Archives for Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder

Mel Gibson in ‘The Beaver': The Uses of Splitting


I'd heard so much negative buzz about The Beaver (starring Mel Gibson and directed by Jodie Foster) that I stayed away from my local movie theater despite the film's interesting psychological subject matter. This past week, I finally saw it on DVD and was surprised to find myself appreciating it much more than I'd expected.

While there's some truth to the criticism I've heard, The Beaver tackles a difficult subject -- suicidal depression -- with psychological insight and emotional honesty. It scorns the simplistic answers offered by pop psychology and rejects the widely propagated medical lie that depression results from a
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Bipolar Disorder

Announcing a New YouTube Channel

I discussed the film "Limitless" in this earlier post, but in my new YouTube channel, I talk about bipolar disorder and use the film to illustrate the manic shift from hopeless problems to perfect answers.
Here's a link to the YouTube video about psychotherapy issues in bipolar disorder.

Photo by Marcel Oosterwijk, available under a Creative Commons attribution...
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Bipolar Disorder

‘Limitless': Addiction and Bipolar Disorder

Although Limitless (2011) ultimately winds up as a cautionary tale about drug addiction, it begins with a revealing portrayal of the shame and self-loathing to be found in depression, as well as the manic flight into omnipotence of thought that characterizes bipolar disorder.

Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) is a down-on-his-heels writer whose girlfriend Lindy (Abbie Cornish) dumps him during one of the opening scenes.  He may have secured an advance from his publisher for a new novel but has been unable to write a single word of it.   His apartment is a disaster and physically, Eddie looks a mess.

Disgusted with himself, he believes Lindy has made the right decision. "Why stick it out?  I'd clearly missed the on-ramp. We both knew what was beckoning: the lower bunk in my childhood bedroom in Jersey."  In other words, he is filled with shame and feels like a total loser, a lost cause.
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Bipolar Disorder

Charlie Sheen and the Allure of Manic Flight

In a post on my blog, After Psychotherapy, I've discussed how Charlie Sheen's behavior and comments in recent interviews illustrate the defenses against shame I've written about in detail.

In yet another interview, this one on ABC's 20/20,  Sheen continues in the same grandiose and contemptuous vein; eventually, however, he gives us some insight into his mania.

The interviewer asks if he ever feels that his wild lifestyle gets "too close" to his kids and might hurt them, referencing the out-of-control party in a New York hotel room last year, with his girls asleep just across the hall.

"You don't normally think about that in the middle of it," he replies.  "Then people remind you of it and of it's 'Oh. SHAME. Oops. Move on.'  I mean, what are you going to do, change it?  Move their room?  Can I go back in time and move their room?  No!"

Because he has no sense of how to make up for what he's done, he can't bear to think or feel anything about it.  In a manner characteristic of
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