One in four adults (approximately 61.5 million Americans) experiences mental illness in any given year. While many positive changes have occurred in the acceptance of mental illness over the last 30 years, it’s still difficult to identify, comprehend, treat and talk about effectively. Yet, it is very likely that someone you know and care about is struggling with a mental illness, perhaps several people, and perhaps even you. Lack of understanding and discomfort in talking about mental illness gets in the way of proper treatment. It is imperative that we learn to look at mental illness honestly and with compassion.
With the intention to foster more awareness, understanding and acceptance as well as provide a safe place to discuss mental illness, Gale Rublee shares her personal story of living with Bipolar II in her one-woman show, When Your Mind Betrays You, written with Carol Haake. Gale has learned how her mind betrays her. By portraying a variety of characters in a comical but insightful way, Gale acts out one of her manic and depressed episodes followed by some of the “experts” who have helped her along the way. She shares what she has learned to do to manage her illness including self-awareness, medication, counseling, and finding what brings her joy and peace.
“There’s no simple quick fix, but there is hope!”
The performance itself is about 30 minutes long followed by a 20-30 minute discussion. This makes the program well suited for classes in psychology and social work as well as mental health conferences, medical and social services trainings, or public forums focused on mental illness and treatment. There’s nothing like a live performance and hearing someone’s personal story face to face to give people the opportunity to put themselves in “another’s shoes”. Thus this program of When Your Mind Betrays You is a very effective tool to assist students, social workers, mental health and medical professionals as well as the general public in recognizing the nature of the mood disorder known as Bipolar Type II. Hopefully this can lead to more acceptance and better treatment.
Brings an element of humor and a healthy dose of reality
I attended the premier performance of Why Your Mind Betrays You: A One-Woman Show on living with Bipolar Disorder. In my life I have had several dear friends who have suffered with the disruption and difficulty of this disorder. I could see pieces of all of them in the protagonist. But what I think struck me most was the “role” (though unseen) of the family members of the person struggling with the disorder – what they must deal with; how it necessarily affects them and their lives; and the compassion and strength required to hang in there through the ups and downs of coming to identify, diagnose, and treat the person. I have dearly loved all of my friends who are bi-polar…they have brought such wonderful things to my life. And I have welcomed their parts in my world.
But I have not lived with them, day in and day out in the same household, tied to the same finances and social demands, and through this show, I got a better sense of what that life might be like. I found such great compassion and admiration for those families who have a loved one who is bi-polar. Lastly, the show is well performed by Gale, who brings both an element of humor and a healthy dose of reality to the lines. She treats the subject matter with respect and humanity.