I Like Batman because I am just a man. I don't have Superpowers, industry contacts or big fancy equipment to tell my story...I have the story.
I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in my early twenties. Half of me lives in a dark cave beneath my home.
Back in 1989, I was a shy twelve year old boy who's parents were getting divorced. I had no friends, played no sports and wasn't really all that good in school. Like so many other fans, the first film was a big deal to me. It was the first movie I had ever seen in a theater and the first time I can remember being intrigued, amazed, and well...interested in anything.
Looking back, I think what attracted me to the film was the way Michael Keaton played the character. I identified with the battle that was going on inside of Bruce Wayne. He seemed neurotic, distracted, obsessed and lost. He had no friends and blamed himself for the loss of his family. I was young, but I recognized all of that immediately...it was me.
Without medication, my mind goes so fast that my thoughts have thoughts of their own and my body is frantically along for the ride. Whether it's days or weeks, sooner or later, somehow reality always manages to get out front of me and build a nice big wall for me to run into. I always hit it.
Even with pills I often feel cloudy and heavy. My arms and legs ache and I can't concentrate or think straight. Sometimes I have a very hard time getting out of bed and I have absolutely no motivation to do anything at all.
From Batman, I learned to turn a defect into a virtue. Bruce Wayne uses his anger and fear to do something positive with his life and give it meaning. Batman has said "The world only makes sense when you force it to."
I now produce my own offbeat educational videos about mental illness, like this one. I am a patient who wants those who are suffering to know that they are not alone.
Like bats, there are many negative portrayals of people with Bipolar Disorder on TV and in the media. Neither of us are blind, or rodents, or a menace to society. Bats are necessary for the environment by killing pests and pollinating plants, and some of the worlds most famous entertainers are manic depressives. These include Frank Sinatra, Jim Carey, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Burgess Meredith, who played The Penguin.
Like the 14 mile drive from The Batcave to Gotham City, the road to stability and understanding is not a short one and at thirty- five years old, I'm still on it.
Story (c) Michael Landrio 2012