The Topic Of Mental Illness In Silver Linings Playbook

A silver lining is basically a metaphor that you use when you want to look for the bright side in a bad situation. The term originally came from the saying for every dark and gloomy cloud there is a silver lining. Silver Linings Playbook is an award-winning romantic comedy produced in 2016. This movie is about a former teacher, “Patrizio Solitano Jr,” who has been released from a mental institution. He was institutionalized due to his bipolar disorder. Pat Jr. is determined to get his life back on track and he is now searching for his silver lining. His first mania attack happened when he walked in on his wife and colleague having sex in the shower. He nearly beat this man to death. After Pat is released from Prison his friend Ronnie invites him over for dinner. At dinner, Pat meets Ronnie’s sister-in-law, Tiffany. Tiffany is fighting battles of her own. She has recently lost her husband and she is depressed. Tiffany and Pat have a connection, but he refuses to go anywhere with it because he is still madly in love with his ex-wife, Nikki. He will do anything to get her back. Pat is having a hard time dealing with the fact that Nikki does not want to speak with him, she even has a restraining order against him. He must go to therapy and take his medication (which he doesn’t because he says it makes him feel funny). Silver Lining Playbook did a great job with illustrating a character with bipolar disorder. They also did good with showing us how people with Bipolar disorders may struggle everyday trying to recover.

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Bipolar 1 disorder is a mental illness that involves at least one manic episode that has impaired social or occupational functioning; the person may not experience depression or psychotic symptoms. People who have this mental illness can live normal lives. NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness), says that bipolar disorders affect men and women equally, with about 2.6% of the U.S. population diagnosed with bipolar disorder and nearly 83% of cases are classified as severe.

There were many symptoms of bipolar disorder in Silver Linings Playbook. One of the first symptoms I noticed was delusions. Pat Jr. said himself that he had delusions. One of the delusions was when he called the police about a week before the incident (when he caught his wife and the history teacher having sex) and told them that his wife and the history teacher were plotting against him by embezzling money from the local high school and trying to blame it on him. This symptom makes people with bipolar disorder lose touch with reality. Also, the individual may fail to realize what is real and what is imaginary. The next symptom I saw was elevated mood. When Pat Jr. went on one of his runs, he ran all the way to his old school that he previously taught at. He saw one of his old bosses. He was overjoyed to see her, and he insisted on helping her open the door to the school and trying to talk to her about coming back to the school to teach, knowing that his ex-wife still worked there. Pat Jr. was very loud and obnoxious while trying to tell her that he is better now, he has come a long way, and things will differ. When individuals with bipolar disorder experience this symptom, the individual may feel highly energetic and hyperactive with abnormal behavior. Irritability is a symptom of Bipolar disorder. When Pat Jr. first got home from the mental institution he started reading a book, he finished the whole book in one day. He woke his parents up at four o clock in the morning to rant about how the book was stupid and it wasn’t a happy ending. He went on for like 30 minutes saying that the world is already sad as it is, and why can’t the book just have a happy ending. The next symptom I saw was sleep related problems. Pat Jr. was up until like five o clock in the morning doing things that you do in the middle of the day. When individuals have bipolar disorder, they may face sleep abnormalities such as the inability to fall asleep or oversleeping. Emotional outburst is a part of having bipolar disorders. When Pat Jr. went to therapy while he was signing in, he heard a song (this is the song that was playing when he caught his wife cheating.) Pat Jr. immediately told the desk associate to turn it off and asked her did his therapist put her up to this. He started throwing things and asking where the speaker was. Environmental factors can trigger emotional outburst. It is difficult to control them once they are triggered. Worthlessness is another symptom of bipolar disorders. Pat feels worthless when he goes too his friend’s house for dinner and has on a jersey. He knocks on the door and regrets coming so he turns around, but his friend catches him before he is long gone. People with bipolar disorders often feel worthless. Their conscience blows things out of proportion, causing them to feel guilty with low self-esteem and feeling of worthlessness. Mood swings is a symptom I saw a lot of in this movie. Pat Jr. had a big mood swing in the middle of the night when he could not find his weeding video. He went through his father’s office, where they keep all the videos. He saw plenty of eagle’s games videos, but not one video from his weeding. He got mad and loud. His mother tried to get him too calm down and that made him even madder. He was getting very aggressive and throwing things everywhere, his mother tried to stop him, and he accidently knocked her over. He apologized very quickly and keep saying he didn’t mean too. He woke the entire neighborhood up, and the police came. People that have bipolar disorders have mood swings that usually fluctuate between mania, or extremely “up” mood, and depressive, or extremely “down” mood. All of these are symptoms of bipolar disorders. Although this movie was a romantic comedy Pat Jr. had a rough time in this movie. On the other hand, Pat Jr. wasn’t the only one in this movie with a mental disorder.

