Susana Kaysen, a 17 year old teenager voluntarily checks herself in at Claymoore after a confrontation with a psychiatrist. Claymoore is a psychiatric facility for the affluent in the 1960’s. She initially took fifty aspirin with a bottle of vodka for a headache and denies about killing herself. As a result, her parents ask a psychiatrist friend to see Susana and to take her to Claymoore. During her two year stay at Claymoore, she meets other patients whom she developed relationships with. She learns about the nature of mental illness, the cruelty and compassion of other people and the obstacles that women face in society. After a few months, Susana finally starts talking to her psychiatrist ...view middle of the document...
3) Identity disturbance characterized by markedly and persistently unstable self image or sense of self.
4) Impulsivity as characterized by binge eating, drinking and engaging in unsafe sex.
5) Recurrent suicidal behavior or self- mutilating behavior. These are very common and often the reason why the individual seeks for help.
6) Emotional instability as displayed by intense episode of dysphoria, irritability and anxiety which last for few hours to few days.
7) Chronic feelings of emptiness.
8) Inappropriate, intense anger that results in verbal outburst and extreme sarcasm.
9) Transient, stress-related paranoid thoughts. These episodes occur most frequently in response to a real or imagined abandonment. Symptoms tend to be transient, lasting minutes or hours.
One characteristic of borderline personality disorder is a pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships. Susana never had any friends before she was placed in the institution with the exception of a few men whom she slept with a time or two. Her relationship with her parents was also difficult. Susana has grown up in an unstable environment. Having a father that is controlling and has intense anger and inappropriately aggressive in most situation and a mother who is highly unstable in mood shifting, make Susana’s relationship with her parents complicated. Although, there is no evidence that her parents have borderline personality disorder, it is known that if a parent or guardian has the condition, it is more likely that the child will develop it also. Susana’s unstable interpersonal relationship continued after she was admitted at Claymoore. She befriended Lisa, one of the patients in the ward who was a sociopath. Susana goes from thinking that Lisa is the perfect friend to hating everything about her.
Impulsivity is also one of the criteria of borderline personality disorder. Susana displayed this characteristic by having sex with her high school professor and having sex with two people in the same day while in the mental institution. In addition, she also broke out of the hospital and she aids in drugging a nurse to sleep to steal a guitar. She was stealing her medical file also. She was also seen binge drinking, once while she was still in high school and another time with Lisa. Susana also showed self mutilating behaviors such as taking fifty aspirin with a bottle of vodka and cutting her wrist, which was the reason she ended up in a mental institution. She denied that she was trying to kill herself. She claimed that she has no bones in her wrist. These gestures fall on the criteria of suicidal and self-mutilating behavior.
Susana had a hard time being who she is. She doesn’t really know who she is. This meets the criteria of identity disturbance. As an example, Susana didn’t fit in when she was in high school. She fell asleep on her high school graduation. She had little interest on the norms of prize-giving or anything to do with...