(Silver Linings Playbook)

What’s the Matter with Him?
We meet Pat upon his release from a hospital, where he was treated for Bipolar Disorder. He discovered that something was seriously wrong with him after he caught his wife in the shower with another man (He also discovered that something was wrong with his marriage). Instead of managing to keep himself under control, Pat became violent with the man and nearly killed him.

Bipolar Disorder
Pat on a Pillow

Bipolar Disorder is characterized by two types of symptoms, depressive and manic. One type – Bipolar 1 – leans more toward mania and one type – Bipolar 2 – leans more toward depression (It’s the Kinsey scale for crazy people). Pat’s symptoms are more manic than depressive, so he would be diagnosed as someone suffering from Bipolar 1 Disorder.

*Manic episodes
Manic episodes, or mania is identified by mood elevation, but this doesn’t necessarily mean someone extra-happy. Irritability or edginess is also classified as mania when it persists for at least one week. Based on Pat’s hospitalization, he has experienced at least one manic episode in his life (And it had nothing to do with holiday shopping).

*Decreased need for sleep

Not only does Pat show no concern for his lack of sleep, but he immediately wakes his parents to express his frustration with the book’s ending (Now I guess I don’t have to read it…Suck it, English class).

*Pressure to keep talking

…It doesn’t really help that Tiffany keeps egging him on, but Ronnie and Veronica clearly seem uncomfortable.

*Increase in goal-directed activity
Pat begins his life post-hospital by announcing that he wants to stay in shape and reads Nikki’s entire English class syllabus (Which is more than any of the kids are going to do). Most of Pat’s goals are directed at reconnecting with Nikki, who currently has a restraining order against Pat.

Pat, Sr.

Pat, Sr. has a condition called Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. He doesn’t run around cleaning everything in his home, but his superstitious behavior involving his favorite football team points conclusively to Obsessive-Compulsive tendencies. It’s most obvious when he is straightening remote controls and insisting Pat wear certain apparel during Eagles games.
Though it’s possible that Pat, Jr.’s illness developed as a way to cope with his father’s, Bipolar Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder are not very similar, and mental illness is not contagious (It’s not like the flu, where if you sneeze on me I’m going to maybe get sick and maybe not. Also, you’re disgusting if you sneeze on people.)

What About Tiffany?

It’s hard to gauge Tiffany’s troubles, although hers stem from grief for her husband. Since grief in its own way makes people do crazy things, it is not characterized as a mental illness in the DSM-V. In fact, most mental illnesses – including Depression – are dismissed in the DSM-V when symptoms have a direct cause, such as the loss of a family member or loved one.
However, Tiffany’s increased sexual behavior after the passing of her husband is considered one symptom of Bipolar Disorder, since sexual promiscuity is high-risk behavior. One symptom is not enough to make a full diagnosis though, so Tiffany’s behavior is probably a marker of her own, natural grieving process.

Is There Hope for Pat?
Pat and Tiffany
Yep! He takes his medication and attempts to connect with people that actually want him in his life, instead of people that have given him reason to believe they do not have room for Pat. With a little help from his friend (With a capital F), Tiffany, Pat should probably be okay in his own time.

What Do You Think?
Pat in a Crowded Room
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(The Virgin Suicides)

What’s the Matter with Her?
That’s a tricky one…
Since the movie only offers the point of view of a few clueless boys, there is not a lot of succinct evidence that can be used to favor any particular diagnosis. The best fit for Lux is probably Major Depressive Disorder, or depression. There is not anything to suggest that Lux is hallucinating or losing touch with reality, but plenty to suggest that she experiences melancholic, hopeless feelings associated with depression.

Major Depressive Disorder
Most of our information about Lux is hearsay, so instead of listing the symptoms she has, it seems more relevant to list  the causes of depression, and the risk factors that make someone more susceptible to it:

*Changes in hormones
As a fourteen year-old girl, Lux is going through  or has recently undergone puberty. This is a tumultuous time for any adolescent, when hormones are out-of-whack and syncing up in preparation for adulthood.

*Traumatic events
At the beginning of the movie, Lux’s baby sister kills herself.
In additon, Lux’s budding sexuality brings her into the unreliable arms of Trip Fontaine. It is with Trip that Lux loses her virginity, then is abandoned on the school football field (…Touchdown?).  She does not hear from Trip again (Penalty? Foul? Whatever, that’s not cool).
Lux & Trip

*Not socializing, loneliness, having few friends
Lux Takes a Smoke Break

While these risk factors are imposed by Lux’s parents, they still put her on the frontlines of depression.
When Lux arrives at the Lisbon house after the Homecoming dance well past curfew, her parents prevent all the girls from attending their regular classes. Besides the boys across the street that communicate sporadically with them, the girls have no friends and no other way to interact with their peers without the social opportunities offered by school.

Suicide Pacts and Groupthink
The Girls Left Behind
It is possible that the Lisbon girls make a suicide pact, which is an agreement that all of them will die together. There is not enough to prove this from the movie, but it is prudent to consider suicide pacts whenever groups of people kill themselves, especially within the same time frame.
Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon in which the beliefs of a few people are forced upon others, and in an effort to remain part of the group, individuals that might disagree with the beliefs keep silent.
Like most of the film, this idea is cloaked in question marks. Lux grew up in a closed-off world where boys weren’t allowed, so love and lust were repressed. Since the girls basically only socialize with each other, they may all have the same negative interpretations about male and female interactions that arise from Lux’s tryst with Trip. Not understanding why boys might hesitate to connect with them could contribute to the girls’ overall state of sadness (It’s a tough mystery even when you’re not trapped in your own house).

Nature vs. Nurture
Lux Far Away
This much-argued concept disputes between whether the environment in which someone is raised or the people doing the raising have the most effect on how someone develops into an adult.
Based on the way Lux is nurtured, she becomes enveloped in a mood disorder, so the film poses the idea that the way Lux and her sisters are raised has a detrimental effect on their outcome. Same parents, same outcome – five times over.

Why Just Lux…?
Girls at the Dance
Her relationship with Trip makes Lux a central focus of the movie, more so than any of her sisters. However, with the subtraction of Trip, the arguments made for Lux that relate to her upbringing could also be made for Cecilia, Bonnie, Mary, and Therese.
To avoid confusion, the author decided to focus on Lux alone (It’s still kind of confusing).

What Do You Think?
A Lux Grin
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