Bipolar Comes Out of the Closet

For most, any talk about mental illness makes folks uncomfortable. And if you’ve been diagnosed with a mood disorder, or worse, mental illness, it’s not only embarrassing, but can seriously impact the way others, like your partner or boss, think of you. Often, fear of losing your job can make you keep the diagnosis to yourself. Just as gays had to stay in the closet to protect themselves, so do many who have a mental illness, even though they may be perfectly functional in many spheres.


What helped the LGBT community progress from deeply closeted to standing proud and tall at gay weddings was a host of television shows, from The L Word to Modern Family; shows that depicted gays and gay couples as perfectly normal next-door neighbors. Just as these shows made the gay lifestyle all the more acceptable to mainstream America, what can help people develop a more open attitude about mental illness? Good television shows with compelling characters who are dealing with the issue. And for the past several years, Homeland is making that kind of impact for those who are bipolar.


Carrie Mathison, a CIA operative played by the unbelievably talented Claire Danes on Homeland, is bipolar, and everything from a total manic episode to electro-convulsive therapy is depicted on the show. Read more about it in my blog on the Huffington Post at

Deborah King