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THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, by DAVID O. RUSSELL (Based on the novel by Matthew Quick)

The Silver Linings Playbook is about Pat Solitano, a man with bipolar who, after 8 months in a mental institution, is full of positive energy and ready to rebuild his life.

Unemployed and separated from his wife, Pat moves back in with his parents. The story unfolds as Pat discloses details of his condition to his therapist, Dr. Patel. He meets Tiffany, a very brash woman with her own problems who seems to want to spend lots of time with Pat.

This movie does a good job showing both the inner and inter personal struggles that mental illness can cause, especially amongst families. It also sheds light on the importance of having a positive attitude and positive outlets in life as a way forward.

If you’re interested, here is a link to the screenplay.


After reading an unhappy ending to a Hemingway novel, Pat wakes his parents up at 4am. It’s easy to root for him – he wants so desperately for life to be positive…

PAT:  …and he does. He does. He survives the war, after getting blown up he survives it, and he escapes to Switzerland with Catherine. But now Catherine’s pregnant. Isn’t that wonderful? She’s pregnant. And they escape up into the mountains and they’re gonna be happy, and they’re gonna be drinking wine and they dance — they both like to dance with each other, there’s scenes of them dancing, which was boring, but I liked it, because they were happy. You think he ends it there? No! He writes another ending. She dies, Dad! I mean, the world’s hard enough as it is, guys. It’s fucking hard enough as it is. Can’t somebody say, ‘Hey, let’s be positive? Let’s have a good ending to the story?’


Pat talks to his therapist, Dr. Patel, about dealing with his condition by “white-knuckling it” (don’t try this at home, kids; it’s exhausting!) and then eventually getting diagnosed with bipolar.

PAT:  Yeah, about a week before the incident, I called the cops and I told them that my wife and the history guy were plotting against me by embezzling money from the local high school, which wasn’t true. It was a delusion. And we later found out from the hospital that’s because I’m, uh…

DR. PATEL:  …undiagnosed bipolar.

PAT:  “Yeah. With mood swings and weird thinking brought on by severe stress, which rarely happens, thank God. And then the shower incident happened and that’s when everything snapped, so I then realized that, oh, wow, I’ve been dealing with this my whole life. And without any supervision I’ve been doing it all on my own with no help and basically I’ve been white-knuckling it this whole time.

DR. PATEL:  That had to be hard.

PAT:  Yeah. It’s a lot to deal with, especially when you don’t know what the hell is happening, which I do now. Sort of.


Here is Pat – lovable, positive Pat – recounting his hospital stay to Dr. Patel, his therapist:

PAT:  This is what I believe to be true. 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, if you stay positive, you have a shot at a silver lining.


In this scene, Tiffany, Pat’s new friend who also deals with mental instability, explains her self-acceptance to him, and how important it is (rather brashly).

TIFFANY:  I was a big slut, but I’m not anymore. There’s always gonna be a part of me that’s sloppy and dirty, but I like that, with all the other parts of myself. Can you say the same about yourself, fucker?! Can you forgive? Are you any good at that?


Dr. Patel gives Pat advice on controlling his outbursts – recognizing, then redirecting the harmful thoughts.

PAT:  Let me just set the record straight about last night. Hurting my mother was a mistake and I hate myself for
it, and I hate my illness and I want to control it. My father, on the other hand, had no trouble slapping the shit out of me last night, which I did not return ‘cause I could’ve killed him and I didn’t. He’s sixty-five years old. You don’t think I could’ve beat the shit out of him? I mean….

DR. PATEL:  He was scared for your mother and you hurt him as well.

PAT:  Yes, last night was a mess. Okay? And I think he probably just tried to do his best.

DR. PATEL:  Pat, you have to have a strategy. I told you earlier. You need to recognize these feelings coming to
you, otherwise you will be sent back to Baltimore. So when you get these feelings, you need to get to a quieter place, and be at peace with yourself, however you can.

PAT:  Yeah, but that’s easier said than done.


Pat is ashamed of being on medication, as most of us are. It’s always good to hear someone else say it.

PAT:  Yeah. So they put me on medication, which I feel ashamed of.

TIFFANY:  Yeah.

PAT:  So I know.

TIFFANY:  You do.

PAT:  I just gotta get a strategy, you know?


Tiffany gives Pat a realistic perspective on his violent outbursts when he hears his wedding song.

