Saturday, January 30, 2016

Mental Illness

In the article 'Mental illness sans cliches' the author talks about how mental illness stereotypes can be exhibited in shows, books, and movies. These opinions can really offend people who actually know what its like to live with a mental illness. "Once, mentally ill people were commonly portrayed as homicidal maniacs, evil seductresses and assorted buffoons. Some times, they still are. But they are also lawyers, doctors, mobsters and detectives-- not always lovable folks, but increasingly understandable human being." The article isn't saying that no people with mental illness are psychotic killers but it also means we can't think of all mentally ill people this way. There are plenty of people that aren't mentally ill that can still do terrible things, but somehow we pin these opinions on the mentally ill.

Some shows depict mental illness in a positive way and the character uses it to their advantage. In the show Criminal Minds one of the characters Spencer Reid shows many signs of Asperger's syndrome and some suggestions of OCD. Reid is extraordinarily smart with an IQ of 187 and an almost impossible memory, considering he graduated high school by the age of 12. Unfortunately he is socially awkward and doesn't usually pick up on social cues. Reid does have a good relationship with his co-workers but he can certainly make it uncomfortable. He is the brains of the FBI investigating team and everyone respects and trusts him regardless of his signs of mental illness. The Unknown Subject in "Broken Mirror" notes this, and Gubler (actor who plays Reid in the show) stated in an interview in the show's second season "Reid is an eccentric genius, with hints of schizophrenia and minor autism, Asperger's Syndrome. Reid is 24 years old with three Ph.D.s and one can not usually achieve that without some form of autism." Criminal minds depicts his mental state in a positive and helpful way because without his brain the team would not be the same. They also probably wouldn't solve as many cases and they currently do.