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 Post subject: The soloist
PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2009 9:28 pm 
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I'm not sure if this is the appropriate forum for this post, but the other ones didn't quite seem to fit. So... I just watched the soloist. It is a movie about a schizophrenic who is a musical genius.

I'm feeling pretty emotional right now. Not hysterical emotional, but the movie hit a chord with the mental illness theme. I'm not sure what I'm feeling - sad I guess because there were so many parts in the movie that reminded me of my own troubles in life. Not with schizophrenia, but with the bpd - it is amazing how even though the "diagnoses" may be different, the pain that resonates from the person with the mental illnesss is just there. One of the things that hit me the hardest I think is when the writer/reporter was trying to help Nathaniel (the mentally ill character), he didn't know how to help. He cared but he didn't know how to help. The movie was incredibly well-written and the actors imo, really portrayed the depth of pain and anguish that can come not only from mental illness, but also the pain and anguish other's feel in trying to help. It struck a chord. I remember during my Bloomington phase, when I was at my worst, my parents desperately trying to help me and not knowing how. And I remember myself curled in a ball on the ground, hysterical and rocking.

Maybe I"m being unrealistic. I guess I was hoping that Nathanial would recover, or at least manage his mental illness to the point where he could evolve into his potential. And, it didn't really happen. He has this great musical gift, on par with Beethoven and the like and he never was able to capitolize on it. He still plays music, but he'll never be "normal". He'll never complete Juliard, he'll never overcome completely his own demons.

I think the movie was a strong representation of mental illness and at the same time it scares me because what if I don't evolve into my potential? I have fought with everything in me, time and time again, but in the end, what if it isn't enough?

I don't know. I"m just trying to process I guess. Thanks for listening.

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 Post subject: Re: The soloist
PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2009 10:12 pm 
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BPDpip5,

I also don’t care for this type of movie as they seem to bring my issues (really former situations) to the forefront. But when I consider that no one is perfect, everyone in this world faces some sort of issues, and when I further look at those people that have it so much worse them me, I can see that I really don’t have it that bad. So maybe at times I’m emotionally unstable, that might be putting it a bit lightly, but at least I know it and I’m working on it.

Consider Jennifer Aniston: amazingly beautiful, seemingly so sweet and loveable, way rich, but she can’t keep a guy – even an ugly one! What is the deal with that? OK – I’m a guy so maybe I’m looking at this the wrong way – but you give me those looks and cash and I’ll have my pick even if I’m a little different.

Then we can consider the people that just don’t have it going on upstairs, well maybe they’re the lucky one, being less then smart they might not know that life is passing them by..

If we look at all the poor people living in disadvantage countries whose only hope each day is to get the food to feed themselves and their families, well my life starts looking pretty good.

The point is – at least people with BPD have a chance to improve their lives. Yes – it might be hard and I don’t think anyone is saying that recovery is some magical land of happiness - but who else in the world has that. I guess what I’m saying is there are so many of things that could be wrong with me, I’m just really glad I have something that I can work on to make my life better. Not many people have the opportunity that we do, to make drastic meaningful change within ourselves.


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 Post subject: Re: The soloist
PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2009 10:44 pm 
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I haven't seen that movie, though I've heard of it and know what it's about, and have read about the real-life people it's based on. It sounds like a really powerful film, and I'd like to see it.

I know we all have fears that we won't be able to reach our potential or do what we want to do because of our mental/emotional difficulties. I have had to deal with the loss of my profession, which was seriously disappointing, and I feel like I don't "measure up" compared to my siblings and most of my friends who have it together with their jobs and their personal lives.

But no matter how much of a negative effect BPD and depression have had on my life, nothing about those issues compares to schizophrenia. I am medication-dependent, but I'm not struggling for a basic existence. I'm not delusional. I have it together enough to pay my bills, drive a car, manage my medical issues and my life in general. There was a time where that wasn't so true, and I ended up hospitalized, but I've never had to live on the streets, and I have a support system that may not be all I'd like it to be but is good enough to help me if I run off the rails again.

I think you're doing great, pip. You've weathered some extreme storms in the time I've "known" you around the boards, and you've always managed to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move forward again. You're not "stuck" -- you're still in motion, still trying new things, still striving to achieve more. No one can ever tell what circumstances might intervene to prevent a person from realizing their life-long dream or being able to develop a talent to its highest level of achievement. I think a lot about the young people who are being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan -- what were their dreams for the rest of their lives? What talents did they have that will never be realized? Or people killed in senseless accidents... Or the many too many children who are murdered on the streets of Chicago every year... It's heartbreakingly sad when stuff like that happens. But as for us, we have some mental difficulties, but we're alive, we're functional, and we are capable of moving forward and getting better.