TIFFANY:  You gonna go your whole life scared of that song? It’s just a song. Don’t make it a monster.

TIFFANY (CONT’D):  There’s no song playing. There’s no song. Breathe, count backwards from ten. That’s it.


Pat and his friend from the hospital, Danny, try to explain themselves to Pat’s mom, Dolores. I’ve sometimes wondered about something like a “sixth sense”; although I think I’d be content with just five.

DOLORES:  Pat, you’re up to something, I know.

PAT:  People like Tiffany, or Danny, or me, maybe we know something that you guys don’t know, okay? Did you
ever think about that? Maybe we understand something because we’re more–

DANNY:  We have a sixth sense. I mean, everybody’s got it. Everybody’s just not in touch with it.


In this scene, Tiffany gives Pat a little history of her marriage. This line is a good example of how difficult intimate relationships can be – something that seems so natural to most people can be so hard for others. Thank you David O. Russell for including this in the movie. I have been there, it’s a horrible place, and hearing her say this gave me a small sense of comfort. Thank you.

TIFFANY:  We were married for three years and five days, and I loved him. But for the last couple months, I just wasn’t into sex at all. It just felt like we were so different and I was depressed. Some of that is just me, some of it was he wanted me to have kids and I have a hard enough time taking care of myself. I don’t think that makes me a criminal.

A Beautiful Mind, by Akiva Goldsman, based on the biography by Sylvia Nassar

 

A Beautiful Mind is a based on John Nash, a brilliant mathematician and Nobel Laureate in Economics. After a series of debilitating episodes, Nash is eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia.

This movie provides powerful insight into a devastating mental disorder and the affect it has on loved ones. Also, the character shows a healthy example of making light of his situation – something that’s not easy, but very admirable. I highly recommend watching this movie if you haven’t.

For the sake of space, I will only highlight a few parts of the script.

This is a scene between Nash and his wife, Alicia. Nash is discouraged with his ability to cope with schizophrenia on his own. He references Rosen, the psychiatrist that diagnosed him and who feels he should continue care under his supervision.

NASH
Rosen was right. I can’t do-

ALICIA
Maybe try again tomorrow.

This might seem simple. But for someone who is struggling day-to-day just to live, the idea that you are allowed to put a day full of failures behind you and start over tomorrow is incredibly reassuring. I love her character for saying that line.

Nash makes major headway when he faces his delusions head-on. Here, he specifically confronts Charles, his roommate at Princeton he discovers isn’t real. Facing your fears isn’t easy. I believe what he does here takes an incredible amount of strength.

CHARLES
You can’t ignore me forever.

NASH
You were a good friend to me. The best. But I won’t talk to you again.

In this scene, Nash is questioned by his graduate school friend, Milnor, about the state of his delusions.

MILNOR
What about, you know… Are they gone?

NASH
Oh no, they’re not gone. Maybe they’ll never be.

NASH
But I’ve gotten used to ignoring them. And I think, as a result, they’ve kind of given up on me. Do you think that’s the way it is with our dreams and nightmares? That we have to keep feeding them for them to stay alive?

MILNOR
But they haunt you?

NASH
They’re my past, Martin. Everybody’s haunted by their past.

In this scene, you see his delusions – the characters that only exist in his mind – all still with him. And yet he’s living his life, moving forward. I picture those imagined characters when anxiety hits me. Instead of letting myself think “Oh no, not again, not after all these years of dealing with this!”, I try to accept it and think about moving forward as best I can.

 

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, by George Lucas

 

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

Star Wars, an epic film series based in a fictitious galaxy, follows good and evil and the delicate balance between them.

There are many instances of Eastern philosophy and being “mindful” throughout Star Wars. This is one of my favorites. Two Jedi Knights, Obi-Wan and his mentor Qui-Gon, have boarded a cruiser to settle a dispute with the Trade Federation.

This scene is right at the beginning and it smacks you in the face!

You could do worse than learn from a Jedi.

OBI-WAN
I have a bad feeling about this.

QUI-GON
I don’t sense anything.

OBI-WAN
It’s not about the mission, Master,
it’s something…elsewhere…elusive.

QUI-GON
Don’t center on your anxiety, Obi-
Wan. Keep your concentration here
and now where it belongs.

OBI-WAN
Master Yoda says I should be mindful
of the future…

QUI-GON
…but not at the expense of the
moment. Be mindful of the living
Force, my young Padawan.