On The Couch With My Depression – Angharad Gladding – Paula Harris – New Zealand

Full of excited anticipation, a poet plans to go to a book party. Then along comes depression. A film about yearning simply to be able to clean your teeth and leave the house.

Based on the poem “I was going to go to Dorothea Lasky’s book party in Brooklyn, but instead I stayed on the couch with my depression, not crying” by Paula Harris.

Director Biography – Angharad Gladding

With a background in film-making, art, design and creativity, Angharad wrote and directed her first short film in 2011. Her art is to combine her passions of film-making and mental health awareness and in 2019, she headed the team behind the film “It Is Me”. As the director, producer and DOP on this project it was officially selected into Canberra Mental Health Film Festival 2019, Hot Springs International Women’s Film Festival 2020, Conquering Disabilities with Film International Film Festival 2020 and the Courage Film Festival 2020. In the foreseeable future, she wishes to continue to combined these two passions to create more creative content.

Poet Biography – Paula Harris

Paula Harris lives in Aotearoa/New Zealand, where she writes and sleeps a lot, because that’s what depression makes you do. She won the 2018 Janet B. McCabe Poetry Prize and the 2017 Lilian Ida Smith Award, and was a semi-finalist for the 2020 92Y Discovery Poetry Prize. She was the recipient of a Vermont Studio Center writing residency in 2018.

Her poetry has been published in various journals, including PassagesNorth, Barren,New Ohio Review, SWWIM, Glass, Diode, The Spinoff, Poetry New Zealand Yearbook and Aotearotica. Her essays have been published in The Sun (forthcoming), HobartThe Spinoff and Headlands: New Stories of Anxiety (Victoria University Press).

She is extremely fond of dark chocolate, shoes and hoarding fabric.

Director Statement

I’ve always used different mediums of art to express my views on mental health. I have done so before and I want to continue to use film-making as a way to gain more awareness for those who struggle with mental health. I’ve always felt a little out of place myself with the stigma that surrounds anxiety and depression in society. I started out doing this because I want to normalise that stigma that currently surrounds it and allow people to see it as it really is without fear or judgement. This poem in particular resonated with me. It was so real and raw in its portrayal of struggling with depression. I felt I’d found another kindred spirit, who like me, wanted to paint mental health struggles as they really are in their natural form. I wanted to transform that realness and rawness into a visual representation to be used to reach a wide range of individuals to help normalise the stigma.

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