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normality of Susanna Kaysen

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

NORMALITY ESSAY ON SUSANNA KAYSEN Susanna Kaysen is an eighteen-year-old girl who has been sent to McLean Hospital to be treated for depression, and spends two years on the ward for teenage girls in the psychiatric hospital. Susanna's behaviour in the ward varies drastically from considerably normal to severely abnormal when she associates and befriends Lisa Rowe. The 'medical' criterion of normality suggests that normality is the absence of any medical or mental disorder while Abnormality is the presence of an illness that has a clear cause, obvious symptoms and a label. I chose this criterion to define Susanna's behaviour, because I think it is necessary to look at the medical side of her behaviour. Therefore according to this criterion of normality, Susanna is most certainly abnormal. She has a labeled mental illness and has obvious symptoms which accompany this label. These symptoms include her behaviour, which is dramatic and selfish and her mental incapability to function and cope with the demands of daily life. She falls asleep at her Graduation ceremony, uses casual sex as a distraction from her problems, carries out self-mutilating behaviour such as wrist banging, thinks and ...read more.

Middle

If Susanna were to do this at her house and treat her mother in this way she would be sent to her room or maybe even sent to see a councilor to discuss her problems. A problem with this approach though, is that it does not take into consideration how normal the actual environment is in the first place. For example a psychiatric hospital is considered an abnormal environment but yet people in this hospital are considered normal by the situational criterion because they are acting in accordance with the environment they have been placed in. A possible disorder that Susanna may have is 'Borderline Personality Disorder'. The symptoms which support this diagnosis are her theatrical behaviour and uncertain personality. Susanna carries out self-mutilating behaviour such as wrist banging, falls asleep at her Graduation ceremony, uses casual sex as a distraction from her problems, thinks and talks about death and suicide often, has visions of the past, tuning out when people try to talk to her, has drastic mood swings, has uncertainties about her self-image and becomes intensely angry when things don't go her way. ...read more.

Conclusion

But although this may have helped her, being institutionalized also made her disorder worse in a way. At the start because she was surrounded by mental patients she found it easier just to act out the disorder she had been labeled making her physical health worse. I think she would have recovered much earlier if she had just been seeing a therapist a couple of times a week, writing in her diary and became relieved of all the pressure from her parents and teachers. Labeling influences the behaviour of individuals and those around them quite drastically. When an individual is labeled with a certain disorder they begin to use the label to their advantage to get away with as many things as they can and get as much special treatment as they can. The people around them begin to either tread more carefully around the individual who has been labeled or begin to act the same as them to fit in. This may affect my diagnosis as when Susanna was labeled with a 'Borderline Personality Disorder' she may have just started acting like she had the disorder rather than actually truly having a mental illness. ...read more.

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