Abnormal Psychology Film Project-Girl Interrupted

Film Project-Girl Interrupted (Borderline Personality disorder) Borderline Personality disorder-a Personality disorder, which is under the large umbrella of Metal disorders. According to medicine. net, BPD is a serious mental illness characterized by pervasive instability in moods, interpersonal relationships, self-image, and behavior. This instability often disrupts family and work life, long-term planning, and the individual’s sense of self-identity. However, according to Susanna Kaysen, doesn’t everyone go have some of these symptoms every once in a while? Everyone experiences mood swings, family, and work life issues.
Everyone experiences job changes, or even change in their self. Why then would these symptoms mean that someone has a mental illness? This was Susanna Kaysen’s argument throughout her memoir “Girl interrupted”. In this paper, I will provide a summary of the movie “Girl interrupted”, Identify BPD and its causes and symptoms, as well as provide the lasts findings about the disorder. Girl interrupted was primarily based on the two years that Susanna Kaysen spent at McLean Psychiatric hospital. After being referred to a family friend who was a doctor, Susanna was told that she needed to seek help.
She was strongly urged to “Take a rest” at McLean Hospital after attempting to commit suicide. Along with many promiscuous relations with men, and self harm, her family grew concerned. However, Susanna did not think that she had an issue. Reluctant to believe that she has an illness, she still checked herself into the hospital where most of the movie takes place. Upon being admitted into the hospital, Susanna was given drugs throughout the day consisting of laxatives, sleeping pills, etc. At first, she denied them, and was still forced to take them. She eventually went to not taking them at all.

