Huh?? That’s probably what you thought when you clicked on this blog post. Depression….. The X Files….. Right. I’ll admit, I’m a scifi fan, and the X Files is one of my all-time favorite shows. I’m old enough to have enjoyed it the first time around in the ’90s, and now I’m watching the entire series again on DVD. Yes, I’m a big nerd, but I digress.

A couple of nights ago, I watched one of the many alien conspiracy episodes involving Agents Scully and Mulder, Assistant Director Skinner, Alex Krycek, and a host of other folks mixed up in a thick plot. This is somewhere in the last of nine seasons, so alien conspiracy and high drama are not new to the regular viewer by this time.

I had a few thought collisions today, leading me to compare depression with the X Files. I was briefly distracted from my normal writing tasks when I recalled what I was thinking during the episode I watched recently: “Geeze, it always seems like nobody believes these people, even when there’s clearly a huge problem.”

They can’t tell anybody, they don’t know who to trust, and whoever they do tell surely will think they are crazy. Really, who would ever believe that the informant who is trying to feed the agents helpful information really has the scar from a metal chip in his neck because he’s an alien hybrid? Even though all the viewers and the key cast members know all about this threat, the agents never seem to know who they can trust. They live in a world of worry, peril, secrecy, and confusion.

Ta-da. There’s my connection. I have often said to myself that my depression felt like an alien had taken over my brain, though the takeover wasn’t complete because I still knew that I was me. I was just disabled enough to have little control but aware enough to realize I wasn’t able to get the alien out by myself.

I needed help. This wasn’t normal; I knew something was different. But what? And how do I describe this? Would anyone believe me? And would I wish I would have kept my mouth shut once I said something? How will this affect my job, my kids, my marriage? I can’t keep going on like this, but I don’t know if I can tell anyone either. Which is more dangerous?

And all Mulder, Scully, and Skinner have is each other. They’ve witnessed and been through difficult things that would be hard to believe unless you’d been there. Depression often is that unbelievable, too. Unless you have felt the takeover of your mind, seen the lost look on your own face in the mirror, and begun to doubt everything you’ve known, it can be hard to understand from the outside.

Fortunately, there is much more support and help available for people with depression than there ever seemed to be for Scully, Mulder, and Skinner. Those aliens just kept coming at them and they kept fighting them tooth and nail. Suddenly, I’m feeling a fond kinship with these X Files heroes – alien fighters to the end.



View Comments / Leave a Comment

This post currently has 6 comments.
You can read the comments or leave your own thoughts.

    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Apr 2009
    Published on All rights reserved.

APA Reference
Krull, E. (2009). How Depression Is Like The X Files. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 26, 2015, from


Recent Comments
  • Chet Bush: Thank you Professor Betsy Hoza for your ‘much needed Study on the ‘impotence of...
  • Lucy: Hi Shawna – you really need to get away from your father. You also need to realise that nothing he says...
  • kazchaz: This is helpful, very much so and it would be great to hear from you again, with updates on your progress,...
  • sambo: I really need some help im so depressed and anxious I cant work or leave the house im on antidepressants and...
  • Concerned: My father was a narcissist. He basically ruined my mother’s life and she ended up dying young of...
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code

Users Online: 11086
Join Us Now!