JUNK FOOD: Raising Arizona and Self-care

I have struggled/battled/beaten/lived with depression for a long time. And I’ve been watching movies for almost as long. I loved ‘Raising Arizona’ from the first time I watched it in ~1994, and have been rewatching it (and singing the theme song) regularly since. 

When ne’er-do-well Hi (Nicolas Cage at his finest) and police officer Ed (the incomparable Holly Hunter) are trying to get pregnant to live out their salad days, a montage and accompanying voiceover show that, “Edwina’s insides were a rocky place where [Hi’s] seed could find no purchase.” Hi’s voiceover goes on to describe Ed’s depression as, “Iost all interest in both criminaI justice and housekeepin’. Soon after, she tendered her badge.”

woman in police uniform sits listlessly on a bed; Holly Hunter in Raising Arizona

TWIST! Until I got a DVD player with the options for subtitles I had always heard, “She took to her bed.” I think I assumed this was the line because I was used to hearing it in waking life. It was a phrase that was used to mask something deeper and more vulnerable–that some of us are born barely consolable, and that the thin veil between the observable and the perceived is sometimes full of holes. “She took to her bed” because getting up from it was just too hard. 

woman, man, and baby in sunglasses in lawn chairs; poster for Raising Arizona

Hi and Ed’s journey to fulfillment is rocky–but highly recommended viewing!–and I still take to my bed sometimes. At my lowest I couldn’t get up for weeks, which stretched into months. Now I am more-or-less fully functional–thanks to therapy and management–but there are still days when the world feels heavy and my shoulders buckle. Prostrate on the couch, or swaddled in my creaky bed, some days are best used for gentleness, recovery, and self-care. Some days I still take to my bed, but it’s equal parts treatment and prophylactic; if taking to my bed today means I can get up tomorrow, then I have gotten closer to rescuing the euphemism from masking depression and, instead, infusing it with the good vibes of self-care. I still take to my bed sometimes, but I’m not ready to tender my badge.