Girl Interrupted: Susanna Kaysen’s Mental Illness
The film, Girl, Interrupted, is based on the life and memoir of Susanna Kaysen. During the late 1960’s Susanna Kaysen, attempted suicide and checked herself into a mental health hospital for two years. This movie adaptation weaves together the intricacies of Susanna’s personal life, the pressures of a changing society and the unexpected friendships she formed while committed to the hospital. In the film, directed by James Mangold, Susana is played by Winnona Ryder. The movie is made up of small vignettes of Susanna’s life. Susana is from a well-off family, but considers herself an outsider and …show more content…
Her impulsivity is seen in both her promiscuity and substance abuse in the movie. Susanna has an affair with one of her high school teachers. She also kisses one of the male attendants in the hospital, which is clearly against the rules. These risky sexual acts are a component to her disorder. These reckless decisions with her promiscuity and substance use are seen as one of the symptoms of her disorder. Another symptom is her frequent feelings of intense anger. Susanna tends to overreact to situations and become overly angry when things upset her. She frequently lashes out at inappropriate times, especially with the professionals in the hospital. When the therapists and staff try to help her, she usually becomes rude and angry and denies any form of help.
Another one of Susanna’s symptoms is her suicidal tendencies. Susanna is seen talking intensely about death and having suicidal thoughts with her boyfriend. In the opening scene of the movie, Susanna has attempted suicide by overdosing on aspirin and alcohol. She also has bruises from pounding her wrists. However, throughout the movie she is in denial of her suicide attempt and when asked about it claims she did not try to kill herself and “just had a headache.” Her denial of her suicidal tendencies is also considered a symptom of her
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysGet Access
Because of her suicidal actions she was checked into a psychiatric hospital where she meets others who are also suffering. Through this experience she comes out with a changed perspective on life, her identity is shaped as she realises she doesn't want to end up like the people in the asylum. Susanna narrates “But I know what it's like to want to die. How it hurts to smile. How you try to fit in but you can't.” Girl interrupted connects with Sucker punch as both main characters want to make the effort to make their situation better. Susanna wants to change and be able to leave the hospital while Babydoll wants to escape her personas realities and get back to living her real life reality. Both characters strife to rebel against the hand society dealt them. By wanting and needing to get better and improve their situations, the characters are learning to shape their identity into something they can be proud of and live with for the rest of their lives, which is something that happens to Liesel and Jack in the Book Thief and
The film Girl, Interrupted focused on an eighteen year old girl by the name Susanna that was admitted into a private mental hospital after being accused of a suicidal attempt. The movie follows Susanna on her journey in the institution as she encounters women with different admittance stories. The one who intrigues Susanna the most is Lisa. Lisa is thought to be a sociopath with the way she manipulates those around her to get her way. She is constantly in and out of the institution causing those around to fear, yet admire her. My main focus will be on Lisa and although it was not specified in the film just how old she is, she seemed to be around the same age group as Susanna. This means that, according to Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages, she is on stage five or six. Stage five happens during adolescence where ones primary task is their identity versus their own role in society whereas stage six happens in young adulthood and one faces intimacy versus isolation. The article incorporated gives more insight on how Erikson’s stages play hand in hand with one another and can potentially affect the mental state of someone if not successfully fulfilled. There is also a possibility that, with the ‘symptoms’ of a sociopath, Lisa could have had past problems during what Sigmund Freud considered the anal stage of her childhood.
In the short story “Girl”, by Jamaica Kincaid is told from the perspective of two different people. There is a bonding relationship that is happening between the two people in this short story. The mother seems to be the main character in this essay uses a very strict tone to her daughter. The daughter is being told about how to do things in her life the correct way. The daughter barely speaks during this essay, she is doing more analyzing than arguing with her mother. When the mother gives the daughter advise she was trying to give her words of wisdom. But, at the same time, some of the ideas the mother gave to her child was offensive like “slut”. The mother has different perspectives throughout this essay with a lot of different
The film “Girl, Interrupted” is a true story adapted from the original memoir by Susanna Kaysen. Set in the 1960s, it relates her experiences during her stay in a mental institution after being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder following a suicide attempt. Many films include characters with a mental illness; the actors who play these characters have the immense challenge of staying true to the illness they portray.
Psychological disorders are very real and present in many people we come in contact with daily, however, are very rarely talked about. Learning about these disorders can help us to understand others and ourselves better by telling us why we do and think the things we do. One effective way that we can observe and learn about psychological disorders is through movies. “Mommie Dearest” was directed by Frank Perry. It is centered around the actress Joan Crawford, who suffered from various psychological disorders. Joan’s daughter, Christina, wrote a book about her mother and her many problems and it was later turned into a movie. It is very effective to use movie analysis as a way of learning, especially in psychology, because it provides a great way to observe without distractions. When you’re looking at disorders, it’s difficult to find a person who has many of these disorders and will allow you to observe them. Psychological disorders can be split into two major groups, personality disorders and mood disorders. Personality disorders are patterns of traits that can get in the way of your social or work life and may interrupt the individual’s normal lifestyle. Mood disorders are inconsistent and unreliable changes in mood by the affected individual. (Rathus, 1998). With all of this being said, it brings me to my point that I will be talking about for the rest of this essay. Joan Crawford demonstrates the personality disorders of histrionic, narcissism, and OCPD. When it comes to mood disorders, Joan demonstrates bipolar disorder.
