About “Life with M.I.K.E.”

I’ve lived with mental illness for as long as I can remember. For the longest time I thought it was one thing and then a couple years ago I had a proper assessment done and I finally was given a definitive diagnosis. There’s a certain relief when someone gives your problems a name. And also a bit of dread. On one hand, you no longer have to fear this unknown creature hunched over your shoulder, and on the other, knowing its name means you start to understand the horrible things it’s capable of.

Life with M.I.K.E. (Mental Illness Kills Everybody) is about exactly that.

I don’t hallucinate with my particular issues, but I thought a balloon was a pretty good analogy for the way we try to externalize the stuff we keep inside. M.I.K.E. (the talking balloon) is mostly full of hot air, and relatively harmless looking, but at any moment he could POP! and take out those around him. M.I.K.E. says the things his “friend”, Bean — yes, human Bean — can’t, or won’t, or tries hard not to say. Only the series’ wide array of fellow socially handicapped guests can see or hear M.I.K.E. besides Bean. The sane folks think something’s off with Bean because he is always talking to himself, which wouldn’t be so bad if he answered himself too — only crazy people carry on one sided conversations, waiting for imaginary voices to answer.

The real question is this: If only people with mental illness see and know what M.I.K.E. is saying, and you can see and know what he’s saying… what does that say about your state of mind?

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