Mental illness has the power to trap people within themselves. Anxious thoughts run rampant as you overthink the way you introduced yourself to someone new. Depressive episodes keep you in bed, sometimes for days, before you're able to get up just to take a shower. It feels like an endless battle is happening within your brain, except you're fighting with yourself, and it seems like you won't ever be declared the winner. In her video for her most recent single, "Untangling," Kate Grahn takes us on her journey with OCD and Tic Disorder, as we watch her try to detangle herself from intrusive thoughts.
Grahn bring us to the desert, a blank canvas of sorts, similar to that of the mind. Upon pressing play, listeners are met with her soaring background vocals, giving a glimpse of what's to come. As Grahn comes into frame, sharp electric guitar is introduced with the addition of steady percussion. We watch as she stumbles around the desert, while stray hands grasp at her, trying to constrict her every move. She sings, "Is there somebody out there who can save me? / Is there something out there that can change me?" letting listeners in on just how desperate she is to no longer be at the mercy of her mind.
As the song reaches the chorus we see Grahn front and center, playing an electric guitar, and taking ownership of her narrative. This is interspersed by Simrin Player and Camryn Pearson, dancing with red ribbon, which seems to symbolize the ongoing mental battle that she faces. During the second verse we find Grahn surrounded by mirrors, as she sings, "Outside looking in / Staring at yourself." Player and Pearson continue to dance, as their reflections create a mounting tension that brings us back to the chorus. It's during the bridge that the visual representation of what it's like living with a mental illness comes to fruition as hands once again grasp at Grahn as the camera spins and the cuts become repetitive, illustrating how hard it can be to break yourself out of a cyclical thought pattern.
Grahn reaches her breaking point during the last chorus as she sees her reflection one last time and shatters the mirror, as she sings, "I'm untangling inside / And there's nowhere to hide / I'm helpless / Defenseless / And I'm running out of time." It is the grit and anger in her vocals that allows listeners to not only relate to Grahn's struggle, but battle their own demons right along side her.
Feature Image by Yising Kao and Xio España