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Halloween and Mental Illness October 19, 2011

Posted by Crazy Mermaid in Insanity, mental illness, Psychotic.
Tags: ,

Halloween’s coming around, and with it comes the worn-out old stories about the mentally ill.  The slasher movies and the guts and gore of the horror-filled inspirational costumes- all coming to a theater near you.

Norman Bates in Psycho, a 1960 horror movie, was inspired by Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein.  The insane Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a 1974 horror movie, and Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs were both inspired by the same serial killer, a man whose “guilty but insane” conviction landed him in a mental  hospital.  In The Shining, Jack Nicholson gave a good impersonation of a psychotic man.  Dr. Jekyl was clearly insane when he became Mr. Hyde in the 1931 classic Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde.   Then there’s the classic: Halloween, about a young insane murderer who escapes from his Sanitarium (mental hospital) after being locked up for 15 years- ever since he was 6. Over and over the mentally ill are exploited for the benefit of the media.  In fact, out of the top 50 best horror movies of all time, over half involve mental illness. Mental illness is, after all, scary.

Unfortunately for those of us who are mentally ill, the media makes no distinction between delusional people in the middle of a psychotic episode,  insane murderers, schizophrenics, and what I like to call garden-variety mentally ill people (bipolar, depressed, OCD, etc). We’re all, in their collective minds, the same as Ed Gein, the Wisconsin serial killer who inspired both Psycho and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. There’s nothing scarier, after all, than a mentally ill person.  Especially a psychotic one.   It’s no wonder that nobody wants to be identified as mentally ill. Who, after all, wants to be Ed Gein?



1. LunaSunshine - October 19, 2011

This is kind of like a post a wrote about a month and a half ago called Am I a 10?”. It was basically a question as to how the world outside of the mental health community views me. We know there is a huge difference. Do others?

2. Virginia - October 25, 2011

I’m so glad I’ve found your blog! Fantastic. I was Googling “HIPAA” and “mental health” to get some answers on how my dad’s situation should be handled and found your site. My dad has been diagnosed with severe paranoia, schizophrenia, schizoeffective disorder, bipolar disorder throughout his life. He was released a month and a half ago, and was taken back to the hospital yesterday. I never know who to talk to about these certain issues. Thank you for opening up dialogues about mental illness.

3. Jen Daisybee - November 1, 2011

Thank you for this post! I have written similar things on my blog over the years. After all, as you said, the media considers us all the same – whether we are people who are suffering from brain diseases like Schizoaffective Disorder, or Bipolar Disorder, or Schizophrenia, or we are sociopathic killers. There is a big difference between a psychotic person and a sociopath. Not everyone realizes this. People with mental illnesses are far more likely to become victims of crimes than they are to commit any violent crimes, ever. I tell people this when I do speaking events for NAMI here in Florida. It is important for people to know.

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