I am a big fan of documentaries. I know they are not everyone’s “cup of tea,” but I enjoy them. I think it’s an entertaining medium to learn about different things, places and people.
I recently watched a documentary called God Knows Where I Am. It’s the sad tale of a woman named Linda Bishop and her demise due to mental illness.
According to the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences a form of mental illness in a given year.
Mental illness can take many forms, from phobias, anxiety, OCD and depression – to name a few.
Linda Bishop was a part of those statistics.
Linda Bishop didn’t show signs of a mental illness growing up. She was a pretty, independent, outgoing and very smart young lady. She led, for the most part, an idyllic life. She did have some ups and downs like most people (marriage, divorce…) but she never exhibited signs that something was just not “right” until later in life.
Linda Bishop was found dead in an abandoned farm house that she “squatted” in for the last few months of her life. Found next to her decaying remains were two notebooks that she wrote in daily that recounted her last few months alive.
Inside the notebooks investigators got a glimpse into the mind of this mysterious woman. Her journals were filled with tales of all the apples she found on the property, and things she discovered about the previous homeowners based on photo albums and other mementos she found.
God Knows Where I Am starts off with the death of Linda Bishop and works it’s way backwards to find out how she got from a remarkable young woman to a homeless person squatting on an abandoned farm with no heat, electricity or running water.
Linda’s life is re-told by the people who knew her the best – her daughter, sister, friends and other acquaintances. Their stories are brought to life with old home movies and photographs of Linda.
Viewers quickly learn that somewhere along the way Linda developed mental illness, from paranoia (she was afraid the Chinese Mafia was after her) to schizophrenia.
Linda was off and on medication over the years to treat her illnesses but towards the end she opted not to take them anymore. She was also institutionalized for her mental illness, but was released from the hospital without notifying her family. That seriously mistake lent it’s self to her death. Had her family known she was going to be released they could have made arrangements for her to find housing. Instead Linda was left to fend for herself with no money, no job and no place to live.
God Knows Where I Am is a deeply moving story about one woman and her struggles with mental illness. Linda’s story – although not typical – is similar to what thousands of others are going through right now in our country.
Here is the film’s trailer for your enjoyment.
I found the cinematography in this documentary really highlighted Linda’s story. The film was beautifully shot. The images around the farm house where her body was found only heighten your sense of how alone Linda must have felt in her last few weeks of life.
This is an interesting film. It might not be for everyone, but if you are a fan of documentaries, or know someone who deals with an mental illness, you’ll appreciate this film.
God Knows Where I Am opened this past Friday (March 31, 2017) at Lincoln Plaza in New York City. Th film will be opening on April 7, 2017 at Laemmle’s Monica Film Center in Los Angeles, followed by a national roll-out. Look for God Knows Where I Am at select theaters across the country.
Do you or someone you know suffer from mental illness?
*I received a free screener copy to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.