If there’s one thing I think Homeland gets consistently right, it’s mental illness. They show how ugly it can be. Carrie makes the same mistakes over and over and does wild shit that no one understands… but I think that’s refreshing when we so often seen the “perfect person” suffering in fiction. You can still appreciate her struggles even if you don’t necessarily like her.

People tend to go back and forth on Homeland’s depiction of mental illness, but I have always found it to be honest. I’ve discussed this on the podcast, but like… a lot of the things that people find “over the top,” I find to be completely realistic.

I see it over and over again in critique of Homeland. “Crazy Carrie” is Emmy bait, it’s tiresome, it’s way too much, blah blah blah. The show is running out of ideas. Whatever. 

I see it in real life, too. Mental illness has been destigmatized to a huge degree, but that doesn’t mean that people get it or respect the impact that it has. It really sucks to have somebody you care about accuse you of using your illness as an excuse, for example. 

But that is a pretty common mindset. Carrie has, over the past few seasons, made attempts to manage her illness. That’s literally all you can really do. And I don’t think that’s easy for people to appreciate in general.

Friend of the blog, @wittybyrd, posted a few months ago about her relationship to Homeland/Carrie. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in her teens, and as a result she is in a semi-unique position to relate to Carrie Mathison. Her post can be found here, and I recommend that everybody read it.