Would a four-minute film be enough to show the agony and pain experienced by people with depression? For a group of young Omani filmmakers and creatives, it can be done just as effectively as any full-length film can.
Empty” is a short documentary on Depression and Anxiety in which sufferers of depression express their deep thoughts and mental wellbeing as this documentary aims to find internal emotions from the worlds fast-growing mental illness, which affects many people. It also sheds light on this challenging mental health condition and lifts the curtain on the stigma surrounding it.
While silence prevailed in "Empty", it effectively shed the light on the daily struggles of the depressed: starting from waking up sluggishly and the heavy moments before finally lifting the heavy head from the pillow to driving the car to work and then coming back to the darkroom in the evening to sleep, the pain continues.
“Having struggled with depression their entire life, some of the team members of “Empty” shares their experiences about depression to help erase the stigma and make the topic more accessible and understandable”, shared al Miqdam al Sulaimani, the director of the film.
He explained that this short film delves into the reasons why “many adults in this country experience a mental health issue that stands in the way of happiness. He described rash and risky behaviours that put themselves and others in danger and how this was related to emotional pain and a sense of worthlessness.
Al Sulaimani addressed topics such as symptoms, suicidal thoughts, stigma, and how depression can arise and challenge anyone—regardless of age, race, or socioeconomic background.
The whole idea of the film, al Miqdam explained, is to get people to understand why people with depression act the way they do. He said, "The depressed are tired of listening to “Why are you acting like this?” and “What’s wrong with you?”. None of those questions is comfortable to hear. There is a psychological war happening inside of them. They strive to change but they can’t.”
Al Miqdam is sad about the condition that many people reach when trying to live a normal life in their societies but they fail. “Depression affects many individuals and families in debilitating and sometimes even devastating ways, but one of the most difficult things about it is that it is so highly personal to each person who suffers from it — and such a mystery to many of the people who do not”.
Just as there is no one-size-fits-all explanation for how people experience depression, there is no single perfect method for how to explain depression to someone. But the important thing to remember is that making an effort to explain depression to others can help them understand the way they feel, and it can help them know how to best give love and support as they work through mental illness and seek help for it.
The team includes: Al Miqdam al Sulaimani, Jihad Adel, Buthaina al Habsi, Shaikha al Abri, Hamad al Ghalabi, Jabir al Hakamani, Zayid al Busaidi and Nasir al Harthi