Lady Dynamite Creator Tells Sufferers Of Mental Illness To Reject Shame

Lady Dynamite Season 2 Netflix

Just ahead of the release of Lady Dynamite season 2, comedian and writer Maria Bamford published a piece in The New York Times entitled, “The First Time Someone Loved Me For Who I Really Am.” It’s a good read — a sort of sober companion to the mission statement of her acclaimed television show: Be self-critical enough to seek out the necessary treatment to help you maintain a stable mind, but don’t ever be ashamed of the chemical obstructions that perpetually keeps it out of your grasp. For a long time, the humiliation I felt towards my mental illness was itself the author of much of my misfortune. It kept me from forming worthwhile relationships or calling on the ones I already had for support. In the rousing anecdote about how Bamford met her current husband, she recalls the terror she felt at her initial diagnosis. “It’s O.K to have a break but what if this is actually a full-time chronic illness? I’m a lump. A useless weighted drag on everyone’s resources.”

Part of the problem with mental illness, despite how much headway we’ve made on the topic, is we still have trouble registering most diseases of the mind as “diseases.” We would never think to use the ready-made phrases we have on deck when our loved ones get a case of the sads in response to more obvious maladies. “I know you have cancer but have you tried seizing the day?” Lady Dynamite does well to make this fallacy outmoded and like Bamford’s piece in the Times, shines a light on how alarmingly pervasive mental illness is. As Bamford points out, its prevalence by no means exonerates it, or relieves someone of the responsibility to seek care, but it should give them less hesitance about accepting the love of others. “Don’t wait to be loveable (translation: productive) in order to be loved.” This is a sentiment I have taken to heart, as should you.

Acknowledge the turbulence in your life. Don’t shy away from it. More importantly, don’t face it alone. You’re not a burden and love isn’t just for the well-adjusted. Bamford reminds us, “it’s weakness, ` not strengths that bind us together.”

Lady Dynamite Season 2 is currently streaming on Netflix.


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