No laughing matter

Mar
5
Posted Monday, March 5th 2012 at 5:21pm
Tagged:  

By Arley Hoskin
 
Today I want to give a wag of my finger to Mr. Stephen Colbert.
 
Last week Colbert interviewed Claire Danes about her role in the Showtime television show Homeland. Danes plays a CIA agent who has bipolar disorder. 
 
“You play a character with a set of particular emotional issues,” Colbert starts the interview.
 
Is he really going to talk about bipolar disorder and be able to make it funny, I thought as I watched the clip from Homeland.
 
The clip showed a hospitalized Danes frantically begging a nurse in a psych ward for a green pen. They had given her a blue pen but that wouldn’t work. It had to be the green one. The blue one doesn’t even make sense, Danes' character says. The character becomes irate. Clearly she’s insane. 
 
Danes pulls off the bipolar character well and makes me want to actually watch Homeland. Colbert, unfortunately, did not get through the interview without offending almost anyone who is bipolar or has a loved one with the disease.
 
“What’s wrong with her?” Colbert says with a laugh after the clip ends. 
 
Later in the interview Colbert jokingly asks Danes, “Is there anything bipolar in you?”
 
“I really, really hope not,” she replies.
 
I watch the Colbert Report almost every night. I’m a fan. I even thought about donating to his Super Pac. But poking fun at people who have a mental illness is just wrong. Period.
 
Do I have a double standard about poking fun of politicians, celebrities and billionaires? Absolutely. People who go into politics or reality TV put themselves in the limelight. People who have a mental illness on the other hand, typically pray that they are able to stay under the radar, at least as far as the mental illness is concerned.
 
According to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, bipolar disorder affects about 5.7 million adults. Most of these people don’t talk about their illness because there is so much stigma and miseducation about the disorder. And interviews like the one on the Colbert Report only drive people who suffer from bipolar disorder even more into isolation.
 
I know because I have bipolar disorder. 
 
I was diagnosed with this condition at age 22 after a six-month bout with severe depression followed by a full-blown manic episode. For those of you who don’t know what a manic episode is, imagine smoking crack and tripping acid at the same time. Speeding thoughts, hallucinations, paranoia and endless energy. It seems fun at first until you come down and realize you have lost half your friends, compromised your career and made a fool out of yourself to everyone you know. 
 
Picking up the pieces of my mania felt like starting over. With the help of family, the friends who stuck around, and a very gracious editor, I was able to get back on my feet.
 
Over the years, I’ve made new sets of friends and continued to pursue my career. And as I’ve done so, I’ve managed to keep my disorder a secret for the most part. With lithium on my side, I’ve avoided any major depression or manic episodes.
 
The truth is bipolar disorder is extremely treatable. But people often don’t get treatment or don’t stick with treatment because of the stigma. No one wants to be crazy. No one wants to be the girl who needs the green pen. 
 
Well, I am that girl. When I saw that scene from Homeland, I saw myself. And it wasn’t something that I wanted to laugh about. Or hear other people laugh about.
 
Would Colbert laugh about the fact that Laura Linney’s character has cancer on The Big C? I doubt it. Because we don’t joke about cancer. And we shouldn’t joke about a disorder as serious as bipolar either. 
 
I wrote this blog because I no longer want to stand by when people make uneducated remarks about a condition that has so vastly affected my life. I wrote this blog because I want people to know that it’s OK to have bipolar disorder. I wrote this blog because I want people to realize that, yes, we are crazy at times, but we are also treatable, competent, creative, successful and all-around awesome. 
 
P.S. I would also like to give a tip of my hat to all the people who have bipolar disorder and continue to take their meds and hold their heads high.
 
Follow Arley on Twitter at @ArleysWords
 

Comments

This is very educational content and written well for a change. It's nice to see that some people still understand how to write a quality post.!
my site

I just want to let you know that I just check out your site and I find it very interesting and informative..
wedding rings

hopar111's picture

Interesting topic for a blog. I have been searching the Internet for fun and came upon your website. Fabulous post. Thanks a ton for sharing your knowledge! It is great to see that some people still put in an effort into managing their websites. I'll be sure to check back again real soon.
dleedon floorplan

hopar111's picture

This is a great inspiring article.I am pretty much pleased with your good work.You put really very helpful information. Keep it up. Keep blogging. Looking to reading your next post.
zuma

Richard1122's picture

I like this post,And I guess that they having fun to read this post,they shall take a good site to make a information,thanks for sharing it to me.
http://www.grezed.com

Thanks for posting this info. I just want to let you know that I just check out your site and I find it very interesting and informative. I can't wait to read lots of your posts.
blackzonestudio

Excellent article. Very interesting to read. I really love to read such a nice article. Thanks! keep rocking.
Home Tips

Great post, and great website. Thanks for the information!
Good Relationship With Cache Stats

thanks for this usefull article, waiting for this article like this again.
become a tutor

james1122's picture

Generally I do not read article on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very forced me to check out and do so! Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thanks, very great post.
Guaranteed Payday Loans

you are in reality a excellent webmaster. The website loading pace is incredible. It seems that you’re doing any distinctive trick. Also, The contents are masterpiece. you have performed a wonderful task on this subject!
buy youtube views

This is very educational content and written well for a change. It's nice to see that some people still understand how to write a quality post.!
3 bureau credit report

tuneseo's picture

please write more blogs on such topics,I would like to read more such blogs…thank you..
industrial lockers
industrial lockers

I am happy to find your distinguished way of writing the post. Now you make it easy for me to understand and implement the concept. Thank you for the post.
Historical Postmarks Advice

zane1122's picture

Keep up the fantastic piece of work, I read few blog posts on this web site and I believe that your site is real interesting and has lots of great information.
get more youtube views

zane1122's picture

Excellently written article, doubts all bloggers offered the identical content since you, the internet has to be far better place. Please stay the best!
cell phone tracker

roger1122's picture

Thanks for this post, I am a big fan of this web site would like to proceed updated.
Ellie

Mailing list sign-up

Copyright © 2012 Her Kansas City