Spinning Out – Or the story of a bi-polar skater

♪ Everything I want ♪
♪ Comes at a cost ♪
♪ And I want ♪
♪ It all ♪

While I was watching this Netflix drama about a skater trying to overcome her previous trauma and trying to make it to the Olympics doing pair skating, all I could think of was “don’t stick your dick in crazy”.

I know, it’s an old Chinese saying 🙂 but then I started thinking – why were the women in the show acting so crazy? And who is sane, really?

The main plot revolves around the strong desire to succeed, to be the best. It tackles peer pressure and parental expectation – since most of the top skaters are only there because their parents pushed them so. It’s more frequent in the Asian culture – when the expectations are there since a young age, but Serena and Kat are both on the burner due to their mother failed youth and her desire to re-live her past success through her offspring.

I literally have no idea who I am or what I’m supposed to be doing anymore, but your destiny is still out there just waiting for you.
At least one of us deserves to be happy.

And it’s not just the kids who are suffering from the parental transgression – a side plot involving a Russian coach pretty much showcases what’s at stake. Success comes with a price – if you’re good, you can never let go and you have to work hard and you end up missing on other things in life like marriages, children, grand-children, old-age cruises and friends.

And when failure comes, the disappointment takes form of “what do I do now with my life as skating was the only thing I know how to do”

Okay, on a scale of one to ten, ten being like Carrie-level white girl rage, how off your rocker are you right now?
I’m fine. Really. I just… You know, I prayed to God every day of my entire life to be a great skater, and now I’m here.
Jenn, God isn’t Santa. That’s not how it works. You know, I used to pray every night for God to make me straight. Every night. And God never answered my prayers because I’m not supposed to be straight, and instead of praying for God to change me, I had to change the way I thought about God.

But what really attracted me about the show was the depiction of a bi-polar disorder and it got me “investigating it” as I don’t really know much about it other than people go through depression and then mania episodes – beautifully depicted in the show through a toothbrush-floor-scrubbing scene.

Lithium is supposed to help but all it does it equalises moods.

Lithium acts on a person’s central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Doctors don’t know exactly how lithium works to stabilize a person’s mood, but it is thought to help strengthen nerve cell connections in brain regions that are involved in regulating mood, thinking and behavior.

One of the side-effects is that the person who is taking Lithium feels that their brain is muddled. They are often confused and drowsy and you can see why Kat’s mother often goes off her meds.

Lithium makes me feel like I’m… moving through water.

When she tells Kat about her concentration increase, about her energy levels spiking through her mania episodes, about her confidence increase – Kat decides to go off her meds and her skating improves tremendously due to her Mania kicking in.


I kinda felt like the show was appropriately named as “Spinning Out” could be followed with ” of control” as Kat descends into the dark areas of bi-polar.

Excuse me! How much is this stole? I want to get it for my skating coach who just had eye surgery, which is super intense, but it means she gets to see us at Sectionals, which is only, like, six days away! But me and my partner, we’re so good. We’re definitely gonna win!
And I don’t even need to take my medication anymore. I haven’t for, like, a month.
It’s made me a much better skater. Although my mom would freak out if she found out, but it’s fine as she’s really the crazy one, anyway.
How much is the stole?
Does this really toast four slices of bread at one time?
Believe it.
I need that, too.
You have such amazing things! Ha! Hey! Hi!
Is that a cigarette? Can I have it?


What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental health problem that mainly affects your mood. If you have bipolar disorder, you are likely to have times where you experience:

  • manic or hypomanic episodes (feeling high)
  • depressive episodes (feeling low)
  • potentially some psychotic symptoms during manic or depressed episodes

You might hear these different experiences referred to as mood states, and you can read more about them in our page on bipolar moods and symptoms.

Everyone has variations in their mood, but in bipolar disorder these changes can be very distressing and have a big impact on your life. You may feel that your high and low moods are extreme, and that swings in your mood are overwhelming.

Depending on the way you experience these mood states, and how severely they affect you, your doctor may diagnose you with a particular type of bipolar disorder.

“It’s an emotional amplifier: when my mood is high I feel far quicker, funnier, smarter and livelier than anyone; when my mood is low I take on the suffering of the whole world.”


Warning signs of mania or hypomania

Common changes that may be warning signs of mania or hypomania include when the person:

  • Sleeps less
  • Is more active or pursues more goals (has lots of energy)
  • Is more sociable
  • Is irritable and impatient
  • Talks much more than usual or speaks very fast
  • Can’t concentrate well or is easily distracted
  • Has increased self-confidence, self-importance or optimism
  • Has an elevated mood
  • Is agitated or restlessness
  • Thinks much more quickly or has racing thoughts

Other warning signs of hypomania or mania that have been reported include when the person:

  • Has lots more ideas and plans
  • Starts doing more risky activities
  • Has an increased sex drive
  • Drinks lots more alcohol
  • Has heightened senses (e.g. everything looks more colorful or scents are more intense)

Examples of more individual warning signs of mania or hypomania include when the person changes their hair color more often, wears more make up or more seductive clothing. These signs are more unusual. It can be useful to work out if the person behaves in certain distinct and noticeable ways before becoming hypomanic or manic.

spinningoutnetflix_80693892_462940577956302_8192550106673869109_n.jpgWarning signs of depression

The most common changes that may indicate warning signs of depression include when the person:

  • Is less interested in doing things that they usual enjoy
  • Is less interested in being with close friends
  • Is anxious or worries a lot
  • Has sleep problems
  • Is tearful or sad

I think the show captured pretty well the effects of bi-polar disorder on other people, the stigma that gets associated with the person who is suffering and how the medication can be good and bad for the person taking it.

It’s put a great accent on the importance of being forward about the issues with friends and family and having a great support network that can help when things go south.

All in all, great!

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