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After being introduced to Lisa Rowe, one of the main characters, she learned how to “tongue” her medication. This meant that the nurses would stand around the client to ensure that they swallowed their medication, when in fact they were just hiding it beneath their tongue, and making gestures as though they were taking them. Practicing “Tonguing” as a method to not take their medication prolonged Susanna’s stay at McLean. In the movie “Girl interrupted”, Susanna grew very fond of Lisa Rowe, who was client at the hospital, placed their due to her being diagnosed as a Sociopath. Rowe had a way of controlling the other women in the facility to point where they were scared, intimidated, and easily persuaded by her. Susanna was no different upon entering the facility. Susanna eventually found herself under Rowe’s spell. Rowe’s character, was very heartless, and seemed to take pleasure in her abilities to control the women, as well as breaking the rules at McLean hospital. Due to her behavior, the women were often intrigued by her. This type of behavior from Rowe as well as witnessing how cold hearted she was once Daisy committed suicide caused Susanna to realized that she could not stand up to Rowe, and she did not like that.
I believe that at this point is when Susanna started to build on her esteem as who she was. She realized that she did not like what Lisa did, and that she did not want to continue to play accomplice to her any longer. I believe that Susanna started to form an opinion as far as what she likes and what she did not like and she did something about it. Previously, she was not able to do that. Upon returning back to McLean, is when Susanna’s behavior started to change. She no longer “tongued” her medication. She started to take them, she started to see Doctor Vick more often, and she began to heal from her disorder.
Throughout her healing, Rowe was admitted back into the facility, and underwent extreme care for her conditions. This was habitual for Rowe at this point. She thrived off of constantly turning things upside down where ever she went. It almost seemed that as Rowe was digressing more and more into her illness, Susanna was healing more and more. Most of the women there seemed to be getting better, but was constantly taken a step back by the behavior and influence of Rowe. However, I’d like to believe that it was Susanna who truly helped to heal many of the women that were in that facility, including Rowe.
Upon her last night at McLean facility, after taking a sleeping pill to drown out the noise and sleep peacefully, Susanna noticed her cat Ruby was not in her room. She followed the noises leading to the downstairs tunnel that the girls would go to at night, to find Rowe, Georgina, and Polly, reading aloud Susanna’s Journal. The journal included Susanna’s truthful thoughts of the women at the facility. Rowe read these thoughts aloud to try to stir malice in the hearts of those that she was reading aloud about. After reading it, Susanna began to run, and the ladies chased her.
After no other place to run to, Susanna finally broke down and told Rowe how she really felt about her. This manifestation, I believe, led to the healing of not only Rowe, but of Georgina, Polly, and Susanna. Borderline personality Disorder contains a large array of symptoms. However, the most common symptoms according to WEBMD. com are having patterns of difficult relationships caused by alternating between extremes of intense admiration and hatred of others. Having an unstable self-image or be unsure of his or her own identity.
Act impulsively in ways that are self-damaging, such as extravagant spending, frequent and unprotected sex with many partners, substance abuse, binge eating, or reckless driving. Having recurring suicidal thoughts, make repeated suicide attempts, or cause self-injury through mutilation, such as cutting or burning himself or herself. The last most common symptom is to have frequent emotional overreactions or intense mood swings, including feeling depressed, irritable, or anxious. These mood swings usually only last a few hours at a time. In rare cases, they may last a day or two.
Susanna demonstrated at least two of these symptoms in the movie being that she attempted suicide at least once, as well having a lot of casual or promiscuous sexual relations. These both contribute to struggling with self identity, or having a low self esteem. Susanna felt that she was not socially accepted in her society, or that she was considered out of the norm, and because of this she lashed out in these types of behaviors. It is said that Borderline personality disorder may begin to onset in the teenage years; however, they tend to not diagnose someone accordingly until they are 18 years old and older.
Due to the ever changing personalities in adolescents, they feel that it is more valid to wait for a child to stop going through these biological changes before they diagnose them symptoms that cannot be triggered biologically but more so neurologically. Studies show that although low self esteem, and not feeling accepted are symptoms of BPD, the cause for it are complex. Causes of BPD can be genetic, biological, or environmental. BPD can also be caused by traumatic events, child abuse, or simply by changing events happening in young adulthood.
Although, the movie “Girl interrupted” was based on Susanna’s time spent in McLean in the late 60’s, there are late findings concerning the disorder Borderline personality disorder that suggest that this can be more of biological and neurological disorder than anything else. It is appearing that brain functions, or the lack thereof, are the main reasons for this disorder. “NIMH-funded neuroscience research is revealing brain mechanisms underlying the impulsivity, mood instability, aggression, anger, and negative emotion seen in BPD.
Studies suggest that people predisposed to impulsive aggression have impaired regulation of the neural circuits that modulate emotion. The amygdale, a small almond-shaped structure deep inside the brain, is an important component of the circuit that regulates negative emotion. In response to signals from other brain centers indicating a perceived threat, it marshals fear and arousal. This might be more pronounced under the influence of drugs like alcohol, or stress. Areas in the front of the brain (pre-frontal area) act to dampen the activity of this circuit.
Recent brain imaging studies show that individual differences in the ability to activate regions of the prefrontal cerebral cortex thought to be involved in inhibitory activity predict the ability to suppress negative emotion. ” Researchers suggest that there are drugs that can counteract the buildup of these fluids in the brain in the following: “Serotonin, nor epinephrine and acetylcholine are among the chemical messengers in these circuits that play a role in the regulation of emotions, including sadness, anger, anxiety, and irritability. Drugs that enhance brain serotonin function may improve emotional symptoms in BPD.
Likewise, mood-stabilizing drugs that are known to enhance the activity of GABA, the brain’s major inhibitory neurotransmitter, may help people who experience BPD-like mood swings. ” What I find interesting about this disorder as well as many mental disorders is that a lot of them are controlled or not, by neurotransmitters, fluids, and just everyday functions of the brain. The brain is such a powerful body organ that it can control you mentally, which can very well lead to controlling you physically as well. In conclusion, this project, through film, shined a light on many mental disorders in one.
Many of these disorders are illnesses that I cannot help but agree with Susanna when she asks if they really are illnesses. I can’t help but question if one illness is truly more extreme then the next, when many of them contain a lot of the same symptoms. Finally, looking at the character of Rowe form the beginning, she initially came off as one on the sanest people there. Although, she always went against the rules, that mainly came off as jolly good fun to the other women in the facility, making her the most likeable. However, Rowe didn’t not truly realize her illness until she was called out by one of her peers.
It truly makes me wonder if the magnification of our symptoms in society as not being the norm is what truly makes us then go crazy. Otherwise, we would all be secure in the lunatics that we are. There are many sociopaths, walking this earth today that are highly regarded. According to Wikipedia, Princess Diana was considered to have BPD, but was one of the most beloved people in the world. This project gave a full descriptive of how someone who has Borderline personality disorder behaves through observing the movie “Girl interrupted”. I also paired examples from the movie as well as research to identify the symptoms, and cause of BPD.
Finally, I provided some latest findings on the disorder. Although there is still no set cause of the disorder, psychological and psychiatric help, alongside medications is still strongly encouraged the disease. However, with this specific disorder, could it just be someone liking them self for who they are regardless of what they could have gone through in life? References: citations from 11Davidson RJ, Putnam KM, Larson CL. Dysfunction in the neural circuitry of emotion regulation – a possible prelude to violence. Science, 2000; 289(5479): 591-4. Wikipedia. com Webmd. com NIMH. com

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