I am becoming increasingly agitated with people who romanticize mental disorders. We've all heard the phrase about madness being a short step away from genius. I admit that everyone has little quirks and there are degrees of mental disorders. But there are limits to this which people seem to be oblivious to.
A mental disorder in itself is not a beautiful thing. It destroys a person. It makes them a slave to the disorder, completely ruled by its whims and nearly powerless to escape it. To glorify persons who cannot or do not seek help in this situation only makes it that much worse for those who would do everything in their power to be free of it. I can see how telling someone that wanting to regain control means they'll lose themselves is potentially one of the most damaging things that could be said to a patient.
Suicide is NOT glamorous. Obsession is NOT romantic. Suffering from a mental disorder does NOT show strength and courage - it is the treatment process (the end of suffering) which shows these traits. Given the chance to be rational anyone considering those options should completely agree.
Last night Kassi and I watched Grizzly Man. I was somewhat uncomfortable through the whole film because the documentary maker seemed to avoid focusing on what seemed to be obvious mental problems with the central character and instead treated him as a normal man with normal problems. It wasn't until I read an IMDB comment stating that Timothy Treadwell was "somehow in tune with his own sense of nature and the ways of the world" that it really hit home: people were seriously oblivious to the notion that there was something wrong with him. Or, worse, they know he was suffering and they somehow think this is admirable.
To make any sort of statement about Timothy Treadwell's personality is a disservice: this ignores the fact that the person portrayed in the film was not Timothy Treadwell. It was, instead, Timothy Treadwell suffering from severe mental and social problems. The movie was a tragedy in the sense that he died without ever really knowing himself. It was like an extended form of suicide. The worst part is that one can see small traces of who he really was - an introspective and rather lonely nature lover. This is covered up by the layers of instability though, and he never was free of it.
Movies like Ordinary People and A Beautiful Mind deal with mental disorders as well. They are noteworthy because they don't glorify the disorder but the process of healing and recovery that must be done for someone to become themselves again.
Also, before anyone starts in with the comments telling me that ADD isn't real and the US is over-medicated, realize that I'm talking about heavy topics such as suicide, extremely risky behavior, etc - things I am 100% certain should warrant treatment.