Tag Archives: mental health

Glynne, Andy (dir). Animated Minds

animated_minds

“Animated Minds was conceived in 2003 as an attempt to communicate the subjective experience of mental health problems to a wider audience. The idea was simple: to take the testimony of a variety of people who have experienced mental distress, and then to try to animate their experience. The result, it was hoped, would be a series of engaging short films which would give a general audience a greater understanding of what it feels like to live with various mental difficulties.”

There are seven films in total all available to view at http://animatedminds.com/the_films/

Docter, Pete, Del Carmen, Ronaldo (dirs). Inside Out.

pixar-inside-out-poster-3

After young Riley is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San Francisco, her emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness – conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house, and school.

Director: Pete Docter, Ronaldo Del Carmen
Writer: Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley, Ronnie del Carmen
Year: 2015

There is an interesting review both of the film and some of the psychological science it draws on at the BMJ Medical Humanities blog >here<

Hilborn, Neil. OCD

Recorded at the Rustbelt Regional Poetry Slam in 2013.

If you want to listen to Neil Hilborn talk more about the genesis of the poem, his own experience of OCD and what he feels he has learned through the experience of the ‘viral’ success of this YouTube recording you could listen to this TED talk >click here<.

Granik, Debra (dir). Down to the Bone

bone

A woman stuck in a stale marriage struggles to raise her children and manage her secret drug habit. But when winter comes to her small town, her balancing act begins to come crashing down.

Year: 2004
Director: Debra Granik
Writer: Debra Granik

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Campion, Jane (dir). An Angel at my Table.

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In 1920s and 1930s New Zealand, Janet Frame grows up in a poor family with lots of brothers and sisters. Already at an early age she is different from the other kids. She gets an education as a teacher but since she is considered abnormal she stays at a mental institution for eight years. Success comes when she starts to write novels.

Year: 1990
Director: Jane Campion
Writer: Laura Jones, Janet Frame

Russell, David O (dir). Silver Linings Playbook

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After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.

Year: 2012
Director: David O. Russell
Writer: David O. Russell

White, Antonia. Beyond the Glass.

glass glass3d

Clara Batchelor is twenty-two. Her brief, doomed marriage to Archie over, she returns to live with her parents in the home of her childhood. She hopes for comfort but the devoutly Catholic household confines her and forms a dangerous glass wall of guilt and repression between Clara and the outside world. Clara both longs for and fears what lies beyond, and when she escapes into an exhilarating and passionate love affair her fragile identity cracks.

Beyond the Glass completes the trilogy sequel to Frost in May, which began with The Lost Traveller and The Sugar House. Although each is a complete novel in itself, together they form a brilliant portrait of a young girl’s journey to adulthood.

Publisher: Virago
Year: 2006
ISBN-10: 1844083683

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Galloway, Janice. The Trick is to Keep Breathing

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From the corner of a darkened room Joy Stone watches herself. As memories of the deaths of her lover and mother surface unbidden, life for Joy narrows – to negotiating each day, each encounter, each second; to finding the trick to keep living. Told with shattering clarity and wry wit, this is a Scottish classic fit for our time.

Publisher: Vintage Classics
Year: 2015
ISBN-10: 1784870137

Lessing, Doris. The Golden Notebook

lessing_golden golden3d

‘The Golden Notebook’, the landmark novel by Nobel Prize winner Doris Lessing, is a powerful account of a woman searching for her personal, political and professional identity amid the trauma of emotional rejection and sexual betrayal.

In 1950s London, novelist Anna Wulf struggles with writer’s block. Divorced with a young child, and fearful of going mad, Anna records her experiences in four coloured notebooks: black for her writing life, red for political views, yellow for emotions, blue for everyday events. But it is a fifth notebook – the golden notebook – that finally pulls these wayward strands of her life together.

Publisher: Fourth Estate
Year: 2013
ISBN-10: 0007498772

Ramis, Harold (dir). Analyze This

analyze

Ben Sobol, Psychiatrist, has a few problems: His son spies on his patients when they open up their heart, his parents don’t want to attend his upcoming wedding and his patients’ problems don’t challenge him at all. Paul Vitti, Godfather, has a few problems as well: Sudden anxiety attacks in public, a certain disability to kill people and his best part ceasing service when needed. One day, Ben unfortunately crashes into one of Vitti’s cars. The exchange of Ben’s business card is followed by a business visit of Don Paul Vitti himself, who wants to be free of inner conflict within two weeks, before all the Mafia Dons meet.

Producers: Paula Weinstein, Jane Rosenthal
Year: 1999
Director: Harold Ramis
Writer: Kenneth Lonergan, Peter Tolan, Harold Ramis

Oz, Frank (dir). What about Bob?

bob

A successful psychotherapist loses his mind after one of his most dependent patients, a manipulative, obsessively compulsive narcissist, tracks him down during his family vacation.

