Love & Mercy

In the last few days I have watched two movies about musical creative geniuses struggling with mental illness. They both were creating music and struggling with bipolar disorder or something similar in the 1960s and 70s. It is intense to watch someone struggling with an undiagnosed illness, self medicating and being manipulated by other people. 

The first is the feature film Love & Mercy about Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. The second was a Netflix original documentary What Happened, Miss Simone? about Nina Simone. 

Thankfully we have advanced in the treatments available and our understanding of mental illness in the last 40 years. We still have a long way to go, especially to remove the stigma. For example, it is frustrating that when someone is having a breakdown and you call 9-1-1, dispatch send a policeman to take the person to jail not an ambulance to take the person to the hospital.

Not every creative genius is mentally ill and not every mentally ill person is a creative genius, yet there is some connection--some gateway that is left open. 

It helped me appreciate the Beach Boys' music in a new way. And after a week of tumultuous lows and highs of shootings and Supreme Court decisions and funerals, it was healing to listen to Love and Mercy by Brian Wilson:

  1. I was sittin' in a crummy movie with my hands on my chin
    Oh the violence that occurs seems like we never win

    Love and mercy that's what you need tonight
    So, love and mercy to you and your friends tonight

    I was lyin' in my room and the news came on T.V.
    A lotta people out there hurtin' and it really scares me

    Love and mercy that's what you need tonight
    So, love and mercy to you and your friends tonight

    I was standin' in a bar and watchin' all the people there
    Oh the lonliness in this world well it's just not fair

    Oooooo-ooooooo-ooooooo
    Oooooo-ooooooo-ooooooo-ooooooo-ooooooo
    Ahhhhh-ahhhhhh-ahhhhhh-ohhhhhh-ohhhhhh

    Hey love and mercy that's what you need tonight
    So, love and mercy to you and your friends tonight

    Love and mercy that's what you need tonight