There were a lot of steamy scenes in this series, but what made me clutch my pearls was the terrible scenes of torture that they disguised as medicine for the King’s mental illness. It was so heartbreaking; it made me look away.
It is so important that we talk about the dark areas of the past so that we can move forward in the future. In mental health and medicine, there have been dark pasts and abusive histories.
The series highlighted a so-called doctor who was torturing George with his mental experiments. He seemed to enjoy his abuse of power in the series. And not only was it abusive, not only was it torture: it wasn’t even working. It wasn’t effective. It was heart-wrenching to see the scenes and to know, yes… there was a history of torture in the name of science in many fields, and mental health is not exempt. The series revealed the deep-rooted histories that have created today’s stigma regarding mental health treatment.
The series also revealed a human side to mental illness.
The King was good-looking, articulate, smart, caring, and had a great sense of humor. His diverse interests were intriguing and admirable. It wasn’t enough to prevent him from developing a mental illness. And that’s important for us to grapple with because we put in our minds these images of what people are supposed to look like, be like, or what their financial status likely is. If they have a mental illness and have important positions or are well-known, they don’t want to risk being demoted.
“If this gets out about me…” Or they don’t want to be a burden to their friends and family, that they’re usually the go-to person, and now that they need help. They don’t know what to do because it feels counterintuitive to be the one that needs to receive help.
May was Mental Health Month, and it struck me that the stigmas in the show are still around. Stigmas are beliefs that keep people from acknowledging there’s a problem and keeps people from seeking support.
We have privileges today. We have evidence-based, ethical, and culturally relevant treatment options in therapy now. Suppose you know someone who needs support, or If you need support, go ahead. We are privileged, and we want to not take that for granted.
Photo Credit: By IMP Awards, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=73381663
Written By: Natasha D. Oates, Award-Winning Therapist & Relationship Coach