I have been a big fan of Mandy Patinkin since I first saw him in Barbara Streisand’s picture “Yentle.”
I have followed him through Chicago Hope, Criminal Minds, and most recently in Showtimes series, “Homeland.” I was intrigued that one of his elite CIA agents,Claire Danes (My So-called Life), suffers from severe bipolar one, as do I. I think the way her disorder is portrayed is so close to home, it hurts me to watch. Her manic episodes are so close to the ones I have suffered, it scrapes the scabs raggedly off the scars that my disorder has carved into me.
As with me, her disorder is well-managed with medications, but she, as with many bipolars, occasionally does not take her medications, feeling that they dumb her down…make her dull and unable to truly focus. In desperation, she even willingly undergoes electro-convulsive therapy. I swore I would never do that, but after years of suffering with no positive response to medications, I said, “Do it.” After 14 treatments, my doctor discontinued the therapy citing that I had suffered cognitive damage that outweighed the benefit.
Life just isn’t fair. Still, I manage my illness. Few would ever guess I am bipolar. I may not be the intelligent girl with an IQ of 157. I have to work a little harder these days to keep the train on the track. Next stop is sanity.