as to why CrazyEx-Girlfriend is a show well worth your time.

If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or suicidal thoughts, please call the national suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255or go here. You are not alone.

3 thoughts on “‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ shines a light on mental health

  1. Great article! I’m sorry it touched home so close however, I’m glad you fought back. I love you, Mom >

    Like

    1. Thank you! No need to be sorry! The best art is that which we find parts of ourselves in!

      Like

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