Review by LC Cragg
This moving story with themes of loss and isolation is driven by the diary of Linda Bishop, a woman ravaged by mental illness. This film’s very endearing and visually beautiful scenes documents the tragedies of her life, family and ultimately her death.
From Ms. Bishop’s initial diagnosis of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder with psychosis, we learn of her enduring love of family and nature all while strapped to the on/ off medication “roller coaster”.
Filmed in 2015, wonderfully narrated by Lori Singer, audiences come to understand the poorly knotted and often large holes in the alleged mental health care services net. The story moves flawlessly between family memories and the last days of Linda’s diary entries.
According to the film, “There are 26 million schizophrenics in the United States, half of which have no awareness of their condition.” Viewers will be emotionally haunted by Linda’s story. Terms like “rotting with rights on” and “blaming the illness versus blaming her” help us to empathize with her plight.
Inspired by the 23rd Psalm, Ms. Bishop’s illusion that someone or something will come and “save her” is a universal hope not only reserved to the mentally challenged. Her diary entries reveal the words, “Hoping. So much hoping, hoping too much,” come forth as a resonating theme. What had Linda hoped for? What had her family hoped for? And what does the current mental health care services system in our country hope for?
GOD KNOWS WHERE I AM is an emphatically touching story that needed to be told. Though suffering without medications, her diary entries were coherent and inspiring, as she communicated her unyielding faith in God.
Though the film’s pace was slow, the takeaway was immensely riveting: How devastating metal health can be to a person and their loved ones. No one can know another’s thoughts, fears and hopes. But this movie succeeds in explaining one woman’s journey and shows the last days of her life with compassion and dignity. I believe that the film makers of this documentary were hoping to champion those same values into today’s the mental health care system. One can only hope.