The 3 Things I Couldn't Believe My Husband Said As We Watched Inside Out


While I have wished sometimes that my husband understood depression a little better, it has never really hindered the happiness of our marriage.

He supported my desire to publish this blog. He read it as I was preparing to publish it and said, "Yeah, you sound like you were really sad. I'm glad you pulled out of it."

He's attempted to relate. "That one time I wasn't able to find work for a few weeks. I was worried I wasn't fulfilling my role as a husband and father. That feels terrible. I imagine if that had gone on for a few months, I could have become seriously depressed."

He doesn't take me lightly when I tell him I'm struggling on occasion. He considers medication and therapy with me when I think I might need it. He prays with me and for me.

He doesn't understand what happens when depression comes to visit, but he understands that it happens. And I love him for it.


*****
I really wonder what other people see when they watch Inside Out. All I could see was a descent into depression so beautifully portrayed, I was wrapping one arm around squirmy little brother and using the other to quietly clean tears from my cheeks.

What's so fascinating about the movie is that not only can you see what's happening to Riley on the outside, but you can see what's happening on the inside. The emotions of life are represented as true characters inside her head and you get to watch how they handle different circumstances that occur in her life.

Inside Out begins with little Riley's happy birth. Her childhood and home life warmed my heart. What a happy, happy girl. Life was simple and oh so sweet. There is Joy. And there is Sadness. But mostly Joy.

As she grows, her emotions become a little more complex. Disgust, Fear, and Anger enter, (like after tasting peas, or after a brush with electricity) but still she's mostly happy. She finds joy in her family, friends, and hockey.

But a move across the country and a new house and school cause some upheaval in her life and her head. The voices in her head are frantically rushing around trying to figure out how to respond to the many complications that start presenting themselves and in all the confusion, Joy and Sadness get sucked far, far away from the headquarters of Riley's brain all the way into long-term memory. They spend most of the rest of the movie trying to find their way back, and Riley is left navigating these new and unfamiliar circumstances of her life with Disgust, Fear, and Anger.

Eventually, in the absence of Joy, who has typically handled most situations up until this point, Disgust, Fear and Anger are completely distraught and even quit assisting for fear that they will destroy everything, and Riley becomes fairly emotionless.

Devastating moments occur outside of her head and inside of her head while all of this is going on.

Riley's mom, sensing she's struggling, makes sure to sign Riley up for a girl's hockey league in their new city because she knows she loves it so much, but surprised when Riley shows no interest and disappointed when Riley comes back from her first practice terribly angry.

Riley's dad comes up to talk to her in her room after a disagreement downstairs. When he tries playing like a monkey or telling her their old favorite jokes, there is no response. She can't even fake it. She lies there, emotionless. It is heartbreaking to watch, especially after understanding what a strong bond they have.

Only a few minutes in, I had connected so personally with this movie that I was fully immersed in it. I was so enthralled by what was taking place before my eyes and how well it was illustrating the descent from a healthy mind into a non-healthy one. And Riley was having some moments with her family and within herself trying to figure out what was wrong that struck way too close to home. And then, shortly after the scene where Riley's lost interest in hockey, my husband interrupted my thoughts.

He whispered.

"Is that what depression is like? You can't find happiness anymore in the things you once enjoyed?"

My brows furrowed. Was he really seeing this movie in a similar light as I was?

"Yeah, yeah, it is. It's scary. You just don't care anymore."

He elbowed me. "I bet you're going to blog about this."

I couldn't believe that he was viewing what was happening to Riley as depression like I was.

As the movie continues, terrifying things are going on inside Riley's head. Due to all the chaos of Joy and Sadness being missing and the choices Riley is making as a result, monuments that represent key aspects of Riley's personality are crumbling. Monuments of fun and goofiness, friendship, family unity are tumbling to the ground and crashing with astounding force. It is devastating.  

YES! YES! THIS IS HOW IT FEELS WHEN YOUR INSIDES ARE FALLING APART! I was crying inside. And then my husband leaned over again.

"She has no understanding of what's happening to her on the inside, does she? It's so much deeper than snapping out of it. You really can't help it or stop it no matter how hard you try, can you?"

Whoa.

I looked at him and nodded, sincerity pouring out of my eyes. And the voices in my head were stunned at once again how dead on my sweetheart was with his comment.

Through much effort and various escapades, Joy and Sadness make it back to headquarters to try and salvage what they can.

Joy perceives for the first time that maybe Riley can't navigate her whole life through primarily joy. That there are seasons when even sadness is important.

And so all the emotions step aside as Sadness takes control. Following a dramatic scene on a bus, Riley returns home and explains to her parents how heartbroken she is at having moved across country from everything that was familiar to her. And she starts to sob uncontrollably. And her parents encircle her in a tender embrace.

He leaned over one more time and I got ready to savor whatever he had to say.

"Even though she's sad, that's better than feeling nothing."

This time I shook my head in disbelief. "You are so right, hon. You are so right."

*****

 I don't know who brought this idea to the table in the Pixar board room. I don't know why everyone decided to go along with it. I don't know how they did it with color and music and images and wit that warmed my heart and entertained my family, but I am so glad they did. Inside Out was a beautiful experience. And completely brilliant.



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