August 23, 2020

A Couple of Relatable Mental Illness Documentaries

So last night, I finished watching the documentary "Overcoming Depression: Mind Over Marathon" on Amazon Prime. It's a two-part series about 10 people (in England) who have various mental illnesses--anxiety, depression, PTSD, OCD--and they train together to run a marathon. 

They are guided by a therapist, running coaches (not the hardcore type of trainers you see on weight loss shows making them work out for eight hours a day--just "regular" coaches who help them train), and a nutritionist.

I really liked the first episode, which introduced them and their stories. One woman, in particular, really had a heartbreaking story and I just wanted to hug her. She had a very young son (I don't remember his age, but he was crawling). He got sick and died very very quickly. It didn't go into the details of how he died, but it was too late to save him before he even reached the hospital by ambulance.

The woman's husband was so distraught by the tragedy that he took his own life just four days later, leaving her with their remaining children. Even though all of the medical personnel agreed that there was nothing more she could have done for her son, she blamed herself and became very depressed.

She still had to take care of her other kids, so she was just doing everything on autopilot. While speaking to the therapist, she broke down and started crying, then apologized for it and said she "never" loses her composure like that. I felt so bad that she was carrying that burden around all the time. As a parent, I can absolutely understand that feeling of blaming yourself for something happening to your child--even if it's not your fault. (Not saying that I know her pain, because losing a child must be unimaginably horrific; but I can understand the feeling of blaming yourself.)

Anyway, this documentary wasn't a "I have depression, and now I'm going to do everything the trainer tells me and I'm going to feel so much better and run a marathon and life is great!" (Actually, that sounds like my bipolar self, hahaha). I liked that their journeys were real and relatable (as someone with mental illness). 

There was one man who ultimately decided not to train for the marathon because of his anxiety, but he did manage to get on a train to go cheer the others on (going on a train was a huge deal for him--his anxiety over it was terrible). 

It's SO hard to describe to someone what mental illness feels like. Anxiety is a horrible feeling to live with, especially when it's generalized anxiety and there is no "reason" for it. It's just there. Listening to the people on the documentary describe their feelings was so interesting because they put into words things that I feel and it helps me to know that there are other people who "get it".

One thing that I really loved about this documentary is that it wasn't totally focused on this one end goal of running a marathon. Yes, that was the plan, but the main focus was using running to help fight mental illness. When I exercise regularly, it definitely helps with my anxiety. When I am going through a depressive episode, however, the depression makes it extremely difficult to exercise. 

I won't spoil the ending about who completes the marathon and all that. I wouldn't say that the film was amazing and fantastic and go watch it right now, but it was refreshing--refreshing to have real people share about their mental illnesses on camera and working on a real-life goal.

After watching "Overcoming Depression", Amazon Prime suggested a documentary to me called "Of Two Minds" and it's all about bipolar disorder. It it's a feature length doc where people with bipolar disorder describe their experiences and how bipolar affects their lives.

I really liked this doc! Again, I love that people put into words the way that I feel and have a hard time describing. 

It's a film that I think people with bipolar would enjoy, but more so, a film that people with bipolar would like their friends and/or family to watch so that they can understand the disorder, too.

Of Two Minds was also great because it showed the humor that many of us can find in mental illness. I know it sounds so weird, but I do find humor in the quirks I have, and my "craziness". I don't want people tip-toeing around it--call me crazy! It's okay. I am totally crazy sometimes. 

If I'm watching a movie with the family and someone does something "crazy" that sounds like something I'd do, I'll say, "ME!" and then Jerry and the kids laugh because they know it's true. I LOVE funny memes about mental illness--it actually makes me feel better to see them because I know that others have a lot of the "quirks" that I do! (Here is a post of 100 of my favorite memes about mental illness).

Anyway, those are two documentaries I've watched over the last couple of days. I love documentaries, and seeing these ones that I could relate to so much was great!


  1. Thanks for the info, I'm going to add Mind Over Marathon to my watchlist and try to catch it this week!

  2. Thanks for sharing these! I too love finding books and movies that show what mental illness is really like. Sharing!

  3. Thank you for sharing! This sounds like a great movie.


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