Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Let's talk about depression

So even though this blog will be a project blog, I also want to talk a little bit about the basis for my designs. So if you’re curious about clothing details this post won’t be what you’re looking for. 

Right now I am making a suit that will hopefully mimic how depression feels. For me, this is making something that makes the wearer feel isolated from the world, like they can't hear or see things clearly. It means making the wearer feel heavy, and drained of energy to complete simple tasks. It means making them feel numb, so that they have a hard time feeling strongly about anything. I know these aren't perfect representations of everyone's depression, but I thought these concepts captured some of the hardest to explain parts of the disorder. I wanted to make this suit because I know that for people who haven’t had someone close to them go through depression, or haven’t felt it themselves, the disorder is like a foreign elephant in the room. Unknown, confusing, and hard to bring up.

People don’t like to talk about it, because depression is an illness that we easily trivialize. How could we not, when we use the same word to describe the feeling an 11 year old has when it rains on his birthday party as the feeling someone has right before they commit suicide. (That comparison was roughly paraphrased from this TED talk, which has a much more eloquent description of what it's like to have depression: http://www.ted.com/talks/andrew_solomon_depression_the_secret_we_share

The inability to speak up is crippling, because its the first step to getting help. So I wanted to make this suit. Maybe it’s a little ambitious, but I hope that someone who thinks depression is nothing more than a case of the blues would be able to put this suit on and be able to feel what it might be like to be sick with sadness. I want this suit will help those skeptical of depression empathize with someone who can’t turn their sadness off like a light switch. I want someone wearing this suit to realize that depression is more than being sad, or lost, or frustrated, or empty, or catatonic all the time. It’s also about the way that person is perceived by those looking at them - like wearing a strange suit and feeling that you don’t fit in. 

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