Homeland and Why It Keeps Me Awake

carrie-carrie-mathison-32995061-1280-720 I’m worried.

Carrie Mathison is off her meds. Dana Brody attempted suicide.
As if counter-terrorism intelligence, plot twists related to allegiances, and a search for the Most Wanted Man Alive (Nicholas Brody) weren’t enough, we now have to delve even deeper into a sensitive and honest portrayal of mental health issues? What happened to the old days when people with mental illness were the butt of jokes on sitcoms and almost always the criminal in TV dramas?

Long gone. Finally!

Of course, I’m talking about Homeland, the award-winning Showtime series which centers on Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody, who returns home eight years after going missing in Iraq, and Carrie Mathison, a driven CIA officer who suspected that Brody might be plotting an attack on America.

In this season’s premiere, Carrie, diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder, tells her father, who guesses that she is off of her medications, that she is pursuing natural alternative therapies. Unfortunately, this natural therapy turns out to be in the form of the agave plant – more specifically, tequila. LOTS of tequila. She even picks up a guy at the liquor store who looks remarkably like Sergeant Nicholas Brody and proceeds to go home and have angry sex (as Huffington Post says, the only kind of sex she seems to know how to have) with him. We are left wondering….is Carrie becoming hypersexual in the throes of an impending manic episode? Is she still in love with Brody despite her suspicions that he was responsible for the bomb that killed 219 people at the CIA headquarters?

But Carrie, get on your meds, please. We’ve seen you go through Electroconvulsive Therapy (known as shock therapy in the old days). For a full explanation of ECT, please visit here . Bipolar disorder needs lifelong treatment, even when you are feeling fine.
Carrie, you said you felt like you weren’t “all there” when you were on medications. I get it. I’ve heard it a bajillion times. But mania with psychotic features could be your alternative. Don’t go there! You have important work to do!

To Showtime and Homeland, job well done. Bipolar Affective Disorder is messy. Making Carrie a superhero would raise the bar WAY too high for real people battling real bipolar disorder. She is making really difficult choices about a really difficult illness. It’s not pretty.

But please, ditch the tequila and pick the Lithium back up!

Then there’s Dana Brody. More on that later. I need to see how her character unfolds.

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Shared by: Russell Winters, Social Worker & Executive Director of Tender Mercies

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