I am Jack's Medulla Oblongata, Schizoaffective, Artist, Village Lunatic, Alien, Practicing Zen Buddhist, Taoist, Vegetarian, Mystic, Recluse, Suburban Monk, Shaman, Radical, Misanthrope, Keynesian, Wizard, Subversive, Incurable Flirt, Alchemist, Professional Psycho, Polymath, Proud Liberal, Weirdo, Social Democrat, Utilitarian, Cult Leader, Porn Star in Training, Eccentric, Imperfect Being, cynic, pessimist, Non-theist, Sagittarius, Pirate and aspiring Rhinoceros. That should about cover it.
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook and Bipolar Disorder.
Psychological diseases touch nearly every family, and individual, yet we don't discuss these medical disorders openly out of fear. It's so sad that there are so many others living through the same hellish nightmare but something holds us back from comparing notes. That something is the fear, shame and ignorance that still permeates our society but I feel we are at a tipping point where a national dialogue is soon approaching.
When famous celebrities come forward and open-up about their personal stories involving psychological diseases, like De Niro, it gives the rest of us permission to talk openly, too. That is one benefit from living in a celebrity worshiping culture. We follow their example, for better or worse. Unfortunately, people are more likely to listen, and believe, celebrities talking about psychological disorders than their own family and friends.
Another change happening is movies portraying bipolar, and other diseases of the brain, in all their brutal honesty. For years, Hollywood has chosen to exploit psychological diseases for their shock value, only depicting the most extreme cases. This lead the public to believe that people with psychological disorders were all stark-raving lunatics who like to kill people and eat their young.
However, now, with movies like "Silver Linings Playbook" and "A Beautiful Mind" the discussion is real, honest and fair. Hollywood is finally stripping away the ridiculous caricature to reveal the gritty reality of people living with these diseases, and the families who love them. These movies can reach an audience far easier, wider and quicker than individual activism. Hopefully, these movies can help start the dialogue, nationally. I feel we are so close to the dam of ignorance breaking as education spreads.
Hopefully, soon, we can get to a level of understanding and acceptance like that of the gay and lesbian community. We have seen how fast stigmas and ignorance can change with the gay rights movement. So, now that people are feeling safer to talk about these diseases, openly, we can stop reinforcing stigmas that do nothing but make these diseases even hard to survive. If nothing else, these movies help speak to people who feel alone, and without any understanding from family or friends. It gives them the message that they are not alone and that there is hope. That there are people out there who suffer similarly, people who care and want to help.