Revolutionary Road

“You are an empty, empty hollow shell of a woman.”

Suburban couple, Frank (Leonardo DiCaprio) and April (Kate Winslet) attempt to move their little family to Paris to escape their humdrum existence. When their plans are challenged, April withdraws.

April’s Problem
This is a woman whose unhappiness has slowly overtaken her. Being a housewife in suburbia was often a recipe for depression in the American female, but April’s depression really hooks her when she finds out she’s pregnant with a third child. It’s possible that she was low-grade depressed prior to this news; however, the plans to move to Paris instill new vibrance into April. The diagnosis is most obvious when she tells Frank about the baby.

Prenatal Depression
Luckily, conversations about postpartum depression are more common now than ever; the fact is that women’s hormones shift so much during each stage of pregnancy, that it is possible to experience pregnancy-related depression at any stage in the game. Prenatal depression plagues a woman in the first stages of her pregnancy.

  • Loss of Libido
    Frank and April have a knock-down, drag-out fight when she tries to explain how disinterested she is in doing the do. This symptom is a common theme across all types of depression; any loss of interest in sex that deviates from a person’s baseline interest could be an indicator of depression.
  • Emotional Detachment
    April admits to Frank that she feels “nothing” when he tells her about his affair. It’s not hard to believe; she barely has any emotional reaction to him. The thing about the chronic emptiness felt by some people with depression is that they know something is not right. These are not people who, like sociopaths or some people with personality disorders, always feel empty. For them, the hollow feeling is a new, upsetting feeling.
  • Hopelessness
    A catch-all word for depression’s most dangerous side effect, hopelessness is something that many people in quarantine can relate to; it’s the lack of things to expect, a lack of optimism, a lack of plans. Even when there might be something to look forward to, this depressive symptom prohibits someone like April from really getting excited about it. Hopelessness unchecked can lead to self-destruction, just as it does in April’s case.

I Enjoy Being a Girl
Housewife-inspired depression was not unusual, but depression is still incredibly common. Many women experience some type of depression during or after their pregnancies, and especially after suffering a miscarriage. I have not had a baby at this juncture in my life, but I suffered from depression for a long time.

The good news is that the commonality of depression allowed me – and can allow others – to find what works, how to manage bad days, and how to avoid relapses.

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