More Than A Beautiful Mind

Amanda Yuk
2 min readDec 23, 2020

In the 2011 movie My Significant Other Has Depression, directly translated from the Japanese Tsure ga utsu ni narimashite, the highs and lows of living with mental illness are portrayed through fresh lens. Haruko plays the character of a middle-aged manga artist living with her husband, Mikio, a typical salaryman, together with a school of fish and Igu, their pet iguana. As Mikio slowly descends into the abyss of clinical depression, he has trouble focusing on everyday tasks, quits his full-time job and seeks help.

During this time, he is placed on medication and seeks regular counselling too. As his moods dip, he realizes that he is unable to make a living and provide for the both of them, becoming increasingly frustrated and upset about his inability to be productive. Thankfully, an understanding and supportive Haruko comes into play as she steps up as the main breadwinner to support him. The plot is devoid of the cheesiness found in typical Chinese dramas or the exaggeration enjoyed by many Western audiences. Instead, it tackles the difficulties of living with a romantic partner who has chronic depression in a realistic yet lighthearted manner.

It becomes apparent that the situation would be prolonged for some time. Toward the end of the 2-hour film, viewers are treated to a special happy ending. One that even borders on being saccharinely sweet. Our protagonist, Mikio, recovers from his depressive spell. This can be attributed to the devotion of his loving wife Haruko. She channels her confusion and frustration at witnessing such an abrupt change in personality into her drawing, and eventually gains more recognition at work.

As a freelance writer and a mental health advocate, it is necessary to read and watch nearly every gritty, gruesome piece of literature and art work that I can get my hands on. The darker the subject, the easier it is to review it and to come up with good lengthy honest reviews like this one. At the same time, we have to remember that in order to help someone with ‘rose-colored glasses’ we also have to — — buckle our own seatbelts first!

Sure, we can no longer change our personal histories. Neither can we bring back the loved ones who have gone ahead of us, by will or as a cause of nature. But we can still live each day at a day, mindful of the impact that we are having on future generations, and in turn, their future generations.

“Perhaps it is good to have a beautiful mind, but an even greater gift is the discovery of a beautiful heart.”

Amanda Yuk

A writer making her mark one word at a time.