In 1903, 58 children living in almshouses throughout New Hampshire were admitted to an asylum. They were considered a danger to society and sentenced to a life of isolation and total segregation. This was during a time when certain individuals and entire families were stigmatised as “feebleminded”. Over the course of the next ninety years, this institution served to segregate the children and adults who were rejected by family, friends and the community. (Intro to the documentary)
Trigger warning for a photograph I included, of ‘patients’ in execrable conditions. I haven’t written much about the horrors endured at the school, but there is a link to further history and info right at the bottom. Actually, if you’re not in good shape today, please don’t read this.
It started out as the New Hampshire School for the Feebleminded, and was later renamed the Laconia State School. This 2009 documentary shocked me rigid and perhaps callously, not primarily because of the appalling abuses, but for the 88 year timeline. It’s a complex and detailed analysis, unlike many other such documentaries, which tend to simply recount the horrors, then imply a sort of Renaissance of healthcare and thought, followed by the closure of the institution, causing patients to find themselves, shocked and bewildered and back in what is always termed ‘the real world’, when it could be far more accurately defined as freedom.
Continue reading Lost in Laconia
Get some coffee, this’ll be a long post. Mine’s milk no sugar thanks.
My mother used to say that she’d end up
at Bellevue if we didn’t all behave
Of course, she wanted to go to Bellevue
where the world was safe, the grates familiar,
the howling not unlike her stifled sobs.
(from ‘Bellevue’ by Julia Alvarez, 2002)
Continue reading in which I watch a documentary and get sidetracked
Brian Davis had a successful career in advertising journalism once; the documentary begins with him homeless in London, drunk and asking mates for money so that he can go to Paris to interview Roman Polanski. His rather rah English accent descended frequently into streams of invective. Brian, of course, is bipolar (mostly untreated) and alcoholic, poor chap. He scored 150 quid and literally ran to the Turk’s Head in Soho to drink it all. So much for Paris.
(Here be spoilers. Many spoilers. Actually, all the spoilers.)
Continue reading cutting edge: brian’s story
(I lied about the sex)
All hail the patron saint of manic depression, homosexuality, intelligence, atheism, gadgets, linguistics and swearing, Steeeeeeephen FRY! I was going to make this a post full of animated videos and gifs, all of them about bipolar, but then… Oh look! A butterfly! Some Frycandy for all my favourite Frywhores!
Continue reading sex, fries & videotape
I’m not going to review this one any further than to say zomg I LOVE it. Feel free to come back and agree or lynch me. Please check it out, regardless of whether or not you’re bipolar. I started the day feeling rather crappy, but more stable. I am now grinning my ass off. If any of you see my ass, I’d quite like it back.*exits stage left followed by a bear*
Continue reading singaporean bipolar & depression quiz show