In The 108 Journey, Hugo Rozon, 25, shares with the public what he has most intimate: his bipolarity. Metro was able to discuss with him this touching documentary, presented for the Bell Let’s Talk Day.
From India to Nepal, The 108 Journey is shown to us as a travel diary in pictures, that of its protagonist and co-director. Achieved from bipolar, Hugo Rozon gives us his thoughts punctuated by adventures and encounters, from which he draws positive and benevolent lessons from each. The opposite of taboos linked to mental health, the film brings hopes and reflections that are more necessary than ever. Open the dialogue, too.
The 108 Journey is your first documentary. Why did you want to talk about mental health?
I have several friends around me who have also received mental health diagnoses. We talked about it among us and this project, which was not a film at the beginning, was born from the desire to come together and express ourselves without judgments, without shame, to become the cure for misunderstood people. I didn’t want to tackle the formal and medical aspect, but rather create an environment where people who feel different are understood, because there are still a lot of taboos. My goal is not to become a guru or a life coach. I just see myself as a member of the community. But before helping others, I needed to do some soul searching.
What about the bipolarity you have?
The first six months of my bipolarity, I often went on forums and I read that I was going to remain anxious for the rest of my life for example. It was all dramatic and it was difficult to live with. I thought it was a serious illness. And then I had the chance to meet other bipolar people, because even though I had the support of my loved ones, I felt alone. It’s complex and it takes time to grasp. The work of a lifetime. Everything changed when I was given the right medication and told that bipolarity could become a force. Now, I am happy 80% of the time, and I have even been able to start a successful company. If someone suggested that I no longer be bipolar, I would say no, because that’s what makes my whole personality, to be unique. Not all people with bipolar disorder are the same. Finally, it is not a weakness to have emotions.
To come back to this introspection, why did you choose India and Nepal?
I’ve always been inspired by The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Steve Jobs… So it was very intriguing for me to go there. It was really a big shock at first, but the country is beautiful and diverse, from the calm of the mountains to the chaos of the city. One morning, after having spent a restless night, I wanted to regain control by going for a run on the beach. It was 45 degrees, I was tired and suddenly lost my breath. From then on, I stopped drinking completely and went to Rishikesh, the capital of yoga. I rested there for a month and a half.
We feel a certain duality in the film. Can you tell us more?
It is true. In life, I have always had the impression of being in duality. We often find that I seem like a good person, but I sometimes lose control like it’s another part of me. During the trip, in the middle of the mountains, I clicked. All alone and with few points of reference, I had to learn to work on my anxieties and my depressions. I realized that I didn’t have to fight against myself, to judge myself. Today, I have the impression that there is a union between my two sides. I try to find a balance, discipline, I eat well, I don’t really drink alcohol anymore, etc. It’s like I have more strength, more confidence now.
Yohan is a strong character. Who is he?
Yohan is a mentor to me. I met him on a bus in Southeast Asia and we had talked nonstop for eight hours. It was he who introduced me to number 108. As much in science as in Chinese astrology, it involves and means a lot of things and I kept it as a lucky charm. I have always stayed in touch with Yohan and, as we see in the documentary, we ended up in India. When we talk about mental health, it opens me up to other perspectives that we don’t necessarily see in Quebec or in the West. Spirituality helps me see life in a different way.
The 108 Journey will be presented for free online and premiered on Thursday January 28 at 8 p.m.