Your Sadness Swamp

The scene above is from the popular movie “The Neverending Story” and to this day can wring tears from me like nothing else. I watched this movie last night with my kids and found myself bombarded with questions as to why the horse wouldn’t fight the sadness. Every now and then the girls ask me a question that I can’t answer because the reality of it sucks. Luckily this movie does have a happy ending for the horse, but in real life when we are in the Swamp of Sadness or know someone else who is; there is not always that happy ending.

When the horse first begins to sink, Atreyu (the boy) slightly jokes around that it is hard to fight the sadness.

How often when we are in that swamp do our friends and family, joke around that we can beat this? Think of happy things? Just pull yourself out of it. It’s not that easy though is it? Often we are already up to our chest in the muck and it just seems easier to sink.

As the Atreyu realizes that light words aren’t going to work, he begins to scream in anger at the horse. He tells him that he “HAS TO FIGHT THE SADNESS.”

The horse makes no move to fight. He is consumed in the sadness and no amount of tough love is going to help him see that he needs to fight and get out. When it gets to that point, those around us get angry. They seem to think that their love should be enough for us to fight; to want to live. Like the horse though, sometimes it’s too much and it’s just easier to give up.

At the ending of the scene we see Atreyu alone in the swamp with nothing. He is broken. He couldn’t force his best friend to fight. He is grieving that his love wasn’t enough to battle the sadness.

There is not a happy ending at this scene and sometimes there isn’t a happy ending in real life.

If you only take one thing away from this scene and my words, I urge you to fight. For yourself or for someone you love that is in their swamp. Yank on the reigns with all of your heart and scream your love to them. Fight against the sadness because you are stronger. You are stronger than the mud that is weighing you down and it doesn’t have to be the end.

Categories: depression, fighting depression, the neverending story

8 replies

  1. This post really struck me to the core.I wrote a post about my struggle with depression (you can read it here:, and while writing, there was a point where all I could think about was that same scene…It really is quite fitting. On so many levels…Thank you for encouraging us to fight.

  2. What a great way to illustrate that point. I haven't seen that movie for years and years, and when I saw it I think I was too young to understand this point. I know that feeling, and I know others who know that feeling, and I know how hard it is to fight it. But I also know it's worth it.

  3. Sometimes it is only with the help of those pulling our reigns that we make it through. And other times we have to do it ourselves because no amount of love is going to change what is inside. It's a tough scene to watch. I still remember the first time I saw it… This was moving. Thank you for reminding us.

  4. Started back on my Celexa. My kids and Hubby were starting to ask what was wrong with me and why I was SO crabby. Hubby looked at me one day and said “well, you're back to your old, boring, bump-on-a-log ways!” What a wake-up call to me! Guess I really DO suffer from depression and it's not just postpartum. I'm helping myself get out of the mud!

  5. yes ma'am.i have grabbed the reins and tried to help drag, and I have been the horse myself. thank you for writing this.

  6. I love that movie, but if I watch that scene now I will be a mess for the rest of the night.You know I have had a terrible time this week with depression, I have been pulling myself out of the mud, but this week it seems to be so deep and sticky. I love that I have found a wonderful group of friends that I can talk about depression with and they understand how it feels.

  7. I can't watch this movie because it is so emotional. This scene is heartbreaking. Your post is wonderful. Thank you. It is a fight daily when you try to struggle free of depression. Your post is perfect.

  8. This posts hits home for me, unfortunately. I've been fighting postpartum depression for two years now and while it gets easier, there are still setbacks that make me want to call it quits for good. Through my openness about the illness I have been strong for those having weak days and vice versa. It's hard, but so very worth it.

Most importantly...what did you think? Do you have questions and concerns or request for a certain post?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: