Melvin Udall

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As humans, we are all able to recognize within ourselves traits that may seemingly pertain to a myriad of psychological disorders. We often are quick to label and jest about aspects of our personalities, excusing our quirks and differences by using expressions like “I’m so OCD about that” or “she’s so bipolar sometimes.” But when we take a moment to stop and think, the way we lightly apply terms such as OCD and bipolar do not begin to encompass the reality of what these disorders mean for some. Many times we make light of somber subjects due to lack of understanding, and it is for this reason why we must strive to comprehend the immense burden behind psychological disorders. We must strive to understand that psychological disorders consume the lives of individuals just as physical illnesses do, and desist from labeling our “abnormal” personality traits with words we have no grasp upon. At this point you may be asking yourself, how one would ever understand psychological illness without experiencing it first hand? Because we do not all plan to become psychologists and psychiatrists with the opportunity to interact with clinically diagnosed patients, one of the best ways to expand one’s knowledge of psychological disorders is through film. Being able to contextually see the symptoms and life course of a psychological disorder within a film character, allows for an increase in appreciation and empathy within real life situations.

As Good As it Gets, a 1997 romantic comedy directed by James Brooks offers an excellent example of a film depicting a psychological disorder.
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