How Are You Doing?

bojack horsemen shitty depression quote

Life is not a movie.

Your life is not a movie.

No matter how much you want it to be, no matter how much you love a certain picture, no matter how you relate, that truth is going to sting.

I’ve been told this every single time I fall into a depressive state, and most recently have seen myself again, looking through a monocle and finding myself having to answer to a question that I never asked.

What does it mean not to be ready?

Then show up at a place where you’re in search of the thing you’re not ready for?

Is it all a lie?

Bojack Horseman is a show that is on Netflix, a service that I do not have at the time of this writing, but a quote hit me recently. I’ve seen the series, I’ve noticed lines on depression and reality, and it blurs so much. Scholars have even gone to bat for the narratives of depression found within Bojack Horsemen (Pabst, 2017).

I was in Seattle in 2007, when I first started reflecting on the idea of what you can tell people. I started to ask them, and it started with frustration during a day at work. A coworker asked me, and I replied asking her whether she really wanted to know or was she just being cordial. She didn’t care, she said, so I replied with, I’m doing ok, another day at work.

The one thing about depression and anxiety that I’ve noticed this year, is that I don’t always have a reason. The few people that know me on a deeper level always asked me how I felt, and I would try to answer in the classic, “I’m doing so great”, and yet, here I am questioning myself, questioning life, and wondering who really even cares. I don’t have a good reason. But maybe I am doing horrible, and who is going to ask or care?

Someone told me that I have to be that change that I want, that I have to become all things to all men in order to substantiate that return of actionable sequence. I tried that. I’m bitter about the idea, and especially this relience on the notion of “karma”. That’s NOT how it works, I tell people, and yet they assume that the law of the Buddhist principle is very cut and dry, but it’s not, it’s so much bigger and deeper, it’s not just “you do good, and it comes back to you”, and the inverse, it’s not, but hey, if a television show featuring one of my favorite pro skaters can make a living with it, why not just roll with it, right?

How is it that an animated show captures depression so well, and yet it’s encapsulated in a comedy? I reflect on movies, because they are written by people that may understand the confines of entertainment, media, and human interactivity. There are movies that speak to us, because we are human beings and visual language, literacy, and more connect us to one another, whether we are close or far, whether we are the audience or the person creatively moving the story along.

Aren’t these images, movies, and characters just exaggerations? Aren’t they entertainment for us to laugh, not to analyze? Higgs certainly thinks so, but thena gain, also speaks to the larger issue of alcoholism, depression, and the ridiculous and educational nature of realities found within animation (Higgs, 2019).

So that’s where I am today. I’m like Bojack. I’m trying to make sense of why, I’m trying to be me, and I saw someone that said they weren’t ready, in a position where they are seeking, which is odd. I thought they weren’t ready?

How are you? My friend asked. I wanted to tell her the truth. Instead, I said, “I’m doing great”, and then walked away.

I’m not great.


“A-OK” by Face to Face

Higgs, Sam. “Exaggerated images: Animation and reality.” Screen Education 93 (2019): 96.

Pabst, Kevin Alexander. “Why the Long Face? Narratives of Depression in Netflix’s BoJack Horseman.” PhD diss., Wake Forest University, 2017.

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