An Open Letter to Maria Bamford

Dear Maria Bamford,

I need to thank you for your honesty about your mental health issues in your comedy and in your interviews. When I heard you say the words “Type two Bipolar” out loud on your latest comedy special, it felt like a current of electricity ran through me. Someone I respect (someone who is hilarious and smart and amazing and I could go on forever) had the very same disorder that was currently making my life a living hell. She was LAUGHING about it. And I LAUGHED TOO.

The first time a doctor suggested I might have bipolar II (roman numerals make it classier, don’t you think?), she enthusiastically assured me that everything was going to be okay… because Catherine Zeta-Jones also suffers from this disorder, and she’s beautiful and famous! I really liked Catherine Z-J in Zorro and High Fidelity, so I found this information somewhat comforting. After a few more visits to a few different doctors, I discovered that Catherine Z-J is a popular way to cushion the blow of the diagnosis. She is the patron saint of bipolar II. On top of that, she has wonderful hair and a cool accent… and is completely unrelatable.

A few years later, I began exploring the comedy world. I had been told to listen to your comedy by pretty much every comedy fan I knew, but my memory is terrible and I kept forgetting your name. It wasn’t until I was “going through a rough patch” (a.k.a. spending all my time crying under my covers) that a friend sent me your interview on Nerdist with Chris Hardwick. Your story was so relatable that I actually stopped crying (it’s all about baby steps). That interview convinced me to go back on medication, and also made me a fan for life.

Your comedy is ridiculously funny, as I’m sure you know, but it’s your honesty that has kept me from completely losing my mind while I’m being tossed from medication to medication and doctor to doctor. Your interview on Girl on Guy with Aisha Tyler gave me the strength to admit what I thought were unspeakable symptoms to a psychiatrist. This holiday, I found myself in the emergency room, and I kept hearing your voice saying, “Strap a feedbag of microwave popcorn to your neck because it’s going to be a twelve hour wait at the ER.” And even though I didn’t have any popcorn, I found it comforting to know that you had done this and you survived. Not only did you survive, you are out there today working successfully on your craft. You took your horrible experiences and turned them into mind-blowing comedy. That gives me hope. And for someone who feels hopeless a lot of the time, a little hope goes a very long way. Thank you, Maria B, from the bottom of my heart.

Love,

Sarah

Posted: January 13th, 2014 | Author: