The #Pillshaming Twitter hashtag was created by @Sectioned_ to refer to condescending articles and viewpoints, deriding the use of psychiatric medication. There’s been a fair few of these recently. In the Guardian Giles Fraser and Will Self leapt onto their respective soapboxes to pour forth a series of tired cliches. Today in the Daily Mail, Dr Joanna Moncrief published an article which has some valid points but also a lot of pillshaming tropes – prime among them that bipolar disorder has become “fashionable” because Stephen Fry and Catherine Zeta Jones have it.
Let’s get one thing clear. I have huge respect for Stephen Fry, but the fact that he has bipolar disorder tells us one thing and one thing only; that there are a lot of celebrities out there, and by a simple matter of statistics at least some of them can be expected to have bipolar disorder. I’m sure there are plenty of celebrities with diabetes: does that make diabetes fashionable too? I’m sure Mr Fry didn’t feel that he was making a high-end fashion statement when he attempted suicide earlier this year. (“This is not just an overdose, this is an M&S overdose…”)
I would respond more to Dr Moncrief’s article, but Purple Persuasion has already written an excellent rebuttal in which she concludes, “Sad to say that when it comes to discussing bipolar and to mental health drugs, it’s lazy journalism that seems to be really in fashion.”
And it’s this lazy journalism that prompted @Sectioned_ to ask me to create a #Pillshaming bingo card, to accompany my Twitter Drama bingo card. As well as scanning the articles by Fraser, Self and Moncrief, I also had suggestions of pillshaming tropes tweeted to me by @Sectioned_, @MarkOneinFour, @BettyGudrun, @444BlackCat and @KennerleyWendy. It really didn’t take me long to fill the squares.
So, without further ado, here is the #Pillshaming Bingo Card.