1 A: I watched the film Girl, Interrupted starring Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie. The film is based on a true story of a young woman with borderline personality disorder named Susana Kaysen. Following a suicide attempt, Susana admits herself into a psychiatric hospital with the encouragement of a mental health professional. Throughout the film, when Susana describes what she experiences psychologically, as well as flashbacks to her previous life in a detached and sulked tone –emphasizing the detachment that Susana feels from herself. Perhaps confronting the reality of her condition is too painful for Susana. Similar to a standard 1960’s mental hospital, patients are constrained to small, cage-like rooms and are treated nearly as prisoners, monitored every ten minutes. She continuously denies the credibility of the institution which entraps her. She resents by the idea of conformity and “sanity”. This is emphasized as she compares her own condition to Lisa, a seductive and violent sociopath whom she soon befriends. Through her stay, Susana gradually understands the structure of mental illnesses, develops social interactions and friendships he had never experienced before and is able to make sense of her condition. 1 B: Susanna displays signs of personality disorder and possible schizophrenia as she also hallucinates. Lisa is a powerful character who influences Susanna throughout the film that seems to be experiencing sociopathic tendencies. Daisy is another patient who
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Diagnosing an individual with a mental illness balances on a fine line between giving a life-long label and misdiagnosing. Mental illness is best viewed on a continuum allowing for a varying degree of severity. In the field, mental health professionals are faced with determining what signifies the appropriateness of diagnosing a mental illness. A professional’s judgment is impacted by their personal perceptions and observations, societies views and norms, and the patient’s history. The film, “How Mad Are You? A Search for Insanity” demonstrates the difficulties in distinguishing those who are mentally ill from those seen as healthy ( ). I will explore my reactions and thoughts regarding the participants’ experience as well as the mental health professionals. Additionally, I will share how this information is applicable to my future career in the field of social work.
Susanna Kayson is a character in the film Girl, interrupted that has borderline personality disorder (BPD) (Wick, Konrad, & Mangold, 1999). As Susanna Kayson meets 5 of the 9 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5 criteria, Susanna can be diagnosed with BPD. According to criteria 1, Susanna often restrains from stating her true feelings about a situation or a person to maintain relationships. Lisa, a resident of the psychiatric ward, would tease or humiliate Daisy, eventually leading her to commit suicide. Susanna knew that Lisa’s actions were inappropriate but she did not stand up for Daisy. This is an example of criteria 1 (Barlow, Durand, Stewart, & Lalumiere, 2015). One day when Susanna’s boyfriend Toby came to visit, they are caught in the middle of a sexual act and decide to escape to the grounds. Toby said he wanted to be with her, and she stated that she had no inclination to be with him. This is an example of criteria 2. Susanna tries to commit suicide by consuming a bottle of aspirin with a bottle of vodka, and later also stated that she understands what it feels like to not want to be alive. This is an example of criteria 5. When the wife of a man who Susanna had an affair with confronts her, she begins to laugh. This is an example of criteria 6. Lastly, Susanna’s inability to understand her disorder causes her to have bouts of intense anger, which satisfies criteria 8 (Barlow et al., 2015).
In the book Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen, Susanna Kaysen was only 18 years old when she agreed to enter a medium security psychiatric facility in Boston, McLean hospital in April 1967, after a failed suicide attempt. She insisted that her over dose on aspirin was not a suicide attempt, but after a 20 minute interview the doctor decided she needed to be admitted to a hospital. During her prolonged two-year stay at the hospital Kaysen describes the issues that most of the patients in her ward have to deal with and how they all differently deal with the amount of time they must stay in the hospital for. While in the hospital Kaysen experienced a case of depersonalization where she tried to pull the skin of her hands to see if there were bones underneath, after a failed escape attempt. Soon, after going to therapy and analysis she was labeled as having recovered from borderline personality disorder. After her release she realizes that McLean Hospital provided patients with more freedom than the outside world, by being free responsibility of parental pressure, free from school and job responsibilities, and being free from the “social norms” that society comes up with. Ultimately, being in captivity gave the patients more freedom then in society and created a safe environment in which patients wanted to stay in.
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.
The film’s key subject throughout the film was how all of the patients had led sane lives up until the point in which they suffered a mental health crisis. After their crises, they were not able to get out of the system. Their cries, pleas, and screams were not always heard. Many were simply treated with medication forcing them to be permanently institutionalized. I believe that the film’s overall purpose was to increase awareness on the difficulties of treating mental illnesses, not just for the patients, but also for everyone involved. It shows the chaos of the emergency room as patient, physicians, and psychiatrists struggle with mental illness.
After this episode a professor convinced her to go to the hospital and reluctantly she complied. This hospital did not take kindly to her psychosis and restrained her numerous times with straps. She had never been treated this way before and was confused and frightened. She later said for a hospital for the mentally ill it had been a brutal experience (157). She then was moved to a different hospital, memorial Unit 10 (MU10) where she was first diagnosed with “Schizophrenia with acute exacerbation” (167). Though she had finally gotten a diagnosis for her broken brain it seemed more like a death sentence than a diagnosis. She continued on with life in depression, psychosis, and denial.
