We're All Mad Here

We're All Mad Here: You Get Proud By Practicing*

This post was written by both s.e. & Anna. People with various forms of mental health conditions have been talking back to stereotypes and stigma for a long time, but this Mad People’s History and these mad people’s words tend to be overlooked by mainstream society and pop culture. Occasionally glimmers of our actual experience will work their way through to small presses and independent bookstores, and at other times bits of reality will creep their way into mainstream movies or television, but for the most part, stories are told about us by others, the same way kids will tell scary stories around a campfire. Be afraid of the dark, the crazy man in the woods will get you. However, more of us are banding together in order to talk back. We’re forming blog carnivals...

We're All Mad Here: How Pop Culture Influences "Real Life"

The decision to continually portray mental illness in pop culture for cheap, scary thrills and to avoid giving motivation for villains beyond “the crazy” has consequences. Those consequences are primarily felt by us, our loved ones, and our communities. When people tell me I... Read more »

We're All Mad Here: The Dangers of Openly Identifying with Mental Illness

Fighting the stigma against mental illness is an ongoing battle, and often an uphill one, as illustrated by many of the posts in this series. Sometimes it seems like we make two strides backward for every stride we take forward in terms of reframing the way people think, talk about, and handle... Read more »


Many characters on television are explicitly mentally ill, and they come in a wide range of presentations. Television as a medium provides a unique opportunity for long, complex character arcs, which can be good when a show wants to take mental health seriously and really explore characters and... Read more »

We're All Mad Here: Dating While Crazy

Common perceptions of mental illness and relationships suggest that mentally ill people do not belong in relationships, do not deserve love and affection, and are even dangerous to marry or get involved with. Not for nothing are undesirable prospective partners “crazy bitches,” are former partners... Read more »

We're All Mad Here: The Institution in Music Videos

The institution as a recurring theme in pop culture tells us a great deal about how people think about institutions and mental illness, and music videos in particular provide a fascinating glimpse into perceptions of institutionalization and the institution as metaphor. Assembling this post, I... Read more »

We're All Mad Here: Joanna is Mad! Isn't it Romantic?

Women whom history has deemed as “mad” play an interesting role in pop culture. Some of them are viewed as romantic figures, their stories revered and retold as tragic love. Others are viewed as passive objects, mostly used as props in men’s stories. Still others are retroactively diagnosed... Read more »

We're All Mad Here: Parenting While Crazy

One particularly interesting, troubling, and recurrent depiction of mental illness in pop culture comes up in the handling of of mentally ill or cognitively impaired parents, where the traditional parent/child roles are reversed to advance a storyline. It is notable that this often involves a... Read more »

We're All Mad Here: Case Studies in Crazy Cartoon Characters

Television stations in the US are required by FCC regulations to have a minimum of three hours a week of “educational programming” aimed at children. This actually began in the 90s, and initially television stations met the... Read more »

We're All Mad Here: Institutionalization in the Whedon-verse

There are several things you can count on seeing in a series created by Joss Whedon. There will be witty banter. There will likely be some awesome fight scenes where a woman kicks ass and takes names. There will often be a brunette who, beaten down by society, will at some point wander around in... Read more »

We're All Mad Here: Pharmaceutical Advertising and Messaging About Mental Illness

Advertising is as much a part of pop culture as deliberately created works of art. Read more »