Friday, September 20, 2013

Media Portrayals of Mental Illness...You noticed that too??

I'm sure that we have all heard the phrase "art mirrors society" or something to that affect.  It's true.  Many times, art and media put a magnifying glass on society and give people something they can relate to. And sometimes it doesn't mirror us back directly but is representative of a desire or fantasy and you get shows like True Blood and Walking Dead....There are an infinite amount of societal issues that the media touches on but I want to touch on one that I have noticed has become a theme in recent years.  I am talking about mental health/illness.  The media has done a poor job generally of depicting mental illness but recently has had a couple of redeeming elements in characters like House, Carrie Matheson in Homeland, and recently (spoiler alert) Cate Blanchette's character in Blue Jasmine.  House and Carrie Matheson are 2 characters who's mental illness gets redirected and is used as a strength.  In Blue Jasmine Woody Allen's anti-heroine systematically self destructs while struggling to accept what her life has become and we watch painfully as she eventually turns into a basketcase (Great flick).  I know a lot of people are thinking Walt Jr./Flynn from Breaking Bad but he has cerebral palsy which isnt a mental illness just a disorder that inhibits motor function but the portrayal of his character I find to be revolutionary in that he is a real smart ass in that show and most people think of the disabled as these, "woe is me" characters to be pitied.  Never pitied Flynn.  Wanted Skylar to slap the shit out of him but never pitied him. 

I think the reason why we are seeing more portrayal of mental illness is that there is more of it in our country than we want to admit.  Just look at the pharaceutical commercials on anti-depressants.  Theyre all over the place, and what about the portrayal of shrinks, psycologists and therapists (which are different btw).  The scene of the main character in a therapy session is almost cliche to the point of parody.  This to me is really unfortunate because mental illness is a serious problem and should be taken out of the realm of stigma.  People with issues with mental illness should seek help and realize that its just as important if not more as keeping physically fit and spiritually sound.  When you got a headache you take an aspirin if your arm breaks you get a cast so you can heal.  Your mind is no different.  There has been a recent influx of mass shootings occurring as a result of people who neglected their mental health. Its almost as if our ignorance of our fellow man's mental health is becoming a silent killer.  The recent Navy Yard tragedy is what inspired this article.  With Sandy Hook not to long ago and the movie theater shooting its becoming a serious problem.  Out of respect for the people affected by the tragedies I will decline to speak further about it but I charge all of you readers to make sure that they take care of yourselves.  Dont be afraid to ask for help and if your going through a rough patch try to stay positive and surround yourself with the right people.  Yeah I got sincere on y'all asses. Deal with it!

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