I cannot begin to express how appreciative I am of what the Legend of Korra is doing in terms of addressing mental health. These last two episodes have blown me away. The writers have managed to craft a story with true depth and a sort of realism that’s so rare. I can honestly say I have never watched a show where the protagonist’s mental illness and/or struggles were treated with such respect and honesty.
I know I already wrote about this, but the latest episode (The Coronation) really sealed my impression with the inclusion of Korra’s scenes with Toph. Toph’s tough love approach was definitely what we all expected from her, but it was also something else. It was a perspective that is almost NEVER portrayed accurately - the really sucky, toxic, and sometimes near addictive aspects of mental illness.
When Toph accused Korra of not letting her remove the poison, I instantly thought back to my own experience with depression. At my darkest point, it was really hard to think about getting better. I couldn’t picture it, and honestly at times it felt easier to stay depressed. If I was always so tired and had a hard time even getting out of bed, then why even bother trying to get better? Being sad was hard, but putting effort into not being sad was even harder.
It was a vicious cycle that I’ve never been able to fully explain, but the fact that this show even metaphorically implied it is groundbreaking. (Of course, I only speak for myself and my personal experience, so do understand that I’m not trying to be spokesperson or anything).
Can you imagine if other shows were inspired to take the perils of mental illness head-on? So many more people would understand, or feel comforted. I’m just grateful that LOK is doing what it’s doing.