How mad are you?

Thanks to everyone who wrote in telling me to watch the BBC2 documentary ‘How Mad Are You?’ A really fascinating study of the fine line between ‘mad’ and ‘sane’, and quite sensitively done (if you can overlook the strange Joe Millionaire production style).

The stories of those who had recovered from serious illness were incredibly inspiring. A friend of mine who was once diagnosed with bipolar disorder says there is little framework for positive messages in the way people are usually diagnosed: we’re given a label and told we are different from ‘normal’ people, but this isn’t accompanied by positive stories about how people have learnt to manage their conditions, and recovered to live their lives to the full. So it was great to see people who were officially ‘mentally ill’ operating as functional, successful, happy people, to the point where their condition couldn’t be spotted even by the scrutiny of experts. And meanwhile, healthy people were mistakenly diagnosed with serious mental illness – which is something for all of us to think about.

So here’s to celebrating mental diversity, and to a richer understanding of how our minds work. Top marks to the BBC for commissioning it too, I hope it’s a sign of more good things to come.

Catch ‘How Mad Are You?’ while you still can on iPlayer (for one month only).