In the film, Silver Linings Playbook, the main character Pat, struggles with the effects of mental illness along with his new friend, Tiffany, who also has mental health issues. For Pat, as is common with this disease he does not realize how his behavior is affecting other people. The things he does make sense to him....at the time.
At what point do you tell someone they are not making sense? And why is it so hard to tell that person?....to cross that boundary and say, "you're not okay, my friend".
A real friend tells you the truth. Too often though we fear hurting someone's feelings so we let them get sicker emotionally or mentally because we are afraid or don't know what to do.
This happened to me a few years ago with a long time friend of mine. She is someone who always made sense, was logical, responsible. Then she wasn't, in a big way. It scared me. I wanted to call her husband and see what he thought but worried that was a betrayal to her. So I am ashamed to say I didn't do anything. About a year later she was taken in for psychiatric help. It should have happened sooner. At that time I promised myself I would never be silent again when it came to this issue. Especially because most conditions just get worse over time and not better, like schizophrenia and Alzheimer's Disease, for example.
When a similar situation arose with a family member not long ago I did speak up and try to help. I know that's what he would have wanted. Two family members stood by me. Unfortunately nobody else was comfortable doing so. I understand that, but I don't agree. For me, my previous mistake gave me courage. Of course things came to a head when his behavior landed him in the psychiatric hospital. This is an issue in probably every family at some point or another and in society in general.
If a friend or family member had a physical problem like a wound or growing tumor we'd say something, so why is this any different? I sincerely hope if it were ever to happen to me someone would love me enough to say something to me so I could get help sooner rather than later.
The actress Glenn Close is a founder of and Chairperson of the organization, BringChange2Mind, which is working to end the stigma of mental illness, and offer resources for those who suffer, and their families.
Glenn was motivated to do this because her sister, Jessie, suffers from bipolar disorder.
|Glenn and Jessie....Bingimages.com|
Most mental health professionals agree there is a shortage of resources available, but they ARE out there. The more aware and educated we all are, the better chance our friends and family who suffer have of living a quality life.
Here are several films that shed some light on the issue of mental illness and disorders:
A Beautiful Mind, (schizophrenia)
Away From Her, (Alzheimer's disease)
Awakenings, (mental illness)
Rain Man, (autism)
What's Eating Gilbert Grape, (autism spectrum disorder and food addiction)
Snowcake, (autism spectrum disorder)
Grey Gardens, (agoraphobia)
As Good as it Gets, (obsessive compulsive disorder)
The Aviator, (obsessive compulsive disorder)
Silver Linings Playbook, (obsessive compulsive and bipolar disorder)
The Prince of Tides, (post traumatic stress disorder)
Born on the Fourth of July, (post traumatic stress disorder)
The Perks of being a Wallflower, (post traumatic stress disorder)
Sylvia, (bipolar disorder)
The Hours, (bipolar disorder)
A Single Man, (clinical depression)
Change A Mind about Mental Illness....song donated by John Mayer...1:10 length
NPR.org/Glenn Close's Family on Coping with Mental Illness...2012 interview
Copyright Anna Wendt 2013