Silver Linings Playbook

Why is it that you always have to see a movie more than once to catch its more subtle nuances and flesh out the characters?

I loved Silver Linings Playbook the first time I saw it. There were a few cringe-worthy scenes in which the bipolar lead would go off on a loud, profane, and often tangential rant, during which my husband glanced at me with a half-smile as if to say “See what I get to live with?” And I LOVED the scene in which Pat and Tiffany got to chatting about the different meds they’d taken in the past: I’ve had similarly animated discussions with my son’s mother-in-law (also BP) over the baked beans at family dinners while everyone sat back and watched us, like cats at a tennis match.

This time, however, I viewed the film with a more critical view of the relationship between Pat and his family, all of whom are rather rough around the edges, but Dad is by far the most challenging. In fact, he has many of the same issues as his son, but cannot seem to understand for the life of him where Pat’s coming from. Well, I don’t know about Pat, but I’d have issues with a family member who craps all over me and then gets offended when I complain about the stench.

In fact, I’m dealing with such an individual as we speak. Tonight, I found out that my closest relative, who’s headed for assisted living (courtesy of a fall and subsequent hip fracture), has her late husband’s snub-nosed .38 revolver hidden somewhere in her room at our house. She’s never even taken it out of its holster; its only value to her is that it DID belong to him, and thus holds some sentimental value.

Only one problem: assisted living facilities don’t allow firearms on the premises; she really has no other option than to give it up. None of her kids wants it, and they all live too far away to come and get it even if they did.

Now, I’ve wanted a gun since I took police firearms training awhile back—I once had a concealed-carry permit and was a pretty decent shot—but never got around to buying one. Not that I’d have gotten all butt-hurt if my relative had preferred to sell it, but it seemed to me that a good solution would be for me to keep the weapon. However, when I said as much, she declared loudly that she’d throw it in the river before she’d let me have it.

The reason? She didn’t like the fact that I wanted it… she hinted dramatically at her suspicion that if I were to go “mental” again, I might use the gun on myself.

I should mention that this relative is one of the only three people who know I briefly considered suicide a couple of years ago…..and now she was using this knowledge against me to announce in front of God, her roommate, and anyone who happened to be walking by that she thinks I can’t be trusted with a firearm. It’s apparently never occurred to her that there are enough pills in my medicine cabinet to kill me five times over, or that I would never in a million years leave a bloody mess for someone else to clean up. All that matters to her is some long-ago speculation about what it might be like if I weren’t here.

And as the story of Pat Solitano shows, it’s hard to focus on the silver linings in your future when your family insists on dragging you back to your past.

Published by bpnurse

I'm a retired registered nurse and writer who also happens to be street-rat crazy, if the DSM-IV.....oops, 5---is to be believed. I was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder at the age of 55, and am still sorting through the ashes of the flaming garbage pile that my life had become. Here, I'll share the lumps and bumps of a late-life journey toward sanity.... along with some rants, gripes, sour grapes and good old-fashioned whining from time to time. It's not easy being bipolar in a unipolar world; let's figure it out together.

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