Monday, March 9, 2015

The entertainment industry and mental illness

March 9, 2015

It's not sick to harass and stalk women, to voyeuristically film them and show the videos to the world, laughing at all of the screaming protests?  It's not sick to spread rumors about someone so far around the world that she is continually forced from place to place, abused and lied about everywhere, never able to start her life?

It's not sick to send a constant message of extreme violence through television shows, movies, music, and every other form of entertainment?  It's not sick to promote the abuse of children?

The entertainment industry likes to produce stories about rare cases of severe and unusual mental illness.  It particularly likes stories about people with multiple personalities, perhaps because actors who are drawn to those stories want to win awards by showing off the range of their acting abilities within one movie.

The entertainment industry also likes to perpetuate the stereotype that people with psychiatric diagnoses are more prone to violence than most people.  The entertainment industry, much like the rest of the world, likes to keep people with a psychiatric stigma within the confines of every dehumanizing stereotype there is; that makes it easier for everyone to believe that a psychiatric problem could never happen to him or her.

I don't know how many hospitalizations I have had; I lost track of the number a few years ago.  I was not yet 18 the first time that I was hospitalized; I'll be 41 this year.  I have never met anyone, in a psychiatric setting or out of it, who had multiple personalities, or who was obviously having constant delusions.  Everyone is an individual, and has his or her own personality.  Almost everyone who spends a lot of time in the mental health care system, though, finally tends to have similar emotions that are so overwhelming that they are often taken to be character traits:  sadness, anger, despair, fear, cynicism.  There are also people who are so terrified by the system that they relinquish all rights to their lives, including their right to get upset about anything; psychiatric staff tend to distribute many smiles upon those patients, whom of course they don't respect any more than they respect the patients who don't dedicate what's left of their emotional resources to being cute.

There are good people who work in the mental health care system, although almost nobody who works in that system is always immune to letting a patient's diagnosis take the fall for conflict when a patient has a concern.  It is also not only frustrating but dangerous to the ability of mental health care workers to stay employed when they support the idea that diagnosis and medication should be considered last resorts rather than panaceas cheerfully advertised by corporations through every known marketing scheme.

Copyright L. Kochman, March 9, 2015 @ 7:58 a.m./additions @ 8:51 a.m.

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