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Borderline Personality Disorder

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Brief Synopsis

In the late 1960's and even in today's society, teenage girls who begin to enter adulthood, sometimes view their lives differently from where they are at in that particular moment. In the film by James Mangold, Girl, Interrupted, is based on a true story about an eighteen year old girl named Susanna Kaysen. Susanna's dream was to one day become a writer. That was put on hold when one day she was rushed to the hospital for consuming a bottle of aspirin and chasing it down with a bottle of vodka. This was clearly seen as a suicide attempt by doctors; however, Susanna denied it. Her reasons were simply to shake off a horrible headache. Susanna did not continue on to college once she graduated from high school and she also had an affair with one of her parents' friend's husband. Her father made arrangements to have Susanna speak with a very close colleague/psychiatrist by the name of Dr. Phillip Crumble, who is a retiree, but counselled Susanna as a favour to the family. During her session with Dr. Crumble, Susanna described herself as being sad "not quite a ball of joy", when asked if she was depressed. She continued to mention that she sees things and that it's hard for her to stay in one place, leading the doctor to think that she may be delusional. Dr. Crumble was successful in his counselling session by being able to forcefully advocate her committal to Claymoore, a private Residential Psychiatric Hospital, where he recommends she would be able to get some needed rest. When signing herself into the mental institution with Dr. Crumble's recommendation, Susanna realized in her documents that it also indicated that she was depressed and has attempted suicide. After several counselling sessions performed by Dr. Sonia Wick and Dr. Melvin Potts, they realized Susanna's failed attempt at suicide was not meant to kill her; however, Susanna was diagnosed to have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), that could possibly be genetics and five times more with one borderline parent. Also, Psychoneurotic depressive reaction and Undifferentiated Schizophrenia were other notable disorders. Her file also included that Susanna is highly intelligent, yet in denial of her condition. She has personality pattern disturbance, is resistant and mixed type. In the movie, the character Susanna described BPD as: "an instability of self image relationships and moods, uncertainty about goals, impulsive in activities that are self damaging such as casual sex. Social contrariness and a generally pessimistic attitude are often observed." (James Mangold) Once Susanna read her file, she agreed with everything that Dr. Potts wrote.

The head nurse, Valerie Owens, is the first to greet Susanna when she arrives. She gives Susanna a tour of the ward. Susanna is introduced to many other girls in the ward. Some of the ones that she gets to know more closely is her roommate Georgina. Her condition is one who is fragile, depressive and a pathological liar. Polly, at the age of ten was burned by her own mother and is terrified of fires; Daisy is addicted to laxatives, won't eat in front of others and is sexually abused by her father; Lisa entertains Susanna with frequent attempts to escape and is a diagnosed as a sociopath; Cynthia has severe depressive disorder who undergoes months of shock therapy and finally Alice, who suffers from mental breakdowns. At times, Susanna is puzzled as to why she's in such a place and refers to all others as being "crazy". Although Susanna felt this way about others, she was also in denial of her own condition and was not able to understand what was wrong because Lisa distracted her.

Description of the disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder "is characterized by a pervasive pattern of instability in affect regulation, impulse control, interpersonal relationships, and self-image.



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