Does Effy Have Psychotic Depression?

In Freddie’s “Skins” episode, the fifth of season four, we see him fight hard to save the love of his life. Effy, the most complex and mysterious character of “Skins,” is revealed to have some kind of mental illness. The show hints at psychotic depression, Freddie researches it, but it is not confirmed.

The episode starts with Effy and Freddie all loved up, yet we see that Effy is still troubled. When Freddie asks if it’s because she’s coming down from her high, she replies saying “this is me happy.”

According to healthyplace.com, about a quarter of those who are treated for depression in the hospital have psychotic depression. Those who suffer from the illness have depressive symptoms, hallucinations and “irrational thoughts and fears,” otherwise known as delusions.

It also states that “risk of bipolar depression, recurring episodes of psychotic depression and suicide are increased after its onset.”

Some symptoms listed on the site are anxiety, agitation and insomnia.

There are obvious signs of these symptoms, as well as unusual behaviour throughout the episode and even further back at the beginning of the series.

In the first season, little Effy Stonem is mute until her brother gets hit by a bus. In the following season we see her struggle to depict emotion in her art project for school. This carries into season three when Effy begs to sleep with Freddie so that she could “feel something.”

Now in season four, we continue to see Effy drown in drugs in alcohol in attempt to cope with her depression. She confides in Freddie at the park, telling him about her hallucinations and her fear that “they” are coming after her.

“They know now and they’re hungry because for as long as I know they’ve been chasing me and now they’re ready. Now they’re strong enough to break through and I can’t fight them. I used to be able to when I was strong but you’ve made me weak. And now I can’t.”

Things get worse when Effy and Freddie get lost in a parade, causing Effy’s anxiety to increase.

When Effy is found on the bathroom floor with slit wrists, it is clear that the diagnosis is correct.

Of course this is all too familiar for Freddie, who lost his mom to depression when she committed suicide.

I thought Luke Pasqualino did a good job showing hysteria as Freddie discovers Effy’s wrist in a pool of blood, but the real star of the episode was Kaya Scodelario, who did an amazing job portraying Effy’s unease and paranoia.

I’m not sure how Effy’s condition will be written out in her episode, but I do know that Scodelario won’t have any problem displaying her character’s emotions to a Freffy-hungry (Freddie and Effy) audience.


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