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First Published Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Mulder & Scully

By Erika Krull, MS, LMHP
April 8, 2009

Huh?? That’s probably what you thought when you clicked on this blog post. Depression….. The X Files….. Right. I’ll admit, I’m a scifi fan, and the X Files is one of my all-time favorite shows. I’m old enough to have enjoyed it the first time around in the ’90s, and now I’m watching the entire series again on DVD. Yes, I’m a big nerd, but I digress.

A couple of nights ago, I watched one of the many alien conspiracy episodes involving Agents Scully and Mulder, Assistant Director Skinner, Alex Krycek, and a host of other folks mixed up in a thick plot. This is somewhere in the last of nine seasons, so alien conspiracy and high drama are not new to the regular viewer by this time.

I had a few thought collisions today, leading me to compare depression with the X Files. I was briefly distracted from my normal writing tasks when I recalled what I was thinking during the episode I watched recently: “Geeze, it always seems like nobody believes these people, even when there’s clearly a huge problem.”

They can’t tell anybody, they don’t know who to trust, and whoever they do tell surely will think they are crazy. Really, who would ever believe that the informant who is trying to feed the agents helpful information really has the scar from a metal chip in his neck because he’s an alien hybrid? Even though all the viewers and the key cast members know all about this threat, the agents never seem to know who they can trust. They live in a world of worry, peril, secrecy, and confusion.

Ta-da. There’s my connection. I have often said to myself that my depression felt like an alien had taken over my brain, though the takeover wasn’t complete because I still knew that I was me. I was just disabled enough to have little control but aware enough to realize I wasn’t able to get the alien out by myself.

I needed help. This wasn’t normal; I knew something was different. But what? And how do I describe this? Would anyone believe me? And would I wish I would have kept my mouth shut once I said something? How will this affect my job, my kids, my marriage? I can’t keep going on like this, but I don’t know if I can tell anyone either. Which is more dangerous?

And all Mulder, Scully, and Skinner have is each other. They’ve witnessed and been through difficult things that would be hard to believe unless you’d been there. Depression often is that unbelievable, too. Unless you have felt the takeover of your mind, seen the lost look on your own face in the mirror, and begun to doubt everything you’ve known, it can be hard to understand from the outside.

Fortunately, there is much more support and help available for people with depression than there ever seemed to be for Scully, Mulder, and Skinner. Those aliens just kept coming at them and they kept fighting them tooth and nail. Suddenly, I’m feeling a fond kinship with these X Files heroes – alien fighters to the end.

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