A lot of people who have never experienced their own mental health crises or don’t have someone extremely close to them that have experienced it. Subsequently, their thoughts about mental illness are a series of random stereotypes that trivialize what really goes on inside the head of a person who has a mental illness. Oh, and of course the celebrities that come out about their own struggles while they are well enough to hide it (Carrie Fisher… she’s an exception. She came public and had the public see the real face of MI).
But then there are the books, movies, tv shows, etc. I’m sure you’ve heard of the pixie girl who has bipolar disorder and makes it seem like the moods don’t affect them and they find the right medicine, docs, and therapists right away.
And Depression. Never (unless you’re trying to be as real as you can) does any medium address the nitty gritty of severe depression. In most cases, the depressed person is surrounded by family and friends that they somehow snap out of depression into an amazing, glorious life.
Psychotic disorders. These are less likely to be addressed in media unless it is one of “the crazies” who only deserve the psychiatric hospitals and the stereotype of Uncontrollable. Wild. Truth? Go read Wally Lamb’s I know this Much is True. .
Even stories like One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Girl, Interrupted lose the true sense of mental illness. The former was more about one patient disturbing the peace. The later really tries to bring the life of mental illness to the forefront. After all, it was adapted from a book.
But stereotypes abound. The anorexic who eats, while the staff take her clothes and give her a hospital gown until she eats “more.” Without even ever struggling with an eating disorder, you still feel bad for her, thinking that she doesn’t “look” that sick. Then there was Lisa (played by Angelina Jolie). Self- proclaimed (and reinforced when she reads her chart), sociopath. Yet, she gets close to Suzanna, often leading her down the pathway of her life. When Suzanna wants to go home, she abandoned the life she had with Lisa… even when Lisa is brought back in. The kicker is that by the time Lisa came back, Suzanna was striving to get out. The other patients here are what I’d call the “worst problem.” because they are hardly addressed in the book (and Movie), where you have to on emotional cues. The movie did capture things that are true however. I remember even crying ugly sobs that I could end up that way. Don’t even get me started on One flew Over the Cuckoos Nest because I’d be hear for hours.
The point I am trying desperately to shine the light on about mental Illness is as reality and not the happy-go-lucky disorder.
That girl with the pixie cut, living out her Bipolar Illness as a badge of honor. In reality, we hide. Everything. Stop noticing that as “fun.” It deeply hurts us when you think this way. And what’s missing from the media? Those episodes of Mania where you spend your life savings on trash. How the crash down is so great that you can enter a deep deep depression (I’m not saying all, but a good few). And specifically with the Depression your urge to get out of bed is gone. Nothing you’ve ever done is good enough, and you’ll skip the showers (and teeth and general hygiene) for another day of self-loathing. Or when a skipped medication results in constantly trying to remember to take it. Don’t use it for a couple of days and you’re fighting WW3 in your mind
Psychotic Disorder. Woo boy! :
Hallucinations and/or delusions. Negative symptoms are causing you to express emotions differently and/or make a strong connections.
There are many different things that people without meds are set free…
They’re not. They, for some reason ignore the illness as genuine catalyst to having episodes. I, personally could only imagine having more episodes if I stopped my meds (won’t EVER do that) I cycle… very fast… unless someone is severely ill comes into my life and I need to go and see them… the family.
Even my own mother thinks that what you actually experience is shown. She had a damn good wake-up call when I was first hospitalized, and I wasn’t fitting in with the “norm” she cultivated. She really had to take a step back and throw away her misconceptions. There was something different in me, but no one could pinpoint it. Now, she accepts and understands without judging. And she was also there for me when I got diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder, bipolar type. It was basically the same thing as my prior Diagnosis (Bipolar 1 with intermittent psychosis), so the new “label” I was pushed people away simply because of it’s name. Bipolar verses Schizoaffective disorder.
Look up what you don’t know about it. It will be clear once you go through and accept my disorder. Unfortunately, most of them did not even try to understand. And then they disappeared. I’ve rekindled some relationships and built up some bridges that I thought weren’t savable. I have a nice small group of friends and that is enough. I feel so mentally drained when I sit and talk to other people.
Ok… time to end this blog. It’s been real.