The paper “Bipolar Disorder in Silver Linings Playbook" is a fascinating version of a movie review on psychology. Bipolar disorder is a complex mental illness that exhibits different symptoms including dramatic mood swings. Silver Linings Playbook, directed by David Russell, is a film about how characters with bipolar disorder respond to the challenges of their illnesses and real-life problems. The film taught me the symptoms and treatment options for bipolar disorder, and I felt empathy for Pat (Bradley Cooper) and Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) because they are trying hard to manage their illness by accepting it as part of who they are and developing strategies to be more in control of their behaviors.
The major disorder in the movie is bipolar disorder, where Pat and Tiffany show different degrees of its major symptoms. It seems that they have bipolar II because though they have one severe manic episode, they can still carry on normal life routines after these episodes. Nonetheless, these characters are troubled with bipolar disorder’s symptoms, particularly aggressive behavior, mood swings, agitation, and delusion. Pat and Tiffany both show aggressive behavior, such as when Pat almost beat up his wife’s Nikki (Brea Bee) lover to death and threw Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms out of the window (and breaks it), while Tiffany suddenly storms out of the restaurant, after breaking things on the table. These actions are part of their mood swings too. One time, Pat was crying and felt angry, while looking for his wedding video from his parents. Another time, Tiffany is crying to Pat about her husband, and then she slaps him. These are dramatic mood swings that can happen at any time of the day. Pat and Tiffany also demonstrate agitation, such as when Pat gets agitated when he hears his wedding song, while Tiffany feels upset when she feels judged. Pat and Tiffany also suffer from delusions. Pat had a delusional break when he accused his wife and her lover of embezzling funds in the school, while Tiffany accused her manager of harassing her, even if these events were not true. These events and behaviors indicate how hard it is for people with bipolar disorder to manage distressing events and people in their lives.
Treatment for bipolar disorder combines medication and therapy. Pat went through medication plus group therapy at a Baltimore mental facility. Tiffany was more on medication at home. After leaving the mental facility, Pat continues therapy sessions with Dr. Patel (Anupam Kher), while Tiffany just manages on her own through medication and dancing sessions. Furthermore, another treatment for bipolar disorder is finding a strategy in managing manic episodes. Dr. Patel advises Pat to find a strategy that can help him manage his nervous breakdown, every time he hears or thinks he hears his wedding song. Medication, therapy, and strategies help people with bipolar disorder deal with their symptoms.
As for the characters, I feel empathy for Pat and Tiffany because they went through tough life-changing situations that had extra severe effects on them because of their mental illness. Tiffany endures the loss of her beloved husband, while Pat has witnessed the unfaithfulness of his wife. These are serious events that can emotionally tear apart even “normal” people. Also, I admire Tiffany for being true to others and her “self.” She knows her weaknesses, unlike Pat who does not want to affect the fact that Nikki no longer loves him.
From this movie, I learned that bipolar disorder is manageable, which means that even those with bipolar disorder can live a “normal” life. By having a normal life, they can still hold jobs and go through routines, as long as they have ways to manage their symptoms. Those who have bipolar disorder need a dependable support system and strategies in managing their manic episodes. A dependable support system is important because it helps them deal with their symptoms, such as mood swings. A strategy for mania management is essential too because only they can determine what will work best for them.
What I enjoyed about this movie the most is the craziness in it, such as when Pat thinks that somehow, Tiffany is crazier than him. He is delusional in this sense because he and Tiffany are both mentally sick, yet he fears that she might be a little bit worse than him. I did not have anything to dislike in the film because it opened my mind to the world of people with bipolar disorder. Because of the film, I learned that I should be more sensitive to people with mental illness because their illness impacts how they see and process the world and how they react to it. Finally, these characters inspire me to become a better person because if they can deal with so much in their life and still be happy, I can also do so too.