Producers: Laura Ziskin
Year: 1991
Director: Frank Oz
Writer: Tom Schulman

Brooks, James L. As Good as it Gets

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New York City. Melvin Udall, a cranky, bigoted, obsessive-compulsive writer, finds his life turned upside down when neighbouring gay artist Simon is hospitalised and his dog is entrusted to Melvin. In addition, Carol, the only waitress who will tolerate him, must leave work to care for her sick son, making it impossible for Melvin to eat breakfast.

Producers: James L. Brooks, Bridget Johnson, Kristi Zea
Year: 1997
Director: James L. Brooks
Writer: Mark Andrus, James L. Brooks

button_hyms (teaching resource – obsessive compulsive disorder)

 

Barry, Sebastian. The Secret Scripture.

Roseanne McNulty may (or may not) be on the point of nearing her 100th birthday — but there is little certainty about this fact. In her twilight years, her destiny is uncertain, as the Roscommon Mental Hospital — her home for so many years of her life — is on the point of closing. As the fateful hour approaches, Roseanne spends her time of talking to her psychiatrist of many years, Dr  Grene. The relationship between the two is strangely interdependent, and the doctor is also attempting to come to terms with the death of his wife. As we learn more about the two principal protagonists, we are presented with a rich and subtle picture of human relationships — and the (often unintentional) damages that we all do to each other

Prof Una Macleod HYMS: Don’t be put off by the accolades for this book. It is worthy of them. A beautifully written, moving story about an old lady, a psychiatrist, the Catholic church in Ireland. Useful to reflect on the power of religion in the lives of doctors and the role of doctors on bearing witness when that power is misused. Reflect on Dr Grene’s analysis: ‘As I do not seem able much to heal, then maybe I can simply be the responsible witness to the miracle of the ordinary soul’.

Publisher: Faber and Faber
Year: 2009
ISBN-10: 0571215297

Fitzgerald, F Scott.Tender is the Night

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To the French Riviera come Dick and Nicole Diver. Handsome, rich and glamorous, their dinners are legendary, their atmosphere magnetic. But something is wrong – Nicole has a secret and Dick a weakness. Together they head towards the rocks on which their lives crash – and only one of them really survives. Fitzgerald worked on seventeen versions of this novel, the obsessions of which consumed his marriage and his life.

Stephen Bradley HYMS: One of  Fitzgerald’s best, about the descent into dissapation of a psychiastrist, from his  promising youth to obscurity and disgrace.

Publisher: Penguin Classics
ISBN-10: 0140622608

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Viewer Comments:

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It’s not clear to me in the book whether Nicole gains in health at Dick’s cost, or in fact what really leads to his apparent dissolution, but I thought this quote rings true about the affect that caring for a family member can have. (Topsy is Dick and Nicole’s daughter and second child, the quote comes at a point when Nicole has ‘relapsed’)

Having gone through unprofessional agonies during her long relapse following Topsy’s birth, he had, perforce, hardened himself about her, making a cleavage between Nicole sick and Nicole well. This made it difficult now to distinguish between his self-protective professional detachment and some new coldness in his heart.

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From what I remember it seemed that by compromising his ethics and getting involved with a patient Diver begins his decline. Fitzgerald seemed to be fascinated by failure and people doing what they want to do rather than what they should do. The beautiful & the damned is another other striking example. They all drink too much and lead dreadful lives not having the discipline to avoid any temptation that comes their way. There is almost a whole genre of books about wealthy americans being obnoxiously aimless in post war europe. Hemmingways ‘sun also rises’ is the best other example I can think of, highsmiths the talented mr ripley is an interesting variation. Fitzgerald &  hemmingway are probably guilty of romanticising a fairly silly attidude but they’re enjoyable books.

Not sure why but 2 points are very memorable for me on diver’s trajectory: maybe his lowest ebb when he acts like a bigot and when a colleague’s wife condems him, noting that he is ‘no longer a serious man’.

Interestingly much of this book seems to have been based on Fitzgerald’s wife, Zelda, and her experiences of mental illness. She has written about this herself elsewhere.

Mabey, R. Nature Cure

In the last year of the old millennium, Richard Mabey, Britain’s foremost nature writer, fell into a severe depression. For two years, he did little more than lie in bed with his face to a wall. He could neither work nor play. His money ran out. Worst of all, the natural world – which since childhood had been a source of joy and inspiration for him – became meaningless. Then, cared for by friends, he gradually recovered. He fell in love. Out of necessity as much as choice he moved to East Anglia. And he started to write again.This remarkable book is an account of that first year of a new life.

