At the end of the movie Silver Linings Playbook, when main character Pat Peoples is about to embark on the next, happier, more stable part of his life, I think he says something to his ex-wife about doing much better because he is focused, determined, physically fit - and (shhh!)taking his meds.
Really? Most of the one-out-of-four families who deal with mental illness will say that, while all those other elements of recovery are also essential (love, purpose, helping others, exercise, structure) , they could be entirely useless without the medications that stabilize the brain. Albeit not perfectly.
Does Pat Peoples Take Meds in Silver Linings Playbook ?
One quote from the book:
“…a woman who knows all my secrets, a woman who knows just how messed up my mind is, how many pills I’m on, and yet she allows me to hold her anyway”,
suggests that Pat did, after initial resistance (which we see in the film), take his medications (which we might see in the film, but it’s left unclear).
How nice it would be if people like my son Ben, diagnosed with schizophrenia, could see a movie hero who learns to accept that his meds do help, openly swallow them in the movie, and acknowledge that they have been part of his recovery.
Thank You, Pharma Companies and Reps
In the past year, I’ve had the honor several times of addressing pharmaceutical reps to tell them how much their work matters. These reps have, well, a bum rap. The face stigma of their own, portrayed as money-hungry, aggressive, pill-pushers. I speak to them in my keynote as author and Mom, tell our story, and remind them that that without new developments in medication – which it is their job to make available – my son might not be where he is in life.
One comment from a recent attendee:
“Your story inspired our entire sales force to continue working hard to ‘bring value to life’ for patients and caregivers alike. I can’t begin to tell you how moved other members of the company from other sales divisions were to hear your story—it really helped put a face on schizophrenia and the many challenges and hurdles faced by all concerned.”
So – if you research, develop, work for access, make available, or otherwise help to bring new meds to people like my son – thank you. Keep at it, because many of these meds could certainly be improved. But you give our family hope.
Even if my son still feels he needs to hide the fact that medication is part of his recovery. Even if he wants to think all the success is due to his own willpower and drive.
Recovery Needs Many Things – Internal and External
I am a big fan of drive, exercise, community, purpose, and a positive attitude. But, where mental illness is concerned, those qualities are usually not enough – not without meds, especially in people as young as my son.
Maybe, someday, there will be a popular movie that, loud and proud, gives medical treatment some credit too.
(Still – I loved the movie.)