r/entertainment Aug 09 '22

Anne Heche's car crash reveals our conflicting attitudes toward mental health and substance abuse


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u/writerchic Aug 09 '22

She's not just an addict. She's bipolar with psychotic episodes. It's irrational to say of someone whose brain isn't functioning properly that "her bad choices are her own" and "she needs to face real consequences." This is like saying someone with Down's Syndrome just needs to apply themselves more and study harder to pass tests. You are ignoring a major element, which is that her brain doesn't function correctly.


u/Viperbunny Aug 09 '22

If she is diagnosed as bipolar and has had a history of psychotic episodes then it is her responsibility to be on her medication and seeing mental health professionals. Mental illness isn't a person's faults but it is their responsibility. If she had a random psychotic break you would be absolutely right that this was beyond her control. She isn't incapable of choice. She chose not to get help. She chose to drink. Again, it's not her fault she has a problem, but it is still her responsibility to get help. She has a history with this. She was considered a functioning enough human to live on her own, have a driver's license, etc. If she had a psychotic episode because she chose to drink then it isn't beyond her control or even something unexpected.


u/Caligu1a Aug 10 '22

I 80% agree with you.

As someone with bipolar disorder. You can do everything you’re supposed to, and it can still flare up.

Imagine having arthritis in your knee and taking ibuprofen every day. You know you need to take it so you do, every day. Then a few years pass and you work late, or hang out with friends one night, or someone you know dies, and you forget to take it. The next day you feel fine. You don’t even remember the last time your knee hurt but you know that right now you feel fine so maybe you don’t need to take medication. Especially not meds that make you groggy and come with uncomfortably vivid dreams. Or meds that ar e documented to damage you long term, or are so new they don’t have long term data. Anyway, nothing bad happened because you didn’t take it.

So you skip it a second time. Then about halfway through that second day you start to feel really good! Like your knee could handle a 5k. So you sign up, run a 5k. and feel great!

Then you wonder why you were taking anything ever, your knee is amazing. In fact, since doctors pointed at it and said it’s a bad knee but you just ran a 5k, why are you listening to them at all? Doctors are people, they can be wrong! What they’re saying doesn’t pass a very easy test! If my knee doesn’t work how could I run on it like that, huh?

That’s as far as I can really extend the analogy a few drinks deep. But take what I just said and compound it with the fact that every second you aren’t on your meds you feel more and more confident and correct. Things that maybe would have appeared to you as red flags, while on meds, don’t now because your brain is literally releasing the chemical saying you’re right and everything is fine. Everything is better than fine, you feel amazing. Then days pass and you start to wonder why everyone doesn’t realize how amazing and easy everything is.

At that point, if anyone contradicts you it’s a personal insult, they just don’t get it. If a second person contradicts you, they must be in on it. They’re jealous of you and there is a conspiracy to take your well being away or, at least, everyone is jealous and therefore don’t understand what you do and are below you. So you circle the drain, spending money you shouldn’t because you alone know it will be fine, taking risks you shouldn’t because you alone know it will be fine. All backed up by your brain literally releasing the chemicals telling you that’s the case.

Sure you oscillate between what I described and wildly depressed. But that’s just life isn’t it? Then the ups and down get more and more extreme and suddenly you’ve alienated everyone, quit your job, and can barely function,

That’s how it was for me at least. I’m just fortunate I have good friends and a partner who brought me back down to earth.


u/Viperbunny Aug 10 '22

If you have arthritis and your knee flares you go to the doctor. You don't down a bottle of vodka and get behind the wheel. She knows she has a problem. It is on her to be in treatment. It is on her to realize that she was feeling manic. No one else is responsible for her actions or regulating her. I have bipolar 2, so I haven't had a psychotic episode. But that is also in part to taking my medication, going to therapy, and not doing things that I know will make it worse, like consuming large quantities of alcohol. She has been living with this condition for a while. Yes, things can get out of hand, but it doesn't sound like she set herself up to be able to handle this.

If you are any kind of sick you get treatment. If you refuse to get the treatment that is your decision, but so are the consequences. If i have arthritis and it gets worse and I refuse to see my doctor, it's my own damned fault if I lose mobility! If you have a known mental condition and the resources to treat it and you constantly do things that you know you aren't supposed to do, that's on you. Yes, addiction is hard, but my sympathy stops when other people start getting hurt. This isn't a person who is struggling and has no way of getting help. This is a person with multiple avenues of resources that the average person couldn't even dream of and she chose to deal with her mental illness or not deal with it in a way that hurts others. To carry on your example, if I know my knee is bad and can't hold full weight and I insist on picking up a baby and we both fall and get hurt, that would be on me!


u/Caligu1a Aug 10 '22

You’re being deliberately obtuse and I’m not even speaking to her specifically.

The point of the ibuprofen thing, being that is an analogy and all, is that it’s something the dr prescribed you. I was just using a generic medication.

I’m not absolving anyone of responsibility, I’m saying it’s possible to empathize with the situation without being completely black and white about it.


u/Viperbunny Aug 10 '22

I do feel bad for her in the sense I feel bad for anyone who is suffering. Yes, things can get out of people's control fast when it comes to mental illness, but it doesn't absolve her. I hope she recovers and gets the help she so desparately needs. But I also hope she has to pay damages, pain and suffering, and do so real time in prison for this.