Double Speak

By June 30, 2015Blog

Yes, I like TV. I know that liking TV isn’t politically correct but I don’t care. What I don’t like are advertisements. Some are cute, some are tempting but the ones that upset me the most are pharmaceutical advertisements. Why? Because of double speak. The side effects of drugs coupled with the happy video of the drug takers do not go together. That is what I call double speak. I can’t believe how duplicitous this is! I suspect the visual is more powerful than the audio because we can be certain that these drugs are selling no matter what the announcer says.

My diagnosis of bipolar 1 brought medications with it. I know the meds I take are taking their toll and I don’t read the long list of side-effects that comes with each medication but I wouldn’t be alive without them. There were a couple of medications during the early years of my treatment that did make me very sick; one actually put me in the hospital. My doctor got me off those meds quickly. That experience was incredibly discouraging because before the meds made me sick they had made me feel more well, more normal, than I had felt in my entire life! In this blog I’m writing about drugs/medications that are not necessary, that will not save your life. I’m talking about “designer drugs” that are on the market to encourage people to buy them instead of doing the hard work of eating right and exercising, among other things.

I’ve been on TV a few times and without fail the hair people and the make-up people swoop in to make you look like they think you should look. I’m not used to wearing make-up very often so after the make-up person finishes with me I don’t look like the Jessie person I know. And then my hair!! The hair person makes my hair different than how I would EVER wear it! I don’t complain because these make-up and hair people are so incredibly nice and they’re only doing their job, but, I sit in the chair in front of the big mirrors and think: “OMG!! I have morphed into TV Land! My friends will think I look ridiculous!!”

Well, that never happened; I never had a friend tell me I looked ridiculous when on TV but, this again, is the TV double-speak. Being on TV is considered a big deal, a privilege, when in fact, commercial TV fills the air with current news and programming to satisfy the advertisers. A friend told me that she knew it was me but it was obvious that hair and make-up had been at me! Again, it’s the double speak.

Double speak teaches us to pretend and we pretend a lot in the USA. How else would it be possible to sell unnecessary drugs that have such terrible side-effects? How else would it be possible to worship celebrities who are simply human? How else is it possible to purchase violent video games for our children? How else is it possible to send our youth off to war? And how else is it possible to pretend that our mentally ill, our homeless and our disenfranchised veterans are merely crazy?!

I will continue to watch TV. I will continue to be aware and hope that we all learn to hear the double speak spoken in our complicated society.







  • Bambi says:

    I think the same thing about these these advertisements, thinking, are the side effects worth it? Thanks for the blog and your book, Resilience. I picked up a copy at my local library. Thank you for the courage to share your story. I am a fraternal twin who has a bipolar sister. Our nightmare began in 2006 when she beat our mother to death, thinking she was a demon. But my sister has come a long way since then with proper help and meds. She is on the board of mental health here in Virginia and gives talks. Her name is Rene Loving Turman. Again thanks to you and Glenn for bringing much needed attention to the stigma of mental illness.

  • Julie B says:

    Thank you Jessie. The whole how you look thing is a real struggle with me when I’m trying my very best to pull it together to go to work and I call it being in drag because it’s so far from how I feel just behind the facade. Now that I’m 59 it’s feels worse because I can’t seem to pull it together and I hear myself saying the horrible things I did to my Mom, “Mom you’re not rubbing your make-up in or you’ve got stains on that blouse or you’ve got 2 different colors shoes on.” SO SORRY MOM. I get it now. I’m a mess then I really feel paranoid at work convinced co-workers see all those smudges and really bad hair. I can’t wait to get home and take the drag show off. The pills are just making me nuts and I see for the first time why some people get frustrated and stop taking their meds. One pill makes you slept and one pill makes you fat one pill makes you vomit and I’m sick of all of that.
    Love you Jessie and so grateful for what you do.

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