“I don’t care if the world knows what my secrets are, …so what”
Mary Lambert is a singer and songwriter, known for discussing childhood traumas, sexual abuse, body image, bipolar disorder, and her sexuality within her art (Wikipedia, 2016). She began her career with spoken word poetry and is known today to be genuine and authentic to her experiences. Her performances also foster a safe space where her guest often experience a catharsis and are encouraged to express such emotions (Bennett-Smith, 2016). It is no surprise that her Instagram post does the same.
Mid-2014, Mary Lambert debuted her single Secrets which quickly gained popularity in pop music. She began her song with “I’ve got Bipolar Disorder” and continues the upbeat and catchy tune by revealing secrets about her family and herself. Mary uses her song to empower people of all shapes, sizes, and age by sending a message that her secrets do not define who she is as a person; she will lives her life in the pursuit of happiness, despite what the media and pop-culture have to say about mental illness.
Two years later, Mary still feels the “responsibility to destigmatize mental illness” (Holmes, 2016) and conveys that message through Instagram, one of the major social media portals (Statista, 2016). Mary continues to strengthen stop the stigma efforts by posting true facts and brightening up the atmosphere around mental illness in society. Mary wants to “remind the world that people with mental disorders CAN function and live healthy lives” (Holmes, 2016). Her word choice of “remind” drives us to question what we know about mental illness. The truth is often that we know very little. She reproaches society because of the lack of correct knowledge and uses the word “CAN” in capital letters in order to emphasize the negative stigmas and attitudes attached to mental illnesses.
Mary’s openness and vulnerability “[allows] people to see the whole picture” (Rodriguez, 2016) and to understand her coping mechanisms. Through Mary’s 1am Instagram post, we were invited into her world and able to see how her partner is an impactful part of her mental illness management. Through compassion and affection, as well as enjoying TV shows, Mary’s mechanisms help her shorten a bipolar episode. Bipolar episodes can be described as manic, which are periods of extremely energized behavior, or as depressive, which are periods of being distraught or hopeless (NIH, 2016). These episodes range in severity and often are a combination of the two types (NIH, 2016).
Mary touches upon her medication and how it helps decrease the intensity and duration of her episodes. Her level of transparency comforts her followers who find similarities in their experiences and thus feel less alone in their struggles. Thousands of individuals shared clips of their responses to Mary’s post; one instagrammer, in particular, stated: “this makes me feel like I’m not alone” (Rodriguez, 2016). This indicates the massive amount of people Mary touched, educated, or motivated.
Mary’s post ends with the message that mental illnesses do not hinder a person’s ability to live their life and certainly does not define who that person is.
Bennett-Smith, M (2016, February 2). Mary Lambert, Singer Featured On Macklemore’s ‘Same Love,’ Talks Songwriting, Lesbians, Vulnerability. The Huffington Post. Retrieved September 29, 2016. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/18/mary-lambert-same-love-songwriting-vulnerability_n_3295095.html
Holmes, L (2016, June 2). Mary Lambert Gets Real About Living With Bipolar Disorder. The Huffington Post. Retrieved September 20, 2016. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mary-lambert-bipolar-disorder_us_57504cdfe4b0ed593f136e36
National Institute of Health (2016, April). Bipolar Disorder. National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved September 20, 2016. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder/index.shtml
Rodriguez, M (2016, May 31). Singer Mary Lambert Talks About Life With Bipolar Disorder on Instagram. Mic, Retrieved September 20, 2016. https://mic.com/articles/144808/singer-mary-lambert-talks-about-life-with-bipolar-disorder-on-instagram#.blbco28na
Statista (2016). Global social media ranking 2016 Statistic. (n.d.). Retrieved September 20, 2016. https://www.statista.com/statistics/272014/global-social-networks-ranked-by-number-of-users/
Mary Lambert (singer). (2016, September 18). Retrieved September 29, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Lambert_(singer)#cite_note-whylambertwrotesamelove-40
marylambertsing. (2016, September 2). My father, kite string… [Instagram post]. Retrieved from https://www.instagram.com/p/BJ209Pkgnvh/?taken-by=marylambertsing&hl=en