Talkin' TV: 'Modern Love' Gives a Crash Course on Vulnerability in Mental Health & Dating
Updated: Dec 16, 2019
Modern Love is a series on Amazon Prime that explores 8 couples highs and lows that make up love in all relationships. I’m obsessed with TV so it’s not a huge shock that I found this show, but I’m a sucker for big actors and actresses being seen in a lens outside of their typical roles. Tina Fey stars in episode 4 , “Rallying to Keep the Game Alive”, as one half a couple fighting for their marriage as the romantic love has run its course. The episode with the most impact for me follows Anne Hathoway’s character Lexi as she examines how her mental disorder affects every aspect from career to relationships, specifically romantic ones.
The story begins with Lexi meeting Jeff in a grocery store, where he is attracted to her inviting and adventurous personality. They go on a breakfast date after just having met, after having a wonderful time together they make plans for dinner in a couple days. The exuberance of personified though dancing background characters and dramatic dialogue between Lexi and Jeff. As her day progresses we learn that she’s a young “hot shot” in the prime of her career, but struggles with consistently missing days from work. As her day progresses and she makes it home and starts to feel lethargic. The only place she feels safe is her bed day after day.
A couple days have gone by and she’s woken up with a call from Jeff confirming her street address for their date that night. She doesn’t cancel the date, and from Jeff's point of view I can see how she's coming off as sloppy and uninterested. The date ends abruptly and he leaves the offer to reconnect up to her. A couple days later she wakes up to her “perfect morning” and gives Jeff a call to explain that she was sick with the flu and would love to make up the date the next day.
Please come back, don’t come back.
She reveals in a soliloquy that her extremely high highs and low lows are a result of an untreated bipolar disorder that began in high school when she couldn’t physically get herself out of bed for a month. She was always able to be productive when she was able to be, but lost out on many career opportunities due to the lack of consistent attendance. She attempted to get better with various forms of therapy. She never talks to anyone in her life about it because she doesn't know how they would react and didn't want to be a burden. I won't give all of the episode away, but I've seen elements reflected in my own life for sure. This is the first episode of TV that I’ve seen where a woman gets to be broken just for her. There wasn’t any postpartum depression or break up that drove her insane, Lexi is figuring out how to navigate relationships as the healthiest version of herself.
A few months ago I wasn't able to put a name to feeling down and having so many thoughts racing in my head that I thought my heart would explode all of a sudden. Currently I'm getting a handle on what's classified as severe anxiety, but I'm still overly aware of how it can come off to other people. Doing what I need to do everyday is hard enough, I prefer texting as my main form of communication because it gets to the point and I can respond when I'm in the best headspace. In regards to romantic relationships, I just might be the annoying girlfriend ™ but only some of that stems from anxiety. There are moments when I go quite and people think I'm upset when really my mind is racing in every direction. I also love reassurance, especially though physical touch! Open communication is huge and make everything easier, I like to know when I can expect you home or that you're safe. If this sounds like a warning, it kinda is. Being honest lets everyone decide for themselves if I'm worth it or not. Knowing that I love hard and that I'm capable of being loved is still wild to me. Everyone deserves a person that can be their safe space, that is their home. Love isn't everything, but it's a hell of a place to start. It only takes one person willing to see all of you and take a chance on what they find.
Comment below if mental health has impacted your dating life! Like and share with someone who needs a little encouragement to heal and give love a try!