Blog

I like to say that Halloween is my favorite holiday. There are a lot of reasons for that, ranging from having the best movies/ culture, to be the most unique, to being not drawn out and over-done.

Most holidays you dress your nicest, go see your family for a big dinner. But on Halloween you dress your worst, go see a bunch of strangers, and eat nothing but dessert!

The only other holiday with a lot of movies is Christmas, with a few very Christmas-y Thanksgiving ones thrown in. Some of those are great, Planes Trains and Automobiles, It’s a Wonderful Life, Scrooged, the list goes on.

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Bipolar Thoughts

So apparently the ABC-TV show “Modern Family” is planning to re-air last year’s Halloween episode that depicted a haunted house situation where the house was an asylum.

This doesn’t really seem like much, especially considering “American Horror Story” made an entire season out of being in an asylum. But anyway, the National Alliance for Mental Illness and the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (both organizations I am a dues paying member of) are hitting up ABC-TV hard and trying to get the episode pulled. They are claiming that it depicts mentally ill people in a way that would further stereotypes and stigma (none of that is a quote, but it sounds good right? Maybe it should be).

There are a few things I need to say about this situation.

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Bipolar Thoughts

I see a lot of articles that attempt to explain “the good side” to having bipolar.

They mention things like creativity, and focus, and drive, empathy, compassion, and strength.

All of that is bullshit.

I have yet to meet a bipolar person that would honestly describe themselves as any of those things. I’ll start from the back and work towards the most repulsive:

No one that is bipolar feels strong. Sure, you could argue that having been through deep depressions or mind-frazzling highs requires strength. But I never summoned up my strength and pulled through; I cowered in bed and cried until it was over. I don’t feel less fear about the prospect of doing it again, and I certainly don’t consider myself to be stronger than other people that haven’t spent a week in bed crying.

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Pretending to Amuse

Our Halloween Special! We dive into a movie review of the Detroit-centric “It Follows”. We talk about the confusing time setting of the movie, what exactly happened at the beach and in the hospital, how incredible the ending is, and whether or not the tension ever pays off. We also wonder how a demon gets passed along in a four-way and whether or not this movie is actually scary. We compare Halloween to the other holidays and see where it falls. We share stories about exterior decorations. Jason grinds some gears about Harvest Festivals and wonders aloud if we would all be better off as Spock.

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Bipolar Thoughts

I first met my wife literally just weeks after a severe bipolar episode which culminated in getting legendarily drunk at a camp out and bawling my eyes out for hours while terrifying a couple of my friends with desperate talk about suicide.

I’ve told the story of the last concert I went to just a week before meeting her (Dave Matthews Band, which would become, possibly, our shared favorite band), and how things had just started to rebound and go well for me for practically no reason.

We talked for about a month, almost nightly, before I asked her on a date, September 29th 2007. We went to a haunted house and hayride where she revealed to me that she loved the smell of horse manure loud enough where the entire tractor full of people heard her, and I jumped on the opportunity to make fun of her for the very first time. Glorious.

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Blog

I hate small talk.

In fact, I despise it. I have often been misjudged as everything from shy to aloof because of my desire to stay away from talking about my day and the weather.

I have absolutely no qualms about asking someone about their relationship with their father or what they really feel about their childhood while I’m still shaking their hand for the first time. I understand that doing that is off-putting and makes most people clam up, so I can’t. But I don’t understand why it takes so long to find out what someone does for a living (although this topic is ripe with small talk, navigating it can be tricky), where they grew up, if their parents are still married, what clique were they in while attending high school, favorite thing to cook, favorite movie to watch when feeling sick, closest they’ve ever gotten to hitting their child.

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Bipolar Thoughts

You may have seen or read about a new trendy thing regarding tattoos. It is the semi-colon tattoo.

The semi-colon tattoo started as a mental health awareness project back in 2013 where people who had struggled with mental illness, specifically with suicidal ideation or attempts, were asked to draw a semi-colon on their body, photograph it, and post it on social media.

It didn’t take long for people supporting those people to get in on the action. And it was just the next logical step to move from sharpies to needles.

Now they hold nationwide semi-colon tattoo events where the profits generated go to mental health organizations. Just a few months ago, nearly 400 of these tattoos were done in one day.

Bipolar Thoughts

In high school, I often found myself in a role that I relished.

In school I tended to be the class clown. I would crack jokes and talk a lot and offer commentary on whatever we were studying. I felt emboldened to act this way because I almost always had the answer when the teacher called upon me, especially when I was fooling around, and all in all, I was a good student. The teachers liked me. I liked the fact that I could make the teachers laugh. Making students laugh is easy, cracking a teacher, who knows laughing is the wrong thing to do, is tough. And to this day I remember those teachers that I never made laugh. It has stuck with me, a painful memory I guess.

I was the class clown for the same reason every class clown falls into that role: I was mildly funny, I was smart enough, and I wasn’t good at much else. I got people to like me by making them laugh, because I wasn’t good at sports and I didn’t drive a cool car and I wasn’t overly attractive. Even today in my closest group of friends I am known as ‘the funny one’.

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Pretending to Amuse

Jason relates an interesting story from the deli. We discuss a man riding his bicycle to save his marriage. An old local woman won the lottery and we fantasize what we would do, how we would spend it, and how we would keep from spending it all. We also provide a way to make the lottery better, and bring up the death of TRL.

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Bipolar Thoughts

I know that I invite people into my life, especially to ask me questions. So I don’t tend to mind when they do, but somethings you never expect.

“Have you attempted suicide?”

It struck me at first that maybe this was an awkward attempt at deepening the conversation. People often do not know how to talk to me about mental health stuff. I get that. It isn’t an easy conversation, and I am pushing the issue by writing this blog.

But have I tried to kill myself?

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