It’s interesting how seemingly innocuous things can be triggers.
I’ve heard many things about the new Fox show Legion, a Marvel mutant-related story. Some people love it. Some hate it. Some want to like it but can’t deal with the inconsistent narrator or lack of direction. I heard the concept and purposely waited to hear how it was taken by my friends – they know I have a bit of sensitivity towards how schizophrenia is portrayed.
As angry as I can get when it’s portrayed badly, it turns out there’s another end of the spectrum, where it’s well enough depicted that it gets into my head in a bad, bad way.
There’s an uncomfortable feeling where the world is filtered, an uncertainty about whether other people perceive things the same way I do. I see colors and wonder if what I call “red” is what looks like “blue” to other people. And we just all call it the same thing because that’s what we’ve been taught, even though our viewing is utterly different. These are the things I genuinely wonder about. I’m not schizophrenic, though my grandmother was, but I have manic episodes that have come very close to a schizotypal experience. I have argued with my roommate when she wasn’t home. I have had to ask to have someone rescue the cat from the freezer, though she was never put in there. Reality has been an uncomfortably fuzzy scenario for me, though no where near what a type 1 bipolar or true schizophrenic suffers.
So I sat down to watch it, a little nervous but having been reassured by my nearest and dearest that the depiction wasn’t a bad one. I thought that was enough. I was wrong.
I’ll carefully avoid any spoilers, but as the episode progressed I felt my heart racing. I had to look away at times. Sometimes I could feel tears well up in sympathy as the main character tried to sort out what was “real”. Since we started with dinner I had a glass of wine, but when offered another I knew that was not the kind of mindset I wanted to be in, I either had to be sober or completely intoxicated, but anywhere in between was going to be a problem. The main character is clearly the shifting perspective that filters the events, but since he can’t believe his own mind, there’s no way for the viewer to believe what is on screen.
And I became twitchy. Uncomfortable. I declared at the end that both I had a feeling I didn’t like the show, but also that I felt compelled to watch more. Every piece of set dressing and wardrobe is in question. Comments about the show “going off the rails” in later episodes confuse me, because I can see there are no real rails to start with. There are illusions of rails, but I feel odd in that I can see where they are already not there, which is apparently something other people are only finding out about 4 or 5 episodes later.
Last night I couldn’t sleep well. Even now thinking about it I can feel my sentences breaking down, shorter and segmented. I doubt I will voluntarily re-read this entry, so you have my apologies. I’m not fully on a manic bend, but I am skirting the edges, and I really believe the Legion episode kicked that into gear. I’m having to slow my breathing when I think about how I felt last night. Thoughts are spinning about without good control, and I want to ensure I don’t act too impulsively. All because a TV episode reminded me of the worst this could be…
Damn you, Legion.