The five participants with no history of mental illness risked being labeled with characteristics of a mental health diagnosis. Two participants received misdiagnoses of a mental illness they did not embody. In the film, Vicky responded to the misdiagnosis by sharing that she felt confident in her mental health ( ). However, the misdiagnosis of an individual who does not have the same confidence as Vicky could have detrimental effects. As a future social worker, I feel it is important to recognize that Vicky’s response and feelings towards the misdiagnosis is likely unusual. Mental health professionals must exercise caution when preforming diagnosis, since it has a profound impact on an individual’s
The short documentary Crooked Beauty, directed by Ken Paul Rosenthal, narrates Jacks Ashley McNamara’s experience in a psychiatric ward and how her time in the facility shapes her new appreciation for her mental illness. One controversial issue has been trying to identify the true cause of mental illness. On the one hand, most people may think mental illness is simply a biological disorder that can be cured with a combination of medication and doctors demanding appropriate behavior until it sticks in the patient’s mind. On the other, McNamara contends that mental illness is a misconception with a patient’s oversensitivity, where it is harder for the patient to ignore certain events than “normal” people, and their doctor’s textbook knowledge. In McNamara’s mental institution, the psychiatrists simply trap her in a padded room and prescribe many different pills to suppress her mental illness instead of embracing her differences or showing her how to use those differences to her advantage. In attempt to prevent those who are mentally ill from feeling the same anger and frustration she felt, she demands a change in the line psychiatric treatment when she says:
In her first journal entry Kaysen tells how the decision for her to go to McLean Hospital was based on a twenty minute conversation with a psychiatrist. Kaysen had been picking at her acne and been acting out in ways which would not be considered unusual for teens today, but at the time it was a sufficient excuse for commitment to an institution. In an interview, Kaysen further develops the idea that her illness was influenced by outside factors saying, “ [Her] retrospective account of her confinement at McLean Hospital makes a cultural intervention that challenges the notion that mental illness is rooted solely in the individual.” (Kaysan, 18). Being surrounded by girls with serious illnesses forced Kaysen to assume the role of a girl with a real mental illness. Society forced her to find something wrong with herself in an attempt to fit in. Kaysen questions what mental illness truly is. She asks,“Was everybody seeing this stuff and acting as though they weren't? Was insanity just a matter of dropping the act?” (Kaysen 41). Because Kaysen was labeled as being mentally ill although she was not, it became hard for her to tell what truly pronounced someone as mentally ill. Was everyone slightly crazy or were just some better at hiding it then others? Living in such an uptight society, people had no choice but to put on an act of perfection. When someone began to “drop the
In Ken Kesey’s novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and the film Girl, Interrupted directed by James Mangold, the authors look at American psychiatric institutions of the 1960s and explore the idea that hospitals act as a microcosm for society, where characters are used as symbols to represent aspects of society. The settings represent conformity and rebellion, prejudice against minorities and authority figures ruling absolutely. Both authors use stylistic features to position the audience to respond to ideas common in both texts.
exaggerating symptoms and stereotyping individuals with a mental disorder. For example, Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film Psycho, in which man with schizophrenia murders guests in a hotel, influences viewers to believe that all individuals suffering from schizophrenia are dangerous. However, that is rarely the case (Polatis, 2014). Therefore, it is refreshing to find a movie that accurately portrays the true personality of and individual living with a mental illness. The movie Silver Linings Playbook chronicles the experiences of Pat Solitano, a man suffering from undiagnosed bipolar disorder who was recently released from a psychiatric facility. Although this paper focuses on Pat’s experiences, it is important to note that the film not only takes on the task of portraying bipolar disorder, but also mental illness in general with other major characters suffering from a mixture of psychological or personality disorders. The film opens with Pat at Karel Psychiatric Facility in Baltimore, Maryland. We later learn that Pat was institutionalized for nearly beating to death the man with whom he caught his wife Nikki cheating on him. The rest of the film details
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
“Both the book and the movie are insightful views into societal problems such as stereotypes about the people who have mental disorders. But the film is largely out of date in terms of depicting hospital staff as manipulative or evil. From what I saw when I worked in a similar institution, mental hospitals are a calm, healing environments—as they should be” (Wind Goodfriend, 2012).
It is hard for someone to come out to others that either they or a family member has a mental illness to others. In the film Call Me Crazy: A Five Film, there are five different characters who either have a mental illness or they are a family member who is affected by it. The overall story follows a young woman named Lucy who is a law school dropout struggling with schizophrenia. Throughout the episodes, Lucy comes home from a psychiatric facility, conflicts with her resenting sister, and eventually defends a woman in court who is struggling from post-traumatic stress disorder. The directors of the film created these five episodes with these characters because they all had trouble trying to express to others about their situation and that it is okay to reach out for help. The cast and creators of Call Me Crazy portrayed the hardships of dealing with a mental illness by expressing the signs of their disorder (logos), using director Bryce Dallas Howard’s past experience with mental illness (ethos), and displaying the inner and outer conflicts between those who are affected (pathos).
Understanding mental illness for the average person can be challenge or even unattainable. Unknown aspects from each individual illness grasps differing urges that are unrelated to the majority of people. The film industry, however, is used as a productive machine of creating empathetic relationships between its audience and the people being portray in the film. A combination of the film industry and the implementation of characters struggling with mental illness delivers a provoking message to an audience of people willing to learn the situations of all people. The movie A Beautiful Mind manages to fulfill the dramatic effects of a film and the realities within an individual suffering through mental illness.