There are many types of mental illnesses. People all over the world deal with them. Even if it’s not you personally, if someone close to you has one, you deal with it as well. Tiffany Maxwell is introduced in this movie as Ronnie’s, which is Pat Jr’s friend, sister-in-law. Tiffany is battling with depression and borderline personality disorder. Depression is a mood you’re in when you feel sad, worthlessness, and withdrawal from others. Borderline personality disorder is characterized by intense changes in mood, self-image, and interpersonal relationships. When tiffany gets depressed, she feels lonely and unloved and this causes her to chase after men. She will text random strangers and have booty calls. Tiffany is often in an irritable mood, and often appears to be lonely. She doesn’t want to participate in activities with her family, for example when she stormed out at dinner. Tiffany has trouble finding a job because she was fired from her last ones for sleeping with her coworkers. Pat Sr. is dealing with a mental illness, OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). OCD is a condition characterized by intrusive, repetitive anxiety-producing thoughts or a strong need to perform acts or dwell on thoughts to reduce anxiety. Pat Sr. is superstitious about the eagle’s games he watches. During the movie there was a scene where he keeps fixing the remote. If it was slanted it was a problem for him, it must be perfectly aligned. Pat Sr. was also obsessed with the eagles. He tried to use pat as good luck charm by making him watch every eagles game with him. Pat Sr. had some anger issues. He beats people up at the eagle’s games, and he has gambling problems. Moral of the story is Pat Jr. was not the only one the movie with a mental illness, and he also could have gotten his anger issues from his father, Pat Sr.

Treatments for bipolar disorders aim to eliminate symptoms to the greatest degree possible. Effective treatment often involves a combination of psychotherapy, mood stabilizing medications, and psychoeducation. Clients benefit from learning how their sleep and cardiac rhythm patterns influence mood fluctuations. There were three different types of therapy used in Silver linings playbooks. The first was exposure therapy. Pat Jr. is exposed to his wedding song which was playing when he caught his wife cheating with another teacher. He eventually learns not to overreact when he hears the song. The second type of therapy used was behavior therapy. While Pat Jr. practices for the dance competition he was learning how to become more of a dedicated and trustworthy partner, as he wishes to be for Nikki. The third was cognitive therapy. Pat Jr. envisioned his self as a new man. Pat strives to recreate himself and his image and think positively about himself in his effort to win back Nikki. Everything Pat Jr did in this movie was to win Nikki back until he finally realized that he was in love with Tiffany and Nikki was not coming back.

Silver linings playbook brings a taboo topic like mental illness to the forefront in a way that the audience will understand. It shows how having a mental illness such as bipolar could impact the individual as well as the family. On the other hand, this movie lacks seriousness because of its genre, romantic comedy. Despite this movie’s lack of seriousness, the writers of this movie did an incredible job. In the movie Pat Jr. said something that really stood out to me. “This is what I learned in the hospital. You have to do everything you can, you have to work your hardest, and if you do that, if you stay positive, you have a shot at a silver lining.” This just didn’t stand out to me because the movie was called Silver linings Playbook, but because I feel exactly where he is coming from. In life there are always going to be dark and gloomy bad days, but the rain doesn’t last always. If you try your hardest you have no choice but to succeed and be happy. That is your silver lining. Maria Robinson once said, “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”

16 December 2021

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