HOW DID THE MOVIE INDUSTRY SHAPE OUR VISION OF MENTAL HEALTH ?

Updated: Oct 5



The pandemic has isolated us a lot. Maybe you watched a lot of films during the periods of confinement.

We all know movies that address the issue of mental illness. Therefore, we all agree that they shaped our vision of what it is supposed to look like. Until we got to do our researches.


Here is a new serie of posts about the myths and reality on mental diseases. Let us debunk them.


Today’s movie is (wait for it …) SPLIT.

If you are new to this world, let me introduce you SPLIT, an amazing movie involving James McAvoy and numerous versions of himself. The film portrayed an unknown or rather misunderstood illness : Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID).

In the movie Kevin is the host to no less than 23 entities, and we get to know/learn more about seven of them: Kevin, Dennis, Hedwig, Miss Patricia, Barry and the beast.


So, was this depiction of a mental illness, right?




Sometimes Yes!

- Their birth: We learn about Kevin’s life, and get to know more about his childhood, which was quite the traumatic kind of one. In fact, researches converge on the fact that DID is a consequence of different traumatisms affecting the child in his early childhood. Let me explain : we basically create our personality and become "one" during an age window from 5 to 9 approximately. During this period, kids living traumatic events are prone to a split mind: the personalities that are supposed to merged together never do so and create different entities with sometimes (most frequently) different lives, memories, wills, purpose, minds…


- The mechanism: During the movie you learn about the different entities living in the body. At different moments, you can see Barry or Hedwig fronting (they come to front) when the others are “backing down”. Yup, you got it right. People living with DID are sharing testimonies about how an entity can front or back depending on their trigger or their role in the “body”.


Where were they wrong?!

- The beast: here we go, the unfamous Beast of the movie. Basically, what they are saying is that SPLIT and at some extend the DID, is the proof of our mind’s strength meaning: if your mind wants you to be stronger, it can reshape or change your bone structure, muscles, velocity, etc… Alas, this is a myth. No research on DID proves the fact that the disease can lead to physical/ anatomical mutation.


- The mechanism (part 2): In the movie, Kevin is clearly the main character. He is the one holding everything in place. In real life there is no “main” or “real” entity. There can be a host, the one who fronts the most, and sometime has a social ability to hold responsibility for the entire group. In fact, they hardly call the body as such. Just think of a building with few roommates. The mind of a person with a DID is more of a structure than a body with an owner and different people taking/forcing the lead.


There is so much more to says about this movie and the consumption of what DID is.

Movies are a window open on our everyday life through the lens of the human mind and imagination.


Make sure you get to keep an eye on both sides, especially when talking about the psyche.

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