“Mania Days,” Debuts at South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin
“Mania Days” is a movie by Paul Dalio, features Katie Holmes and Luke Kirby as two New Yorkers suffering in the various stages of Bipolar Disorder. Dalio, who in actual bipolar mode, wrote, directed, produced, edited and unbelievably – “scored” his own movie which is based on his own discovery of his bipolar disorder.
In an interview with the Huffington Post, Dalio describes the Holmes character as what he was like when he had his first episode “really scared and ashamed of it”. The other character, played by Luke Kirby is based on a period of when he “started to romanticize bipolar disorder” and “embraced lunacy”.
Dalio himself endured three years of bipolar misery but eventually adhered to treatment when he recognized the pain he was causing his family. Now he credits much of his inner peace to meditation (in addition to medication) and adherence to a routine schedule – including sleep.
The film debuts at the 2015 South by Southwest (SXSW) Music, Film, and Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas which runs a number of independent films. The film festival coincides with the world famous music festival and an “interactive” conference which includes “gaming” and interactive media.
Katie Holmes’ presence in the film shows potential for commercial success, but whether it achieves stardom – it is a good thing for bipolar disorder. Basically, any attention for bipolar disorder is good – even the “bad” of bipolar disorder – as awareness can only reduce bipolar stigma.
I know that in my own journey over 20 plus years, I have gone through many stages. I don’t much remember being “scared” of the diagnosis – or even of my behavior. I have chosen to steel myself with “it is what it is”.
I did, however, maintain a long romance with the idea of “crazy” is good. I spent many years believing (and many hours arguing with my therapist) that being “normal” was boring. The last thing I wanted to be was “normal”.
I would like to say I was young and stupid – which I was but maybe part of the truth was that I had been crazy for so long that it was “normal”. Eventually, crazy is exhausting – and you can’t do it anymore.
In most cases – you are eventually stopped from being crazy – up against a wall, sometimes caught by family members but sometimes a lot worse. You get normal – only to get bored and do it all again.
As much as I would like to say that there is a real way to stop this cycle – in many cases there is not. Even with medication, the cycle will continue – for a while. Eventually, hopefully, you just get too tired of doing crazy. Lost relationships, lost jobs… lost stuff. It is exhausting.
Today – I am stable on medication. Like an alcoholic – I say today. Tomorrow and likely next week I will be stable on medication. I would like to say forever – but I remember (at least what I do remember) that someday I may not. The best I can do is to be open and forthright about my disorder so that those around me may know the signs if I decide to do “crazy” again.
Even though, I live near the festival and have many friends who are attendees, musicians, event planners, and sponsors – I won’t be seeing the film in Austin… crowds, excitement, and all that are no longer my thing – but I will see it, and I hope it is good. Even if it isn’t great, it is another step in the right direction for the disease.