Girl, Interrupted provides an in-depth look into Susanna Kaysen’s experience of living with a mental illness and staying in a mental hospital. Twenty-five years after she leaves McLean she learns of her diagnosis of borderline personality disorder and discusses it in her memoir. Kaysen reads about her disorder from the DSM-III-R and views her diagnosis as:
Susana’s mental illness caused much distress in her life. At one point she had an episode of being frantic and kept repeating that she had no bones in her hand. During this time, she was taken to the emergency room because of her attempted suicide and the doctor noticed bruises on her wrist. In the ward, she completely went into a rage and was screaming at the nurse. These episodes are very common for
Helen has reported that she has mood swing and that she has suicidal ideation as well having feeling uncontrollable over her own body. She denies and audio or visual hallucinations. Helen is showing signs of bipolar disorder DSM 296.62.
She allows herself to believe all she is told. She also allows herself to believe that being treated as she is is going to make her better, when in fact it is only making her worse. Her being sent up in a room, like a penitentiary will add loneliness to her illness. Her being told not to write or not to go and see family and friends, again, adds to her loneliness. She is separated from society. Therefore, she feels as though she is alone in society. She gives into the fact that the male-dominated society would rather her alone, than be with lots of women and cause chaos. She gives into everything the world wants instead of listening to her inner self. She ignores herself, causing her to act out in madness. When one does not listen to one's inner self, he or she is then turning away from his or her conscience. It's like the "devil and angel" episode that has been seen in numerous cartoons. If the person listens to the little devil, it will end up being the wrong decision. It the person listens to the little angel, it will be the right decision. The narrator listens to almost neither. She allows what is happening to happen and does nothing but sit back. This would cause anger inside anyone.
Kathryn Merteuil, the primary antagonist in Cruel Intentions, is the master at manipulating both men and women. She is the most popular girl at her school and bases the entirety of her self-worth on her perception that everyone either wants her or wants to be her. In order to maintain her appearance, Kathryn binges and purges and has a heavy cocaine addiction. Although well liked and popular, Kathryn holds no stable relationships and is easily upset and irritated when things do not go her way. Although this film’s focus is not Kathryn’s mental health diagnosis, Kathryn’s actions and unstable emotions are arguably that of a patient with Borderline Personality Disorder.
A trait that stands out in the book is the symptom of bodily memories. In Melinda’s case, during a frog dissection in her science class, she remembers the opening up and even says, “She doesn’t say a word. She is already dead. A scream starts in my gut – I can feel the cut, smell the dirt, feel the leaves in my hair.” (81). One of the other symptoms that Melinda has is self-harm. The first time that this is shown in the book, Melinda says this, “I open up a paper clip and scratch it across the inside of my left wrist. Pitiful. If a suicide attempt is a cry for help, then what is this? A whimper, a peep?” (87). Melinda also has a hard time talking to her parents about the rape to which she says, “How can I talk to them about that night? How can I start?” (72). Some victims recover from such a traumatic experience, while others don’t and live a lifetime of depression and must undergo intense therapy. In Melinda’s case, she finds redemption by talking to her parents and the guidance counselor, and putting her faith into her teachers, friends, and her art project at school. Because rape can affect anybody anywhere, everyone should be aware of the circumstances, and how to deal with it.
Looking at the symptoms such as anxiety attacks, overeating, fear of accomplishment, fear of abandonment, and so forth—can be interpreted as outward manifestations of unconscious conflicts that have their origins in childhood experiences and defensive reaction to these experiences that are necessary to her as a child.
In the first year, Susanna meets all the girls in the ward and tries to get treated for her symptoms. There are a lot of girls that Susanna mentions. The first girl she mentions about is Polly. Polly had sent herself on fire, and burned brutally. She has never once complained in the hospital, but she always listened to the other patients. The next girl is Lisa she is a sociopath. Lisa is always trying to escape the hospital. Daisy was a different girl; she had a thing for roasted chicken and laxatives. “Daisy was a seasonal even”, she came in during thanksgiving and stayed until Christmas, and also sometimes come on her birthday in May. On the other hand there was something peculiar about
When Susannah told her mother, Rhona, that she self-diagnosed herself to be manic-depressive, both her mother and brother, James, immediately rejected the possibility. During Rhona and James’s phone call, James mention Susannah was very capable of handling stress. He stated, “That’s just not Susannah” and “Bipolar doesn’t make any sense to me” (p.53). The pattern of rejecting mental illness as a possible outcome seems to be a common response throughout the book. When Susannah confessed to her
Tanya’s aunt, who she lives with stated that she Tanya has a history past history of bipolar and refuses to take medication. She stated that Tanya has a history of masturbation, bizarre behaviors such as touching her own feces, screaming when no one else is around, and refusing to bathe for the past