An Exploration Of Borderline Personality Disorder In “Girl, Interrupted”

947 words - 4 pages

The movie Girl, Interrupted follows the story of fictional Suzanna Kaysen who voluntarily institutionalizes herself to a mental hospital whereby she is diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). The central focus of this paper will explore the realities and the stereotypes as presented in the movie regarding Borderline Personality Disorder.
Borderline Personality Disorder manifestation includes irrational moods and behaviors (What is Borderline Personality, n.d.). Generally, people who exhibit this type of disorder also suffer from impulsive and reckless behavior, problems with regulating emotion and thought, and unstable relationships with other people (What is Boderline Personality, n.d.). Spontaneous dangerous behavior is also a symptom of the mental illness and is seemingly displayed when Suzanna escapes from the mental hospital, steals her medical records, refuses to take her prescribed medication, and engages in various potentially harmful sexual behaviors (Mangold, 1999). Suzanna questions whether she should be labeled “promiscuous” for having sex with less than five men and wonders aloud if she would still be labeled that if she were a man (Mangold, 1999). Aside from her sexual exploits, Suzanna’s other “spontaneous dangerous behavior” is inspired by another long- term hospital patient, Lisa. Lisa is a diagnosed sociopath and revels in the attention that her disregard for rules and authority figures brings her from the other patients (Mangold, 1999). Her personality can switch from being astonishingly kind to extremely cruel very quickly and without warning. As highlighted in the movie, Lisa shows Suzanna how to pretend to take her medication, Lisa leads the raid into the office to find the girls’ medical records, and Lisa convinces Suzanna to break out of the hospital with her (Mangold, 1999). Suzanna is not impulsive without the aid of Lisa, which causes the viewer to question whether Suzanna would engage in these reckless, careless behaviors on her own if Lisa were not present. Towards the end of the movie when Lisa is not present, Suzanna does not exhibit any bad behavior (Mangold, 1999). She attends regular therapy sessions and progresses well in her mental recovery. Lisa seems to have a strong influence on Suzanna’s behavior because Suzanna’s symptoms of carelessness and recklessness surface in the presence of Lisa.
The viewer also begins to question the validity of Suzanna’s diagnosis when the head nurse makes a clear distinction between Suzanna and the other patients (Geller, 2013). The head nurse claims that while the other patients are “actually crazy” Suzanna is merely “driving herself crazy” (Mangold, 1999). This portrayal of Borderline Personality Disorder as pretend could be misleading to the ordinary viewer in thinking that BPD is not an actual mental illness. While displaying this disorder, Suzanna is able to form strong bonds with other patients and thinks of them as her friends. She...

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