life in and around NYC is insane

Monday, May 3, 2010

Next to Normal -- theater vs. real life

anyone see Next to Normal?

I saw it last year.  It's a Broadway musical (note I did not say "musical comedy").  The main character is a housewife who is bipolar, delusional and battling the demons in her own mind.  the themes include whether to stay on medication that makes her numb to the world, experimental treatments, and the effect her illness has on her family.  serious and dramatic material for a Broadway stage.  made for an interesting evening of theater.  the overriding theme is one of hope....but the story is scary.  mental illness is scary.

experiencing it on the stage is one thing.


seeing it played out in the next cubicle is something else entirely.

we jokingly referred to her as "the office loon" because of oddball behavior we'd all observed.  but this week her eccentricities crossed into a different realm:  delusional, obsessive and alarming.  now her previous odd behavior makes sense -- it's clear she's been suffering a psychiatric disorder for a long time. on Friday the human resources department sent her home with instructions to have her psychiatrist approve a leave of absence and short term disability benefits.

she's a woman my age, perhaps a little older, with two teenage daughters.  I've been working with her for about a year and a half. 

it's scary.

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