Black Box

Janice Tabin

DISCLAIMER: Everybody's journey through antidepressants is different, and Black Box only portrays an exaggeration of one potential experience through a fictional character. This is not meant to dictate or represent any specific person's experience and will not resemble everybody's history with mental illness or medications.

Black Box

Uliana Dukach and Janice Tabin

Approximately 40 million Americans of all ages currently take antidepressants, and even more have tried them in the past. People don't always know what to expect when starting anti-depressants, and thus there are many misconceptions about them, such as the hope for an instant or cure-all drug. Antidepressants can take weeks to take effect, especially if a dosage increase becomes necessary, but the side effects will come faster, although they may fade with time or a lower dosage. The film Black Box portrays artistic exaggerations of a wide variety of anti-depressant side effects ranging in severity from uncommon effects such as ear ringing, seizures, nightmares, and memory loss, to more common effects like nausea, lightheadedness, weight loss or gain, low libido, lack of affect, and most concerningly, suicidality. The film's main character attempts to overdose on the medication, a surprisingly common event despite deaths from prescription medication overdose being rare, and gets better when psychotherapy and a new medication are added to her treatment. The message of this short film is that antidepressants are meant to help the recovery process, not be the recovery process, and that they require patience for a chance of improvement. This film was made using Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects, to add the compelling visual portrayals of the drugs. The hope is that Black Box will help people in need of psychiatric treatment have more realistic expectations of what's ahead of them, and give people who've already been through that system something that they can relate to. 

Further Reading on Antidepressants:

http://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/visions/medications-vol4/myths-about-antidepressants

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/depression-treatment-options-for-children-and-adolescents-beyond-the-basics#H5

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/teen-depression/in-depth/antidepressants/art-20047502