I don't know whether you're anxious about what's going to happen now that you've taken the GRE -- are you afraid you won't be able to "make good" on it and achieve your ultimate goal? Do you equate "failure," even just in terms of not reaching your top goal, with being "not normal" and losing control of your life as Nathaniel did? Or is it the lack of a support system that scares you the most -- the feeling that if you need help again there still won't be anyone out there who can "fix" things for you?

I know there are sometimes movies I see or books that I read that make me very emotional, so don't feel like the Lone Ranger about all this -- it's very common. But do a little untwisting, too -- you're in WAY better shape than Nathaniel is, and you definitely have more resources than he does. So go ahead and let yourself feel the emotion, then do a little reality check and try to keep yourself on your good forward course.

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I can take it in small doses, but as a lifestyle I found it too confining. -- Jane Wagner


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 Post subject: Re: The soloist
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 7:37 am 
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BPDPip5,
I didn't see this movie, but am familiar with the storyline and can relate to an intensity of feelings that get kicked up for me when I see these types of movies. I have been thinking for a few minutes about your post and have been thinking of a couple of things that might be able to sit side by side... I hope it comes out clearly...

As a really emotionally sensitive person myself, I often relate/ viscerally respond to seeing others in deep pain ... I think in and of itself, this is fine... its something about being human and being able to respond to human suffering (whatever form it may take)... and somehow, when it mirrors my own suffering, it rocks me deeper. Again though, this can be fine if I am able to take that energy and use it in some way that is useful. I think that there is a gift in this level of awareness/connectivity in and of itself.

I wonder when you speak of a fear of not reaching your own potential, what you have defined as 'success'... is it something that is imposed/defined by society, or is it something more internal? I went through a period for a number of years of being a professional student... I jumped through all the hoops, shinned in a way that made schools want to pay me to come and be a student there - so I went. In the last school, I crashed, with a 4.0 GPA and I say this to say ... I had reached someone else's standard... according to others I was operating at my potential.... I was perceived as 'normal' by societal standards. I think internally though, I had not come any way close to meeting my potential. Is the potential that you speak of, something that you have set internally? Is it something that gives you latitude if you fall short? How does reaching your potential relate to/with the quality of your life? It seems as though the man, Nathanial, was not able to fully utilize the gifts that he was given. I wonder though, if he did not have schizophrenia, what conscious choices he would have made, if pursuing being a gifted musician would have been what it was that 'made' his life? I don't know... it seems as though I may be rambling a bit with the point that's in my head. Its not so much a point, I think as they are questions that get kicked around...
I don't know if any of this was helpful. I do want you to know that I've read your post, I'm listening to your own process and reflecting as 'food for thought'.


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 Post subject: Re: The soloist
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:53 am 
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I've read the book, but I haven't seen the movie. The book, though, is different because it's very much from the perspective of the journalist who wrote it. I recall, though, the movie A Beatiful Mind, about John Nash, and how that hit me. And while I'm not schitzophenic, I've had a different sort of struggle with unwanted thoughts.

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 Post subject: Re: The soloist
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:04 pm 
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I think it's really important, when viewing or reading stories like this one, to remember that I'm not the protagonist in that story. I'm not Nathaniel. I'm me; my story will not be the same as any one else's. So....while I appreciate the comparison's and the lessons I can learn from watching/reading stories like this one.....I think it's important to remember that I write my own story. My life, my potential, and whether or not I reach it (even setting it) is my own to do or not do. It's my life and I'm the only one who gets to decide how I'm going to live it.

Your life, your story, is your own to write.

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 Post subject: Re: The soloist
PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 2:52 pm 
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I get hope from movies like these, even if the protagonist doesn't manage to overcome their adversity. The mere fact that people are making films about mental illness gives me hope that the community may one day be educated enough to nurture those who suffer mental illness to the degree that is appropriate.

It's important to note a couple of things about your film though. Schizophrenia is very different to BPD and is believed to have a physical component, which may make it so difficult for so many people with schizophrenia to recover.

The other is dramatic effect. Films are designed to pull at different emotions, where a mental disease can be romanticised or demonised etc. Just a good idea to keep the marketing aspect of cinema in perspective.

The most inspiring film I've seen of this genre is A Beautiful Mind, bc not only does that man have schizophrenia, which is a different kettle of fish to BPD, but he overcame it with the sheer force of rational logic. And since this is a true story (dramatised of course) I just found it inspired me to apply the same logic to my own problems. No matter how true my perception seems, I can always check it against logic.

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