Mental Illness Depicted in a Film or Television Series – Assignment Instructions

Select a mental illness which has been depicted in a film or television series. Compare the presentation of this disorder with the clinical literature on its symptoms, causes, treatment and course of illness. Discuss how the media depiction of these aspects of the illness as well as the mental health delivery system influences and reflects contemporary attitudes toward mental illness in general and the specific disorder in particular. 5 scholarly sources

Bordeline Personality Disorder in Girl Interrupted

  • Contrast mental health and view of BPD in the movie opposed to current.
  • How are the current institutions and treatments of BPD? How was it before?
  • Critics of the movie in the psychological world (does the actress meet expectations in accuracy of symptoms?)

I talked to my professor and she said it would be good to compare Mclean Hospital before (how it was shown in the movie) and now (they have a special unit for the treatment of borderline personality disorder)
She also said to use this source because she knows the author.

Stone, Alan A. “Girl, interrupted.” Clinical Psychiatry News Aug. 2003

BPD definition in the movie:

“BPD is a condition 5x more common with a parent who has BPD. It is an instability of self-image, relationships and mood. It presents uncertainty about goals, impulsivity and activities that are self-damaging such as casual (promiscuous) sex. It presents social contrariness and a generally pessimistic attitude towards life.”

Noteworthy Quotes and Points of the Movie:

– Susanna sneaks out, changes pills with other patients, she has a destructive relationship with Lisa and is authority defiant until Lisa leaves. She seduces a nurse. She verbally attacks Dr. Val.
– She becomes very depressed without Lisa, at the end choosing to have a life instead of staying down in the dark with Lisa because she is already dead.

“Have you ever confused a dream with life?”
“Sometimes it is hard for me to stay in one place.”
“It would be less emotional for your parents not to take you to Claymoore themselves.”
“Once it is in your head, you become this strange new breed, a life form that loves to fantasize about its own demise.”

“I didn’t try to kill myself, I just tried to make the shit stop.”
“I am ambivalent.”
“I know what it’s like to want to die, how it hurts to smile, how you try to fit in but can’t, how you hurt yourself on the outside to try to kill the thing on the inside.”
“How the hell am I supposed to recover if I don’t even understand my disease?”
“My final diagnosis: A Recovered Borderline.”
“Crazy isn’t being
broken or swallowing dark secrets. It’s you or me amplified. If you ever told a lie and enjoyed it, if you ever wished you could be a child forever; they were not perfect but they were my friends and there isn’t a day my heart doesn’t find them.”

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