Monday, 8 December 2014

How Mental Health Depicted On Tv Could Help Get Rid Of The Stigma!

This time of the year is extremely hard for people with depression, some people find themselves in debt with Christmas around the corner and others cant cope with being inside all the time, not
seeing another soul. Depression is a very lonely place to be at times as others don't know how to cope with you. Recently I knew that i was heading for a massive downer and there was nothing I could do to stop it. To make it worse I isolated myself more and in the long run, that probably didn't help me at all. I have said before that I suffer from mild Bipolar and I will tell anyone who listens as its not something I can hide sometimes, other times it is hidden by a simple smile.

Anyway I had a really bad weekend and on Monday when I was at work, I ended up having a meltdown and crying to my new boss - Not a good look, especially when your looking to give a good impression. I tried to explain that I had Bipolar, but the words all came out in one fast burst and I really don't think I made sense, even in my head, I wasn't making Sense. But this week I have had a lot of time to think about the bipolar again.I had time to think again about the stigma with Mental health and how it is often portrayed on TV. I often see that bipolar people are the butt of peoples jokes on TV, but I am a big fan of Homeland and the main character Carrie Mathison is a fellow bipolar sufferer. Often the illness is exaggerated on TV to sensationalise the illness, and in Homeland, some aspects of it are - but this is a Tv programme and it is normal to expect some mild exaggeration. On the programme we see her in the first few seasons going off her meds and swinging from Manic to Depressed. You see her heightened manic stages where she is creative and covers the walls in her house with her work, whilst trying to prove someone is guilty. She has her dark days where she drinks too much to forget the things in her life, she is depressed and she looks rough. She sleeps for days and locks herself away. 

Another thing about the character in the programme is that she never made her employers aware of her mental health problems as she was worried about how it would affect her job and also I assume because of the stigma of mental health. People assume you cant function and do your job properly, when in fact quite often, the job is a stable part of your life, that makes you get up and go to bed, its discipline and its being with people that you can keep at an arms length, meaning you aren't as close to them as you are your family and you try your best to act 'normal'. Its sad to know that less than 50% of people tell their boss about mental health problems for fear of the stigma that comes with it.

Quite often these programmes will help people connect with you about your mental health, they will give answers to questions that someone might not be able to ask you as they are worried of upsetting you in the process and programmes like this will help them to understand some of what your going through. Even everyday 'soaps' are raising awareness of depression and self harm, So programmes that you and I watch are helping people all over the UK, as it makes sufferers also realise that they might have a mental health problem and these programmes will help someone to seek help or talk to their loved ones how they feel. Once you have spoken to someone about the feelings you have, that's half the battle won!

So If your suffering from Mental Heath Problems, then please seek help, There are people who are out there to help you and if you have seen these programmes and think you know someone might need some help, then please reach out to them, they might be confused, scared and alone. Just one person offering a shoulder to cry on will mean the world to them.

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