Someday I’ll wake up when the clouds are far behind me…
Judy Garland is a household name. We’ve met her in St. Louis, attended her Easter Parade and followed her over the rainbow. She ushered our lives into Technicolor with her angelic voice and all-knowing worldly naivety. She was the face of our childhoods.
But there is a dark history that we don’t acknowledge about Garland — she was deeply and wildly depressed. She attempted suicide multiple times, and spent much of her life in a dark place in her mental health, imagining a world she perceived better by her absence.
Mental health wasn’t talked about during her time — it was taboo and distasteful to expose your pain in public. Sadly, Judy Garland wasn’t given the help she desperately needed, as it was looked down upon and mocked.
Garland has often said that she lived for the crowd. She knew she was adored by her fans, and would do anything for them. But she also knew the difference between adoration and love, and more than anything she craved to feel loved.
In recent years, some of Garland’s third husband, Sid Luft’s, written accounts of her depression were found after his passing. A lot of them told detailed accounts of her suicide attempts.
“What demons inhabited her soul just when life seemed so rich and productive? It was a gigantic puzzlement that she would poison herself … and that the toxic reaction to whatever she swallowed would create an impulse for self-mutilation,” He wrote in his book, Judy & I: My Life with Judy Garland.
It is unbearably sad to think that a woman who brought us so much joy spent her life in so much pain. We must remember we are lucky to live in a day and age full of people who are working hard to normalize the discussion of depression and other mental illnesses. We must continue to work hard to pay attention to our loved ones, and make sure that they get the help they need.
We can only hope that Judy Garland finally found peace as she made her way over the rainbow.
Here are some of the most powerful Judy Garland quotes about depression, and what it feels like to be depressed and sad:
1. We all need to believe in the other side of the rainbow.
“I’ve always taken ‘The Wizard of Oz’ very seriously, you know. I believe in the idea of the rainbow. And I’ve spent my entire life trying to get over it.” —Judy Garland
2. When the concept of reality crushes your dreams.
“We cast away priceless time in dreams, born of imagination, fed upon illusion, and put to death by reality.” —Judy Garland
3. Sometimes we need someone to love who we are, and not admire what we do.
“In the silence of night I have often wished for just a few words of love from one man, rather than the applause of thousands of people.” —Judy Garland
4. When change feels unbearable.
“When you have lived the life I’ve lived, when you’ve loved and suffered, and been madly happy and desperately sad — well, that’s when you realize you’ll never be able to set it all down. Maybe you’d rather die first.” —Judy Garland
5. Keep your eyes forward, your head on straight, and your lips in reality.
“To let a fool kiss you is bad…To let a kiss fool you is worse. ‘Twas not my lips you kissed but my soul.” —Judy Garland
6. You cannot buy love.
“I can live without money, but I cannot live without love.” —Judy Garland
7. Sometimes, you’re so down that you stop believing in the sun.
“Behind every cloud is another cloud.” —Judy Garland
8. When you feel like you keep hitting the same wall.
“Birds fly over the rainbow. Why then, oh, why can’t I?” —Judy Garland
9. Adoration means nothing without love.
“If I’m such a legend, then why am I so lonely? If I’m such a legend, then why do I sit at home for hours staring at the damned telephone, hoping it’s out of order, even calling the operator asking her if she’s sure it’s not out of order?” —Judy Garland
10. It wasn’t until she was seen, that she lived.
“I was born at the age of twelve on an MGM lot.” —Judy Garland
11. Sometimes you need a little of the in-between.
“My life, my career has been like a roller coaster. I’ve either been an enormous success or just a down-and-out failure.” —Judy Garland
12. To love and to be loved in return.
“I’ve been in love with audiences all my life, and I’ve tried to please. I hope I did.” —Judy Garland
13. The grass is always greener on the other side.
“I’ve never looked through a keyhole without finding someone was looking back.” —Judy Garland
14. Why then oh why can’t I?
“As for my feelings toward “Over the Rainbow”, it’s become part of my life. It is so symbolic of all dreams and wishes that I’m sure that’s why people sometimes get tears in their eyes when they hear it.” —Judy Garland
15. A cry for help should not be masked as a cry for attention.
“There have been times when I have deliberately tried to take my life… I think I must have been crying for some attention.” —Judy Garland
16. Success don’t always bring support.
“Hollywood is a strange place if you’re in trouble. Everybody thinks it’s contagious.” —Judy Garland
17. Oh, to be seen.
“Audiences have kept me alive.” —Judy Garland
18. It isn’t always grand to see things as they are.
“How strange when an illusion dies. It’s as though you’ve lost a child.” —Judy Garland
19. On the risks associated with depression.
“You shouldn’t be told you’re completely irresponsible and be left alone with too much medication. It’s too easy to forget. You take a couple of sleeping pills and you wake up in twenty minutes and forget you’ve taken them. So you take a couple more, and the next thing you know you’ve taken too many.” —Judy Garland
20. Sometimes, you feel you could give all of yourself, just to be seen.
“I truly have a great love for an audience, and I used to want to prove it to them by giving them blood.” —Judy Garland