I don’t know if it’s because I am a writer or the fact that I hold two degrees in psychology, but every time I hear a quote or assertion in film and television regarding some aspect of psychology or mental health I prick up my ears. This is one of my favorites:
“They look like psychos? Is that what they look like? They were vampires! Psychos do not explode when sunlight hits them I don’t give a Fuck how crazy they are!” –Seth Gecko, From Dusk till Dawn.
That quote encapsulates many things. It shows how the public tends to lump any kind of abnormal situation into something to do with mental health imbalances. It makes a good statement in my mind on how even “crazy” people have limitations with their behavior in the world. In other words, crazy doesn’t give you the power to do “supernatural” things. Maybe this comes from the overuse of the phrase “that’s crazy!” What makes something “crazy” usually has to do with our inability to comprehend whatever is being presented. Often in the past religious organizations have and still do assert that malicious possession of a soul or person is merely someone needing psychotropic prescriptions or to be locked away forever. Unfortunately the mental health institutions that existed a scant 20 years ago are all but closed down. In present society they have gone from mistreating people in these horrendously mismanaged agencies to dumping people with mental health issues into the penal system with true criminals. Imagine taking a person with a simple open cut on their arm that could be bandaged and healed relatively quickly and locking them up in a room with people whose bodies are riddled with level 5 viruses such as Ebola. How do you think they would emerge a month later? It is truly that terrifying for the current trends of society to ignore people with simple mental health balancing needs by subjecting them to hard core rapists and murderers, etc.
Why is this something we should all be concerned about? Well, consider the influence media has on shaping the thoughts of individuals of society. How often do people accept a “standard” belief that came not from personal research or study, but from the mouths of politically driven uneducated. We have people in the world who actually believe that a woman being physically raped has ovum that connect with the emotional status of the woman to determine if they will allow the rapist’s sperm to penetrate them. My answer to that is no woman would have ever been raped by virtue of her muscle, epithelial, osteo, and the other cell concentrations of the body due to their not allowing it, if such a fantasy were truly possibly. Of course there are those who would likely argue the opposite, that no woman has ever been raped, she merely wanted it and refused to admit it. Do I believe the “uneducated” politician who asserted that nonsense believes his ridiculous statement? No. What I do believe is that he had a political agenda and that trumps sense every time, according documented political history. Looking at the way media portrays mental issues, which are not always permanent or biologically generated; it would be wise to pay attention to the quotes of film & TV out there. Listen filmmakers may not be politically driven, but they often have perspectives developed from their personal lives that they express in their work, just like writers, painters, or any other artist. I can think of a couple big name directors who often discuss a thematic subject or squeeze it in some manner into their films. Two obvious ones that come to mind are Hitchcock and Eastwood. Yes, both entertaining, but both directors had personal agendas or perspectives displayed repeatedly. Even Shakespeare, whom I adore, expressed his concerns and fears regarding the mercurial process of connecting in relationships. It is one of the main reasons his work remains so popular; most of us are concerned about the difficulties of connecting romantically.
Forgive this writer, for her joy, dismay, interest, and ruminations about the way media portrays her professional field of psychology, but let’s face it, even I have an agenda. My agenda is to provide a stigma-free acceptance of the fact we all have off days or can become mentally imbalanced or shifted with the events of day-to-day living. My agenda is to provide open, non-judgmental emotional and mental help to individuals seeking mental health help or balance, because the more balanced our community becomes, the more balanced our society and the world becomes. I still stand by my assertion that a world with good mental health is a world worth living in (whether sunlight hits them or no!)