'Orange Is the New Black' Star Samira Wiley On Depression & How The Show Is Helping Spread Awareness
While there were many hilarious moments in Orange Is the New Black Season 3 (The Time Hump Chronicles immediately comes to mind), the series has also never shied away from dabbling in some the more serious topics that exist not just for women in prison, but the women everywhere. And this season proved to be no exception, when it saw both Orange is the New Black characters Poussey and Soso struggle with depression in their own ways. This eventually resulted in alcoholism on Poussey's part and even attempted suicide on Soso's part. And, while these characters seemed to be improving by the end of the season, it still raised a very important issue that needs and deserves to be talked about more.
"I think that depression has sort of a stigma in society," Samira Wiley (who plays Poussey) tells Bustle. She also noted that it's not a condition that can just be easily resolved or brushed under the rug. "I think it would be great if there was a larger conversation about that in society and just knowing that people can be open about it. That you should talk about it." And in a very distinct way, that's exactly what OITNB wanted to achieve, and the show succeeded with flying colors.
Feelings of sadness and loneliness existed for both Poussey and Soso throughout the entire season. It wasn't just touched upon in one episode that saw their problems magically get fixed within a 60-minute time period. That's not how real life works. And, that's certainly not how depression works. Not to mention that it also allowed viewers to experience the different stages someone can go through during depression and the grave side effects it can sometimes lead to.
"A lot of times depression does lead to large, rash acts like Brook Soso where she tries to commit suicide," Wiley says. "So in order to circumvent some of those outcomes in real life, I think the only thing that can help it is an open conversation." Dialogue is key in letting others know that they are not alone. And thanks to OITNB, we now have yet another platform to help get that message across.
We don't yet know what Season 4 will bring for Soso and Poussey, but hopefully their experience with depression will continue to get the platform it deserves, and help viewers out there start an important conversation.
Images: Jill Greenberg/Netflix; Giphy (2)