May is Mental Health Awareness Month!

May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) states that 1 in 5 people will be affected by mental illness in their lifetime. Bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

And yet so many of us are afraid to talk about it, and we’re afraid to ask for help.

This is the ideal time to educate yourself and your loved ones about mental illness. Let’s raise awareness to fight the stigma those of us with mood disorders face.  Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. If we’re silent, it will remain in the shadows.

I’m a movie buff. It’s both my career and my hobby. So, in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, I’ve compiled a list of films that educate and enlighten those who live with bipolar disorder, and those who care about us. Sit down with someone you love, microwave some popcorn, and watch one (or all!) of these movies together.

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God Knows Where I Am

I watched the documentary God Knows Where I Am on Netflix last night. For those of you who haven’t seen it [spoiler alert] here’s the description from Rotten Tomatoes:

“Linda Bishop was a loving mother, a well-educated and happy woman. Then her body was found in an abandoned New Hampshire farmhouse, marked by cold and starvation. What was once Linda Bishop had quickly become a mystery, accompanied by her diary that documents a journey of starvation and the loss of sanity. For nearly four months, Bishop, a prisoner of her own mind, survived on apples and rainwater during one of the coldest winters on record. Waiting for God to save her. As her story unfolds from different perspectives, including her own, we learn the heartbreaking reality about a systemic failure to protect those who cannot protect themselves.”

I’m so saddened and moved by this film. Much of the movie is someone narrating her diaries, and I really felt what it must be like to be inside her head. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar, bipolar with psychosis. Whatever it was, her words resonated with me. I felt what it must be like to lose one’s mind.

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