May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I’ve always been a loud and proud advocate for de-stigmatizing mental health and maintaining open dialogue. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my own experience with depression, it’s that it makes you feel isolated. Completely alone. As if you’re out at sea while everyone else is still on the island. We should all utilize this moment to be transparent regarding our feelings and provide support to those who need it. So many of us struggle, but we don’t have to do it solo.
Lately, I’ve taken solace in TV shows while in quarantine. Nowadays, quite a few shows are addressing mental health in a way I never saw as a kid. We’re slowly but surely navigating those waters with ease, more so than ever before. My hope is televised media continues on this path. Representation and an accurate depiction of mental illness is important. Below, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite inspirational quotes from TV shows that could be applied to mental health. Everything is open to interpretation, right? Art is subjective, after all.
Can I just have the best of Fillory? The best of us, of Earth, plus the best of those cool movies Todd and I watched? That’s the home I want. That’s what we deserve. -Fen, The Magicians
Now, this scene is about Fen creating a new world for her fellow Fillorians. But the main sentiment I gathered from this is wanting the very best life has to offer. Oftentimes, when we’re depressed, we think we’re undeserving of good things. Of course, that’s rooted in our inability to recognize our own worthiness. You can have the best of the best. You deserve the best of the best. Never forget your worth.
Letting it get to you. You know what that’s called? Being alive. Best thing there is. Being alive right now is all that counts. -The Doctor, Doctor Who
The Doctor always knows just what to say. Nobody wants to feel pain – not truly, at least. However, experiencing said pain is part of life. Never suppress your emotions, especially sadness. Let it get to you. Address it. Move through it. Then, keep going. Try not to dwell in that melancholia. The only way to overcome an emotional obstacle is to go through it – not around it.
I am here and I stay. -Waverly Earp, Wynonna Earp
Yes, you’re here. Yes, you stay. Waverly’s bold affirmation should be everyone’s rallying cry. Even if sometimes all you did during the day was breathe, then that’s perfectly fine and dandy. As long as you’re with us, that’s all that matters.
I am clinically depressed. It’s been going on my whole life, so I’m actually really good at handling it. It strikes me whenever and I have no idea why. So, the only thing I need from you is to not make a big deal out of it and be okay with how I am, and the fact that you can’t fix me. -Gretchen, You’re the Worst
Now, I recall when You’re the Worst first introduced Gretchen’s depression in Season 2. I was blown away. At that time (2016, I think), I’d never seen a character outright acknowledge their depression. Gretchen not only told her significant other that she was clinically depressed, but she asked him to accept the fact that he can’t “fix” her. Nor should he try. She accepted herself for who she was. Depression is embedded in her DNA. You may be thinking, “Melody, this isn’t really that inspirational.” I think it’s a good reminder that you’re not flawed for struggling with mental illness. You’re not broken. In fact, you’re you, and nobody should try to remedy that.
I suppose the same reason people spend money on expensive shampoo. At some point you think, ‘Hmm. Maybe I am worth it.’ -Aine, This Way Up
The line prior to the above was said by Aine’s therapist. Said therapist asked her why she returned to therapy. Aine’s response is refreshing. Instead of cracking a self-deprecating joke or saying she’s “broken,” Aine focused on the positive. She’s worth it. Just as you are. Aine was choosing to pamper herself in that moment. She realized that she’s worthy of mental care. Just as you are!
It’ll pass. -Hot Priest, Fleabag
Oh, God. The Hot Priest. I apologize if this quote triggers any troubling memories or brings that scene back to the surface. Of course, we know the context in which HP said this is quite different than my interpretation of it. This too shall pass, friend. Those cataclysmic storm clouds hanging over your head – they’ll dissipate. You need only weather that storm. On the other side is where the light awaits.
Strong is fighting. It’s hard, and it’s painful, and it’s everyday. It’s what we have to do. And we can do it together. -Buffy Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Now, I could have used Buffy the Vampire Slayer quotes for this entire article. There are so many wonderfully inspiring gems in this series. Buffy was always a bastion of strength. I loved watching her pass that strength on to others – lifting them up in power. Strong is fighting. Just as we all battle our mental demons day in and day out. Thankfully, there’s a lot of people on this planet. A horde of humans willing to fight alongside you.
TV defeats its own purpose when it’s pushing an agenda or trying to defeat other TV or being proud or ashamed of itself for existing. It’s TV – it’s comfort. It’s a friend you’ve known so well and for so long you just let it be with you. And it needs to be okay for it to have a bad day or phone in a day. And it needs to be okay for it to get on a boat with LeVar Burton and never come back. Because eventually, it all will. -Abed, Community
Community really has some of the best writing in television. That’s objectively a fact. Abed’s monologue in the series finale utterly broke me. Of course, the above is laden with TV metaphors and references, but the underlying meaning still stands. You can have a bad day or a day wherein you’re “phoning it in.” You can explore the world around you regardless of what others think and feel. Live your life. My therapist always tells me, “One breath at a time.” Now, I pass that little nugget of wisdom on to you. One breath at a time.
That page and wherever that quest took you wasn’t his story – it was yours, Alice. For what it’s worth, I think he’d be really proud of you. The way you keep on fighting. I told you – you’re good. -Santa Claus, The Magicians
Yes, Old Saint Nick existed in the mythology of The Magicians. I know, I know, I already have a quote from this show. However, The Magicians always knocks it out of the park as far as mental health is concerned. In this particular scene, Santa was reminding Alice that her story is just that – hers. Despite the grief over losing Quentin, despite constant pressure from outside elements, Alice persisted. She forged ahead and came out stronger on the other side. You will too.
Just because no one has loved you yet doesn’t mean you’re unlovable. -Dawn, Casual
Now, this is a big one for me. We often place value on whether we can snag a romantic partner. We search for our self-worth in others. But, as I’m sure many can relate, I’ve spent a good chunk of my life single. Does that make me unlovable? Absolutely not. Remember, you have friends and family that love you dearly. That doesn’t have to include blood relations – a “found” family is still very much a family. You’re so lovable and so loved. Just be sure to love yourself, first and foremost.
Well, that’s all I wrote! Do you have any favorite inspiring TV quotes? Sound off in the comments below!
This post was originally published on 5/23/20