I watched a movie last night on the Lifetime channel here in the US. It was called “The Girl He Met Online.” Here is the description of the movie from Lifetime’s website: “Sexy 23-year-old Gillian has no trouble attracting men, but her bipolar moods scare them off. Once dumped, her anger knows no bounds. She’s on better behavior with man-of-her-dreams Andy, until her boss and mother push her into a corner and Andy’s sister dies as a result. The only question now is whether Andy himself will fall prey to the girl he met online.”
Immediately I was skeptical. Great, I thought, another movie where they create a villain out of a person with bipolar disorder.
I was right.
Gillian, the main character, has explosive anger issues. She trashes an ex-boyfriend’s place, roughs up her mother, breaks a bottle over another ex-boyfriend’s head, pushes her boyfriend’s sister down a flight of stairs – killing her, and tries to strangle her mother. She shows no remorse for these actions.
Her family tiptoes around her, afraid of her anger. At one point her mother says something to Gillian’s sister that her mood is up but she worries about the inevitable fall back down – a comment about the cycling moods of people with bipolar disorder.
What I hated about the movie was that it was exactly the way I expected it to be. They made Gillian dangerous and they made it appear that her bipolar disorder was the cause of this. Don’t get me wrong, people, like me, with bipolar disorder do get irritable. I have admitted to getting angry myself. But I don’t kill people. (Obviously). I don’t strangle people. I don’t drug people with sleeping pills.
They portrayed Gillian to be the general population’s expectation of “crazy” and it isn’t fair. It isn’t fair to people like me, who live and thrive with this disorder, to be compared to someone like Gillian. This is the reason there is so much misunderstanding about mental illness – because the media feeds us bullshit.
I think you can watch the movie online on the Lifetime website, but it will definitely re-air as last night was the premiere. But, I wouldn’t advise it. It will probably just upset you, like it did me.
Remember, we are not the “crazy” that movies like this try to tell the world we are. We have an illness, but can still be great, functioning members of society.
Photo credit : © 2013 – Reel One Films 5 Inc. and NB Thrilling Films 2 Inc.