A young woman’s emotionally distressing childhood, fuels her depression, affecting all areas of her life and she must decide to seek help before it’s too late.
Ellie is a young woman struggling with depression. On a cold Montréal spring day she attempts to leave her apartment but is overwhelmed with the world outside. Not ready to take the step she retreats to the safety of her home.
Ellie was born in London, to an English father and French mother, but after a turbulent divorce, the shared custody had her splitting her time between Paris and London. Young Ellie was caught in the middle of her parent’s fighting and expected to choose a side, and when she didn’t the anger would directed towards her. By the time she turned nineteen, she moved to Montréal to escape, but her past followed her and repeated itself time and time again in her own relationships, spiraling her into a deeper depression.
As Ellie’s depression continues to worsen, she withdraws further and further from society. She takes a job that allows her to work from home. Her anxiety attacks are more frequent and the façade of being alright which she had been able of to uphold starts to crumble. She loses contact with her friends. Leaving her apartment becomes increasingly difficult and she sinks deeper into solitude and severe depression. She’s tired all the time, barely sleeps or sleeps too much, dreads the beginning of each new day, and no longer recognizes herself. She often feels angry at herself, her parents and at her friends, for their lack of understanding of her experience.
Everything is weighed down with the constant reliving of trauma and self-loathing. Every moment of every day becomes too much to bear. Frightened by her thoughts, Ellie finally decides she needs to do something, and very reluctantly seeks the help of a therapist.
On the day of her first session, a hesitant Ellie waits for her first phone call from her new therapist. Anxious and apprehensive about her call, she nearly cancels the appointment, ends up missing the first call, but answers when the therapist, Doctor Lévesque, calls a second time.
The conversation with Doctor Lévesque reveals what Ellie has told him in her email prior to their call: In addition to depression and anxiety, she’s been feeling like a burden to those who love her, everyone would be better off if she were gone, feelings of being trapped and needing to escape. By the end of the session, Ellie is weeping. Feeling badly was one thing, but hearing her thoughts discussed aloud was excruciating.
Her mood doesn’t improve immediately, or for days after, but she’s finally sleeping a little better and a week later, she decides to give therapy another chance.
Slowly sessions begin to improve and for the first time, Ellie is getting ready to go out. She descends the stairs to the street again and this time, takes the step and goes out into the city.
Everything is not alright.
Everything is not joyful, or cheerful, or bright.
But she has made progress.
As she stands by the water in Old Montréal bathed in sunshine, she tells the audience via narration, that “Darkness is just the absence of light, and the light always returns”.
Directed by Gilles Plouffe (Canada)