“Every Brilliant Thing” by Duncan McMillan attempts to be an inclusive story about mental illness and the landscape it creates for the main character.

The life journey of the sole character played by Teressa Herrera was executed flawlessly. The spontaneity with which she was able to invoke the audience members’ participation belies her talent as a well-seasoned actress. The play’s interactivity requires a wit that not all players are gifted with. With this, the seemingly unscripted portions were a delight to witness. It brought humor to a place of suffering and anguish.

Her mother’s depression is the impetus for the compilation of a list – a list which contains all that is briliantly life-affirming, full of joy, blessings, and delight. It is a list that is a gift to her mother – to rescue her from self-despair.

The life journey of the sole character played by Teressa Herrera was executed flawlessly.

Although the list in “Every Brilliant Thing” is purported as a vehicle to alleviate her mother’s suffering, there is a glaring absence of the levity and magical moments that she and her mother shared. In this manner, the aim of the list and the content of the list are at odds. Where is her mother in the wonderments of life?

Another point of contention is the moment that the actress remarked that those suffering should have hope, that the hole of darkness and the unending pain will end. But, plainly speaking, I think that is a great disservice and shows a lack of empathy and understanding and puts forth a toxic positivity. At this point, I recognized a great distance between her and the mother she was trying, in a manner of speaking, to save. At that point, I felt singled out. Guilt. That a micro-aggression was hurled at me. Shame. That I am not doing enough. Hopeless.

The opinions expressed within the content are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the website or its affiliates. 

If you or your loved ones are feeling hopeless or depressed, seek professional help. In the Philippines, there are 24/7, free, compassionate and confidential support by phone:

HOPELINE – (02) 884-4673
NCMH Crisis Hotline – 1800-1888-1553 (free)

As a suicide survivor, a mental health advocate, and a person who lives with suicidal thoughts every day, I want to speak for her mother. Her mother didn’t have a name, nor was the audience invited to understand the profundity of depression. Her mother was just that, a woman who ended her pain in an undignified way. I know that death is not the point of suicide and that the purpose is not to cause pain to their loved ones. Suicide is the ultimate act to end the rawness of mental discord of life no longer worth living. 

I advocate for those who want to die with dignity, to end the shame and violence of suicide. This type of departure from the earth is the idea that we can choose to end our lives when we feel that life is no longer sustainable; it is a sweet surrender. To die with dignity surrounded by friends and family with their love and understanding, I hope will be an option available someday. Because many times, we just simply cannot go along with the conceit that it all soon shall pass.

Click here for more stories like “Every Brilliant Thing”. You may also follow and subscribe to our social media accounts: FacebookYouTubeInstagramTikTokTwitter, and Kumu.