Call Me Crazy (A Mental Health Movie Review)
Mental health is a topic that has been of great controversy since the beginning of time. Throughout history, it has been heavily stigmatized and has been referred to as lunacy, madness, and during the Middle Ages, people were even accused of being possessed with evil spirits due to the extremely limited knowledge and education of mental illness. The increase in mental health forums and outlets for learning and coping with mental disorders is grossly indicative of an increased level of understanding amongst younger generations about the truth that testifies to mental health and its stigmas.
In doing my part in creating awareness of mental health and its related signs, symptoms, stigmas, I spent the last few weeks scouring the internet for a film that adequately portrayed that which is endured by those who suffer from mental disorders, as well as how it affects the people around them and how it can possibly affect their overall quality of life. The movie I ultimately analyzed was “Call Me Crazy: A Five Film”, which, through the stories of five individuals, gives insight on the impact that various mental disorders have on the lives of the people named, as well as the people around them.
The story starts off with Lucy, who is a law student in her mid-twenties. Her chapter shows her experiencing hallucinations and hearing voices which, as she explains to a friend that appears later on in her chapter, tells her how inadequate she is. Lucy is schizophrenic and, as she relays during one of her sessions at the mental hospital, she stopped taking her medication because she had wanted to prove that she wasn’t really sick.
Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. According to the American Psychiatric Association, individuals with schizophrenia may seem to have lost touch with reality and the disease in its active state can be characterized by experiencing episodes of indistinguishable real or unreal experiences. The symptoms of schizophrenia, and perhaps its severity, fall into four categories:
- Positive Psychotic Symptoms: Hallucinations, such as hearing voices, paranoid delusions, and exaggerated or distorted perceptions, beliefs, and behaviors.
- Negative Symptoms: A loss or a decrease in the ability to initiate plans, speak, express emotion, or find pleasure.
- Disorganization Symptoms: Confused and disordered thinking and speech, trouble with logical thinking, and sometimes, bizarre behavior or abnormal movements.
- Impaired Cognition: Problems with attention, concentration, memory, and declining educational performance.
Lucy’s battle with schizophrenia eventually lands her in an institution where she receives the support of a new friend/love interest, medication, and her psychotherapist. These factors help her to begin her journey towards healing and, as I saw further on into the movie, a promising future as a lawyer advocating for the rights of those who also suffered from mental health disorders.
Story number two is narrated and revolves around the life of young Grace who grows up having to cope with and take care of her mother who suffers from Bipolar Disorder. It is evident throughout the story that Grace had a difficult time coming to terms with her mother’s illness when the bad days struck. Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.
There are four basic types of bipolar disorder; which all involve clear changes in mood, energy, and activity levels. These moods range from periods of extremely “up,” elated, and energized behavior (known as manic episodes) to very sad, “down,” or hopeless periods (known as depressive episodes). Less severe manic periods are known as hypomanic episodes. The chapter in question raised the concern of people with bipolar disorder being viewed by the public as crazy and the toll it may take on the individual themselves and their family members; special reference to Grace’s father leaving the family when she was quite young.
Grace’s episode showed her always trying to convince her mother to take her medication or to take it easy during her euphoric episodes, one of which caused her mother to unknowingly endanger the lives of Grace and her friends. Though Grace knew of her mother’s illness, she could never fully grasp why her mother could not understand the consequences of her actions during her episodes.
It should then be noted that people with bipolar disorder often don’t recognize how much their emotional instability disrupts their lives and the lives of their loved ones. The end of the chapter showed Grace’s mother checking herself into a medical institution and Grace writing of her mother’s heroism and strength, in spite of her condition, in her college application.
Coping With A Mentally Ill Family Member
The third chapter centered around a young woman named Allison who was home from university for the holidays. The story begins with her bringing home her boyfriend, who she met at university and upon arriving home, she finds out all the doors had been removed to accommodate another guest who Allison continuously referred to as “she”. It was eventually revealed that Allison was the 19-year-old sister of Lucy, the Schizophrenic.
