Monday, May 19, 2014

Black Box: A Spoonie's Review

So part of being a spoonie I believe, is watching a lot of tv/movies and a lot of people like to watch things they can kinda relate to. So when I heard ABC put out a new show about a Doctor with a mental illness I knew I had to check it out. (for those that don't know I suffer from depression/anxiety which is being controlled by medication.) Don't worry there won't be any spoilers! We all know there are countless numbers of medical shows and their accuracy varies. Some are too dramatic others focuses mainly on the medical team's life and recently, there has been more publicity about spoonies.

IMDb and different site's give a summary but it gives some spoilers so I'm just going to give my summary which will not. Catherine Black is a famous-big city neurologist. But she has a secret, she's bipolar aka manic depression. Only her psychiatrist, her brother and his family knows. She faces the daily struggle of making sure she takes her meds, and hiding a big part of who she is to those around her both professional and personal life. 

For whatever reason (most likely ratings) American commercials for tv shows have become very vague. So I wasn't able to form an opinion until I watched it and so far, so good. here are some reasons why I think it's a good show

  1. I can relate. The most obvious reason is I can relate to a degree. I can relate to making sure I take my pills. I have stopped taking my meds just cuz I felt like it off and on (yes I know, shame-shame). I faced the battle of hiding my illnesses or how extreme it is from people around me and feeling like I'm hiding a part of myself. I was afraid of loosing people who means the world to me if I told them what was wrong with me. I face the fear of when I have kids that they'll suffer what I suffer from.
  2. Patient advocacy. As someone who faces a lot of medical problems you learn how different people handle medical care. You'll see Doctor Black's "bedside manner" along with her peers, boss and even the relationship between each other. Now, I feel this is a little dramatic but hey, what show doesn't have something sexual or a strong competition between people? I LOVE the way Dr. Black interacts with her patients! So much that I wish she could be my neurologist. Part of the reason she's so great with her patience is the fact that she can relate. I mean how would you feel if you walked into a consult room and it was covered in drawings because a 18 year old couldn't stop? She handled it amazingly. She doesn't get upset and even compliments his work.  In each episode so far it is Dr. Black that get's through to those "crazy" patients. I imagine a lot of doctors are afraid to say something to their peers if they feel they're doing the wrong thing or gave the wrong diagnosis unless asked. But not Doctor Black she has the guts to say what she thinks. Even with procedures! She looks at what is better for a patient and doesn't act like people on Grey's Anatomy all excited to take a patient under. She only does what's best overall.
  3.  It brings attention to mental health. Again, my mental illness pretty much looks like nothing compared to someone is bipolar. But it proves the very hard to explain truth that our illness(es) doesn't define a person but at the same time it greatly affects their life.It shows the battle of a person trying to live as "normal" of a life as they can. She passionately explains off and on of famous people with mental illnesses and the battle someone with her condition faces the tug of war on if they should take their meds. People with mental illness can become an artist all the sudden or much happier. With Doctor Black it helps inspire her to do research and have a stronger passion for what she does. But she also faces the challenges of if she should put a patient on medication or go through a surgery that will take care of an issue. I am not bipolar and as far as I know, I don't know anyone who does so as far as how she is when she has what we call a "flare" But it does show with her and her patient how intense a mental illness can be.
  4. It's not too intense and not too light. Do you remember the show ER? I do, I was a little kid at the time so my presumption of it might be inaccurate because of it with that being said I felt it was a kind of intense show. Black Box is not. But it's also not a super goofy show like "Scrubs" it's right there in the middle where there are some intense moments followed by interesting characters to lighten the show up. 
With that being said, spoonies (myself included) are hoping that this show along with other things in the media will help break the stigmata on any chronic illness. That people will no longer be isolated if and when they all the sudden develop signs of an illness of any type. We hope spoonies will be treated more normal and not define by our illnesses. It's going to take time but the little steps that are in action will hopefully help. 

But back to specifically Black Box, it's a good show so far and looks promising. I wouldn't say it's a family show, it probably falls in the PG-13 category do to sexual content but also the subject matter. Unless a kid is raised knowing about mental illness I imagine it would be difficult for them to understand and process what is going on. Which could possibly harm our cause of awareness. Personally, I'm hooked and can't wait to see more! If you watch the show tell me what yall think! Doesn't matter if you're a spoonie or not I wanna hear from yall!
Stay Strong,

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