Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

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Saturday, June 17, 2006

When a movie makes you really depressed

Is it a good movie? This evening the Boy and I watched Grizzly Man. Yes, I've read tons about it and everyone seems to have the same opinion: "What the fuck was WRONG with this Timothy Treadwell guy?" That seems apparent to me. He was an unmedicated bipolar, living his summers in Alaska with very dangerous bears and not really getting how his relationship with these majestic animals completely and totally crossed the line.

I have a lot of respect for people that choose to live with wildlife. That people decide to give up their lives in the hope of protecting animals is not a bad thing at all. But when someone decides that he has a special communication and relationship with probably the most dangerous animal there is, and nobody steps in to say "honey, you might need to rethink your priorities" I get a bit huffy.

It's like that silly Britney Spears interview Matt Lauer did the other night. She has nobody looking out for her. She went on national television wearing a totally white trash slutty outfit, chewing gum, and making the excuse "we're country" as the reason for driving with her son on her lap. Maybe I'm a bigger sap than you are, but I feel sort of sorry for her that she has nobody advising her. Why isn't there someone saying "hon, we don't chew gum on TV" or "Hon, you don't want those giant nursing balloon boobs hanging out on national TV"? Why was she allowed to speak for herself without advisors helping her to craft better responses? She sounded dumber than Bush, and that's saying something!

So I don't get why someone didn't help Tim either. He had perfectly respectable parents who didn't seem to be remotely responsable for his mental health. They talked about his alcoholism and his brushes with drugs like it was just normal boy stuff. Meanwhile, their son is talking about how the bears saved him from drinking. Okay....

There seemed to be at least three or more women in his life, some claiming romantic relationships, others not, who appeared to understand his mood swings and his inability to rationalize his weird relationship with these very wild animals. Why didn't they find some help for him. When his doctor prescribed an 'antidepressant' according to one woman, he decided not to take it because he missed the highs and lows. Yeah, what adult untreated bipolar doesn't? The trick is to treat the illness before the highs get so entrenched that you need them to feel alive.

I dunno, maybe it's my own personal bugaboo with bipolar disease that gets me so upset and angry when I see a life wasted by the lack of intervention. I just don't get why parents let their children suffer with bipolar disease. I don't get why society still has such a stigma about medication that they prefer pushing biofeedback and additive free diets as better than proven medication help. I don't get why friends didn't try to intervene and say "you need help, Tim." And I certainly don't get why his girlfriend Amie Huguenard returned to Kodiak Island with him and died at his side, eaten by a rogue bear. I just do not get it at all.

I hated this movie. I loved the scenery and the wildlife, but I'm so freaking angry at the way Tim died. It all seemed so unnecessary. Such a huge waste.
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Blogger srp said...

Here from Michele.
I haven't seen this movie. Actually, I haven't seen many movies. I guess the last one was Narnia at Christmas and before that... hmm, can't remember.

The thing about wild animals, is well, they are WILD. Even if you know the ins and outs of their lives, there is always going to be unexpected behavior. And since it ALWAYS happens, it should be expected.

Even domesticated animals will have thoes days. My mild mannered Nicky and his sister got into an unusual and rare knock down drag out hissing spitting slapping silly fit fight this morning. Glad I wasn't in the middle.

17/6/06 8:56 PM  
Blogger panthergirl said...

I agree with you on SO many counts. I am bipolar and I know the crazy, risky shit I did before I was diagnosed. OK, I didn't sleep with bears...but I slept with my share of "animals".

I am amazed that he lived as long as he did.

Agree, totally, about stupid Britney. What an idiot! I was hoping she would at least acknowledge her foolishness with the car episodes (the convertible one being just as bad!), but she doesn't seem to think there's a problem. Oy.

And it's only a matter of time before K-Fed finds himself another flat-bellied girl...

Here via michele tonight!

17/6/06 9:39 PM  
Blogger Carina said...

Saw the film last year - very moving, brought up all sorts of ethical questions. I thought it was beautiful, interesting, sad.
I did get the impression he was the sort of man who was just going to go his own way no matter what anyone told him - I couldn't "blame" his friends & family. Short of having him committed, what could anyone do, if he wasn't willing?
He forged his own life and death.

17/6/06 10:31 PM  
Blogger Neasa said...

Hi there & thanks for visiting my blog.

You're speaking absolute truth & plain common sense about this topic. I haven't & won't see the movie for all the reasons you mentioned. This was a stupid, tragic waste of life.

Unfortunately, as my partner (who's in the mental health field) says: people have the right to be as crazy as they want to be. I see the point in that in cases of inappropriate forced hospitalization, but in cases like this, someone should be accountable for intervention. This man's "choices" directly led to him being a (mortal) danger to himself.

17/6/06 11:25 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

Haven't seen it - I knew it would rip me up inside. I'm not planning on seeing it. As someone who'd listened to friends bitch about 'that guy in Katmai' who talks to the bears like they're people after coming back from doing field work there, it was weird and sad when we heard he'd died. But really, I found it more sad that they had to shoot the bear that ate him.

Yes, someone should have gotten him help. But someone should have protected the bears, too. Sad, all around.

18/6/06 12:32 AM  
Blogger Ellen said...

I don't know if you remember, but I did a post about this movie way back in early January. Seriously disturbed me. It bothered me that he was so obviously severely bipolar and no one in the film even mentions a possible mental illness.

18/6/06 8:01 PM  
Blogger Belinda said...

AbsoLUTEly what myself and my stable, medicated, committed to stability bipolar husband thought about Treadwell. And I can answer your question about WHY no one "helped" him. Because he wouldn't have let them, and was not, in fact, capable of recognizing the fact that he NEEDED help. This is the case with over 80% of bipolar people, and the only way you can have someone committed against their will is if they demonstrate an obvious threat to harm themselves or others (I'd think a case could have been made for ol' Timothy, but it wasn't).

And yes, felt bad for Britney, as much as it galled me to feel that way...but I'm ever an empath. The poor thing--the gum, the clothes, the MAKEUP...on a show in which she was defending her behavior...ugh. Of course, IF she had good-hearted, smart-headed people in her corner, probably a lot of the stuff she's under scrutiny for would not have happened in the first place.

20/6/06 8:01 PM  
Blogger Tono Rondone said...

You say you hated this movie, but really the German director Werner Herzog has done some of the finest work in cinematic history, so why do you figure he'd do a movie like this? I respect him for doing this film and I respect Tim Treadwell. All the disfunctional jargon from the shrink's couch just ain't going to cut it here. His girlfriend was a victim I admit, but there are so many innocent victims in the world of violence and death, why focus on just her. The story needed to be told and was, in a way that Tim would have endorsed. Be brave, don't be a coward. This thing happened.

23/6/06 9:45 AM  

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