In the chapter, Allison supposedly held a grudge against Lucy, and it was eventually revealed that during one of Lucy’s episodes, she attempted to strangle Allison to death with a nightgown. Allison, in a heated argument with her boyfriend, explained why she felt the way she felt, how Allison’s illness had affected her, and how she was made to feel inferior since she was 12-years-old. In the end, whilst discussing the matter with Lucy, Allison relayed her fear of also being diagnosed as schizophrenic.
Their discussion eventually led to an agreement to work together to overcome the situation they were in. The story was perhaps an attempt at allowing the audience to understand, and to relate to, family members of those who may suffer from mental disorders. It gave some insight into the lives led by families who had to care for someone with a mental illness and the importance of caregiver support.
Major Depressive Disorder
This chapter takes a look into the life of Eddie. He is a married, middle-aged standup comedian. His life revolves around making people laugh but at the end of each performance, it becomes clear that he is extremely unhappy with his life. He is seen spending days in bed and skipping meal after meal. It is eventually revealed that Eddie suffers from depression and was skipping his scheduled visits with his psychologist.
Depression (Major Depressive Disorder) is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Clinical depression, as it is also called, affects how you feel, think, and behave, and may lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems, which may result in the patient finding it hard to carry out normal day-to-day activities. The cause of major depressive disorder is largely unknown and triggers may vary from case-to-case. As was seen in Eddie’s chapter, despite having a beautiful family, friends who loved him, and a supposedly fulfilling job, he was unable to shake the funk that came with the disorder.
The chapter ended with his wife becoming suspicious of the jokes he began to make in his act which revolved around suicide and death. Out of concern she searched and found an envelope with a letter and his medication indicating that he may have been planning to commit suicide. They ended the chapter with the family waiting outside the psychologist’s office together in what seemed like a beginning attempt to help Eddie. The chapter essentially showcases the need for family members to identify signs that may show that the individual is at risk and offering them support to overcome their disorder.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
The final chapter revolved around Maggie, a young black woman who was a soldier. She returns home after being away at war and it is revealed upon her arrival that she has a young son who lives with her father, who is also an army veteran. The story shows her having war flashbacks and freezing in fear at the funeral of one of her commanders. It was initially perceived that her trauma stemmed from the gruesome death of the commanding soldier but it turned out she was raped repeatedly by the said officer during her deployment.
Maggie suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that is triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms of PTSD may include flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. Her ordeal with PTSD resulted in her to losing custody of her son after having a nightmare and attacking her father in a sleep state. The end of her story saw her being helped by Lucy, who was now a lawyer, to regain custody of her son and to receive proper treatment for her disorder.
The five stories, as analyzed above, provided me with insight into the way many individuals approach mental health on a regular basis, as well as how those affected by it cope and attempt to achieve a better quality of life despite their respective disorders. Mental health awareness, especially in the media, has greatly impacted the way mental disorders are perceived and has created a better atmosphere for advocacy, understanding, and acceptance. There are many art forms that encapsulate and attempt to portray the lives led by those affected by mental illnesses.
My aim through all this was to display the need for individuals to be able to identify, analyze, and subsequently offer help to those in need. This movie, along with my research, helped me to further gain knowledge on the disorders named and I am now able to recognize and assist in identifying any of the symptoms in anyone I know. Do your part, increase awareness, and increase your own individual knowledge through these avenues. You never know when it may come in handy. Be an advocate, be a learner, be a friend.
GET PUBLISHED IN WITTED ROOTS!
We are accepting personal essays just like ‘Love Letters To Myself’. Share your most vulnerable stories about your mental health + emotional wellness experiences.
Visit our ‘Become A Contributor‘ page or use our “intuitive Chat!” below, it may take between 2 sec – 20 sec to appear. If you find yourself waiting longer than the allotted time specified, please feel free to send us an email directly to email@example.com
JOIN AND RECEIVE A FREE WORKBOOK
Join "THE WIT" and recieve a FREE Mental Health & Emotional Wellness Workbook as well as latest update from WR, exclusive access to helpful resources and special discounts for our shop!