I have Bipolar Disorder.Today when I mention this to people they often have heard about the disease. This is quite a change from five years ago when I first received my diagnosis. I believe this awareness can be attributed to a swelling of media coverage and a general acknowledgement of the existence of mental illness by the public. Celebrities are more forthcoming about depression, anxiety disorders and mood disorders. The entertainment industry is seemingly more willing to tell stories centered around “normal” characters who happen to have a mental illness.It was groundbreaking when David Chase featured a New Jersey mobster named Tony Soprano actually engaging in talk therapy. Now Television writers and show-runners seem to be building series around protagonists who have mental illnesses. Jace Lacob’s article ‘Homeland’ and ‘Shameless’: Television Tackles Bipolar Disorder With Realism’ discusses two great performances given by actresses dealing with the turbulent nature of living with Bipolar Disorder.
“It’s rare to see a bipolar character at the forefront of a television drama; they’re typically shoved to the sidelines, a crazed killer in a police procedural or an unstable individual in a chance encounter.”
“Two specific bipolar characters have captured our attention in recent months, and both appear on Showtime dramas: Homeland’s Carrie, for which Danes won a Golden Globe, and Chloe Webb’s Monica Gallagher on Shameless. The two shows are incredibly dissimilar (one is a psychological thriller, the other a family dramedy) and the two roles are vastly different—one is a CIA operative, the other an errant Chicago mother—but the two women’s portrayals are inherently complementary, with Danes’s Carrie taking us inside an “unquiet mind” and Webb’s Monica serving as a prism through which to see the effects of a bipolar family member on the lives of those around her.”