A few years ago I discovered that a good documentary can change the way you think about things. A really good documentary can change your life.
Because I am human, and we humans tend to gravitate towards the things we find interesting and enjoyable, I watch mostly science, music and art documentaries. But occasionally I stumble across something that covers a subject I think I should learn more about. I am VERY picky about these unknown topics. As melodramatic as this may sound, I am picky because I need to protect my mental well-being.
Knowing as I do that a well made, intelligent documentary can drag me in and focus my thoughts means I must be aware that my mood (often dictated by my thoughts) is likely to be affected too.
I make conscious decisions to watch programmes that may make me sad, angry or even depressed, because there is also the possibility of having my perspective changed, of having my eyes opened a little more. A chance to see a small slice of the world as someone else does.
I value those things because I am very aware that we are all completely alone inside our own heads. Most of the time I am actually grateful for that, but sometimes that aloneness creates a yearning to connect and the only way that is even remotely possible is through empathy.
After musing with someone very important to me about how this blog gets things out of my head and how I feel lighter after posting, I decided that maybe it was time to start writing about the stuff that makes me feel more than the motivation and positivity I have aimed for so far.
The latest non-science/music/art documentary I watched was the HBO Heroin: Cape Cod.
I am not going to write a review of this documentary…it is either your sort of thing or it is not, but my thoughts after watching it are that even though it is sometimes difficult to empathise with people wholly different to you there is always something, some tiny word or look or action that connects us all as humans struggling through life.
The people struggling with their own addictions in this film were all younger than me, and their difficulties were not the same as mine, but there was enough commonality for me to see them as humans as worthy of compassion as any of us. We would have been amused by the same joke or frustrated by the same argument.
I was a little surprised that I didn’t feel more connection with the parents of those young people, although one of the mothers made the point that should her son be suffering from any other disease she would be inundated with cassoroles…which she was not, and I agree with her, what I really came away from this film with was anger.
That’s an understatement. What I feel is fury.
What I feel is disgust with a society that can prescribe legal drugs that are massively addictive and yet condemn those who turn to heroin when the prescription ends or they can no longer afford it.
These addictions ARE a disease, an illness, but to me they are more. They are a long, slow murder of people by the pharmaceutical companies that claim to be helping them. They are expected to battle a drug that has altered their very brain chemistry, isn’t that a bit like telling someone without eyes to see?
It is betrayal of the highest order.