For those of you that have followed my blog and my website for awhile, you know I’m not in the habit of promoting things that I do not think have real substance to them. And even then, it is usually few and far between. Why? Well, you aren’t here to be marketed to. There’s plenty of that shit all over the internets.
But! This is one of those times where I feel the need to point out something I found of great interest that may be of great interest to you. I recently received an email about the independent film Here One Day by Kathy Leichter, from Kathy, with a request to check the film out and possibly point it out to my readers. Kathy’s mother Nina eventually succumbed to her battle with Manic-Depression and leapt to her death from their New York apartment on February 6th, 1995. The point that really stood out to me in her email was the fact that she had uncovered sixteen audio tapes that Nina had recorded while trying to manage and maintain her mental illness.
Why is this point important?
There are many recollections and memoirs of people dealing with a Bipolar loved one who committed suicide. Unfortunately, many of these memoirs are more generated from the perspective of the survivor. I’m not suggesting this is a bad thing, it can help people cope. However, it paints a slanted picture. Stigma prevents many families from even talking about these people later. “That’s just not something we talk about.” When they do, it’s not uncommon for people to say things like, “My mother committed suicide” or “I had an uncle that killed himself” if prompted.
The problem is that suicidal thinking is just one very small part of the total equation. It just so happens to have the most severe outcome. That person could have warred with their depression and suicidal thoughts for decades, managed to hold a career, managed to raise a family; but the foremost thought for many is “that person committed suicide”.
Here One Day piqued my interest because it had the opportunity to use the words and thoughts of Nina as a way to bring tangibility to the war that goes on in our heads. Yes, friends and loved ones go through a ton with us. They worry, suffer, and lose out on plenty because of our mental illness; but they always have a choice. They can go elsewhere to get away from our illness. They can go for a walk, stay with some friends, divorce us, forsake us.
We don’t have that option. That creates a very drastic difference in perspective, particularly in regards to suicide and self-harm. Every day that Sword of Damocles dangles over my head. Will I relapse? When will my meds stop working? Will I finally get too tired to keep fighting? Will I walk the same path as Nina and so many others have; a path I’m already intimately familiar with?
Excerpts from those tapes were used to great effect to compliment the primary focus of the film, which is the impact of Nina’s suicide on her family even decades later. Here One Day is an examination of what Nina’s family and best friend still cope with. The film is exceptional because it not only accomplishes that goal, but it puts a human face and voice to the chaos and misery that we Bipolars often internalize through the audio recordings. People familiar will be able to hear the mania and depression in Nina’s voice and demeanor.
This film is valuable to anyone interested in Bipolar Disorder; whether you are mentally ill or someone concerned for a mentally ill person.
For the mentally ill: It is a stark reminder of the internal war many of us wage. It is a reminder that there are others who fight similar battles, no matter how alone we think we are. Most importantly, the film demonstrates the long-term damage that suicide inflicts on the people that love and care about us. That hurt will never go away completely.
For the mentally well: Here One Day offers valuable perspective on this struggle. Many of my readers have friends or loved ones that have committed suicide or deal with the mentally ill on a regular basis. The film offers a glimpse into the mind of Nina who uses her audio tapes to journal her thoughts which may provide insight into their own loved ones.
Here One Day has been chosen as an “Official Selection” at several independent film festivals. If, like me, you have no idea what that actually means since you have zero interest in independent films; thousands of films are typically submitted to festivals. Only so many can actually be screened due to time constraints. An “Official Selection” means the film is picked to be screened out of the many submissions.
Kathy; you made a great film that pays due respect to both sides of the struggle. Given your mother’s belief in the importance of the work she did with her support group, I can imagine she would be very proud of you for taking these negatives and turning it into a positive for others. That is essentially what happens in peer support groups; we use our negatives to help other people going through similar circumstances.
Nina; I hope you’ve finally found peace and can take solace that your pain is being used positively. People like you are the inspiration behind my advocacy work; so that more daughters don’t need to make memoirs about their mother. You seemed like an amazing woman, mother, and more; and it is clear to see you are still loved and missed greatly.
Here One Day is available in digital or DVD format. The film runs 76 minutes and is well worth the $2.99 digital rental at minimum.
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