Mental Illness

Mental Illness and Media

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I can’t get a show I watched last night out of my head. I was angry when I first watched it, but as the day goes by I am becoming infuriated.

The show is called Chicago Med. It is basically a knock-off of ER. There was a story line of a girl who was admitted and later died but no one knew why. They ran lots of tests but found nothing. She had a brother who was a drug addict. The parents treated him like dirt and yelled and screamed at him to stay away.

Fast forward to one of the doctors sitting down with the young man and discussing how he wanted to get clean. He mentioned how much he hurts after he eats. Turns out he was self-medicating because he had the same genetic illness as his sister. Fast forward again to the doctors telling the parents this and the parents quickly running to embrace their son and crying:

We’re sorry, we’re so sorry, we didn’t know!
Please forgive us!”

Bad acting and unrealistic relationship development aside, I couldn’t believe what I had witnessed.

These parents thought their son was a drug addict because… mental health reasons and they curse him.
They discover it is for a physical reason (his undiagnosed genetic condition) and now we are all one big happy family?

Yes, families are messed up but this was not an episode trying to illustrate that fact. There was no shock from the doctors or any explanation that whether the reason for his addictions were mental or physical, they were both real and equally in need of love and support. Just a nice wrapping bow on top a gift of explaining away an addiction on a physical, treatable condition. Because that is much more understandable, right?


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