Publisher: Vintage
Year: 2008
ISBN: 0099531828

Shem, S. House of God

The hilarious novel of the healing arts that reveals everything your doctor never wanted you to know. Six eager interns — they saw themselves as modern saviors-to-be. They came from the top of their medical school class to the bottom of the hospital staff to serve a year in the time-honored tradition, racing to answer the flash of on-duty call lights and nubile nurses. But only the Fat Man –the Clam, all-knowing resident — could sustain them in their struggle to survive, to stay sane, to love-and even to be doctors when their harrowing year was done.

Author: Shem, Samuel (Stephen Bergman)
Publisher: Dell Club Co
Year: 2003
ISBN: 0440296080

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Viewer Comments:

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Steven Oliver HYMS: Law nine of the House of God (there are 13 in total) is ‘The only good admission is a dead  admission’. To understand why you may one day entertain exactly this thought – despite your best ‘patient-centred’ intentions – I would recommend this book. It’s not great literature, my copy has the word ‘bawdy’ on the cover blurb, so brace yourself for some very ‘phallocentric’ sex (however ‘my copy’ is in fact my wife’s copy – so it’s not solely for ‘lads’). I’m not sure I now find it a particularly funny book – its humour is very black – it is the writer’s anger about systems that can choke the caring out of medicine, and the impact this has on young doctors that makes this a ‘must read’ for me.

Gilman, CP. The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories

Fictional account of one woman’s experience of ‘hysteria’ in the early twentieth century.

Title: The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories
Author: Gilman, Charlotte Perkins
Publisher: Dover Publications Inc
Year: 1998
ISBN: 0486298574

Viewer Comments:

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This is a really interesting story and one of the best explorations of psychiatric illness I’ve come across. I can’t remember all the details but I think the story is fairly autobiographical, about the authors own experience of postnatal depression (and psychosis?) compounded by the ideas about psychiatry and women) at the time.
On becoming depressed after the birth of her child the character is shut away for ‘rest’ in a kind of solitary confinement. With nothing else to do she begins to fixate on the yellow wallpaper in the her room. (Its better than it sounds!)

Even if you ignore the psychiological element this is a great wee gothic story. The added depth of mental illness under the guise of the supernatural reminds me of ‘the turn of the screw’ by James, another good, short read which was written around the same period

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A short, short story that packs a lot in – you could read it for the gothic E.A. Poe feel, for the feminist critique of male and medical dominance, for the striking visual motif of that patchy yellow wallpaper, for the ‘descent’ into madness. I’ve just read it in the time it took to take a bath – so don’t worry that this is a lengthy tome!

Edwards, Richey. 4st 7lb

As Stuart Flannagan says in his BMJ piece (see ‘Medical Classics’ link below) “This song from the Manic Street Preachers’ 1994 album The Holy Bible is an uncompromising account of life with anorexia nervosa, with lyrics written by the band’s guitarist, Richey Edwards.

4st 7lb

I eat too much to die
And not enough to stay alive
I’m sitting in the middle waiting

Days since I last pissed
Cheeks sunken and despaired
So gorgeous sunk to six stone
Lose my only remaining home

See my third rib appear
A week later all my flesh disappears
Stretching taut, cling-film on bone
I’m getting better

Karen says I’ve reached my target weight
Kate and Emma and Kristin know it’s fake
Problem is diet’s not a big enough word
I wanna be so skinny that I rot from view

I want to walk in the snow
And not leave a footprint
I want to walk in the snow
And not soil its purity

Stomach collapsed at five
Lift up my skirt my sex is gone
Naked and lovely and 5st. 2
May I bud and never flower

My vision’s getting blurred
But I can see my ribs and I feel fine
My hands are trembling stalks
And I can feel my breasts are sinking

Mother tries to choke me with roast beef
And sits savouring her sole Ryvita
That’s the way you’re built my father said
But I can change, my cocoon shedding

I want to walk in the snow
And not leave a footprint
I want to walk in the snow
And not soil its purity

Kate and Kristin and Kit Kat
All things I like looking at
Too weak to fuss, too weak to die
Choice is skeletal in everybody’s life

I choose my choice, I starve to frenzy
Hunger soon passes and sickness soon tires
Legs bend, stockinged I am Twiggy
And I don’t mind the horror that surrounds me

Self-worth scatters, self-esteem’s a bore
I long since moved to a higher plateau
This discipline’s so rare so please applaud
Just look at the fat scum who pamper me so

Yeh 4st. 7, an epilogue of youth
Such beautiful dignity in self-abuse
I’ve finally come to understand life
Through staring blankly at my navel