Why does Hollywood make bipolar, schizophrenia, and other mental illnesses out to be the prime suspect in Hollywood horror movie hauntings, possessions, and all things demonic?
I’m sitting here watching a new horror movie that just came out on Netflix and at first, the main character has a chance encounter with a “sick person” at a hospital. After this she starts developing weird signs that the movie wants you to think resemble mental illness, but in fact the movie is not real at all. The girl/main character starts going more and more “manic” and “schizophrenic” according to her friends and fiancé, when the real, or not so real situation is that she is possessed.
She goes to the doctor and they do physical exams. And just like mental illness there will be no physical signs of hurt or ailments. So when the doctor goes, “there’s nothing wrong,” what else are we left to conclude? All of her friends and family start calling her crazy as she starts hurting herself in “bizarre” ways. Then to say the least, she is shown in the movie, talking to herself and even graphic depictions of horror scenes played within her head, too. But, Emily—the main character—is not insane.
When there are no signs or symptoms that can be resolved by the real world they jump to the conclusion that she is demonic and possessed by an evil entity. They bring the priest in and he doesn’t even believe she’s possessed and claims that mental illness is the case, while arguing the situation with the fiancé who screams, “She’s possessed!” You can see the cluster f#$! Starting to form, right? What’s next? The mother-in-law dies and writes bloody murder with her innards. Yeah it gets pretty gross, all the while, Emily is trapped inside her head screaming for help. This all sounds a little too close to actual mental illness than anything, right?
When you actually research these movies and their background you find out that the chief complaint in horror movies was documented schizophrenia and extreme mania/bi-polar disorders. But my question is:
“Why does Hollywood need to claim mental health is a horror? Or better yet, a demonic possession?”
Truth be told, these are all real people dealing with real things and the Hollywood of it, is way over exaggerated to the audience and on screen. But, to those who are struggling with mental illness and watch a horror flick with a friend where it says, “This woman is crazy! She must be possessed!” is not all that funny! Rather, we know it, the media is again dramatizing and praying on the sick and suffering. And worst, they are making the rest of the world look at people with mental health disorders in a way that glamorizes hate and degradation. What happened to fighting the stigma?
You may tell me, “Man! It’s just a movie!” But, when I’m in the thick of it and living with mental illness you can’t just say, “It’s a movie, man!” I’m sitting here in the midst of a panic attack, triggered by something that I thought would be a tiny bit exhilarating versus dramatizing and stigmatizing. Plus, living with this, I have to look at myself in the mirror after this is all over and say, “Do I need an exorcism, too?”
Again, you’ll probably say, “Why watch it then? Just turn it off!” and I’ll rebuttal with, “It’s not just this movie” or “It’s not just the news” or “It’s not just the presidential debate” or “It’s not just a glance in the mirror.” And knowing that this will stir some of you up I must say, “This is my life,” so I’ll be triggered every day of my life. I just don’t have to take it from an over-dramatic, case sensitive, million-dollar movie, actor/actress, debauchery.
So if ever there be a case to shy and shutter it be that I’ve dealt with and am dealing with all of these mental illnesses that Hollywood is glamorizing. And we need to stop it! Is the glamorization of mental illness and addiction something that we want our youth to become accustomed to? It’s not cool to do drugs. It’s not “cool” to feel upset, angry, manic, or ill. So we need the people who are feeding the masses to realize that glamorization is killing the recovery movement. And although they probably won’t stop the chaos, at least it’s worth a try to take a step back and tell them, “You’re wrong!” Because they are, and I won’t tolerate it anymore! Will you stand with me, against bigotry?