Empathy is termed as the capability of understanding people’s feelings. This is constantly cultivated through individuals’ lives in many ways. Challenging prejudices, conversing with one another, inspiring social transformation, active listening, and knowledge regarding oppositions are all the customs fostering empathic growth (Gigliotti et al., 2012, 1:38:20). Watching movies seems to be another means of tapping into emotional intelligence. For instance, I remember the time I shed tears due to wrapping up into the challenges encountered by my favorite character making me become emotional and overwhelmed while sympathizing with the character. This indicates how one can become empathetic.
Multiple Factors of Diversity
Upon the release of Pat Solitano from his stay in Baltimore, Maryland, at the Psychiatric facility of Karel, he returned to the middle-class of suburban Pennsylvania. Pat stayed with the homemaker, his family Dolores, and Pat Senior, who had lost his profession and resorted to illegal bookmaking for him to win more money to enable him to open a restaurant. During his stay, he was motivated by the words, “You have to do everything you can. You have to work your hardest. And if you do, if you stay positive, you have a shot at a silver lining” (Gigliotti et al., 2012, 1:40:09). His stay at the facility enabled him to catch his wife Nikki in a shower with her colleague, a male teacher working together at school, leading Pat to beat him to near death. Since that incident, Pat has been consequently diagnosed with a bipolar disorder causing unusual mood changes. Nevertheless, he feels that he has developed the lives new lessons by getting silver linings in all things while finding meaningful links with others.
Before the appearance of an improved and new Pat Solitano, an individual having an undiagnosed bipolar disorder was navigating daily as he could. Pat had earlier contacted the police reporting that his wife and the history teacher were scheming against him by misusing funds from their local high school. The allegation was proved as a delusion, untrue, and a sign of bipolar disorder even though it was unknown at that moment. Based on the incident of the shower and through the conversation with Tiffany Maxwell, Pat also suffered mood swings. Tiffany Maxwell was discussing how Pat’s wife yearned for him to control moods and lose weight. In addition, the decisions taken by Pat during the shower incident led to many restraining orders, such as separating from his wife, lack of freedom, and losing his home. He must cope with the losses and the prompt of hearing their wedding song from Stevie Wonder, “My Cheri Amour,” sending him in a slight rage when played at the therapist’s office (Gigliotti et al., 2012, 1:40:32). He seems reluctant to take his medication since it makes him feel bloated and foggy. Pat developed illusions that led him to shout that “Nikki’s waiting for me to get in shape and get my life in order. And then she’s gonna be with me. And that’s better than any medication” (Gigliotti et al., 2012, 1:40:40). This seems to be the ultimate reason for not taking medication trusting that positivity may be sufficient for him to feel better.
Challenges and Human Relationships
The personnel in the life of Pat have played a great role to him. Throughout his extreme emotional outbursts, Pat feels loved by persons near him and decides to get the best from the new friends he interacts with. Pat’s parents share loving connections with their children and each other. He reconnects with his best friend Ronnie then gets in touch with Danny, his newest comrade from a psychiatric facility. The budding friendship he had with Tiffany, who is the sister-in-law of Ronnie, is growing. Moreover, the budding relationship with his therapist Dr. Cliff Patel is vital to Pat since he gets a comradery connection over football after meeting at the Eagles game.
Pat still yearns to be with Nikki. He makes the effort of becoming better and improving himself, hoping to win her back. Throughout the film course, Pat learns to rely on the friends in various healthy habits. He spends time bonding with the father, attending therapy lessons and discussing his experiences, feelings, and thoughts, communicating with Danny, his friend, by writing him a letter while waiting to go out. Furthermore, he is concerned with Jake, his brother; even though Jake seems to do well on his own, Pat expresses his brotherly love (Gigliotti et al., 2012, 59:55). As their bond with Tiffany increases during their regular practice of entering the dance competition, they even fall in love being the unexpected scary idea that he embraces till the end. In the entire film, Pat is portrayed transforming the former relationships he had into a positive story while developing new relations.
Emotional intelligence includes one’s capability of managing their feelings in positive manners to build self-awareness and social awareness. Empathy is regarded as a vital emotional intelligence asset that permits one to link with other people in reflective ways (Gigliotti et al., 2012, 1:51:40). In this film, Pat Solitano was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, experiencing delusions, racing thoughts, extreme emotional outbursts, and possibly other symptoms that are not evident.
Furthermore, having reactions and thoughts which do not connect with ones key character values might be incredibly perplexing (Gigliotti et al., 2012, 1:56:48). Pat is portrayed as a good individual. He loves his friends and family but living with undiagnosed mental illness makes others believe that he is a terrible human. The only means for Pat to escape the extreme thoughts was through violent outbursts and manic. Pat was feeling deeply angered and anxious during the episodes and liberally apologetic afterward. The troubling incidences made him argue with the school principal, Nancy, where he was employed; the behaviors of Nikki made him feel inferior, leading to bipolar disorder. After getting the best treatment at a psychiatric facility while proceeding with therapy on an outpatient basis, not everything turned out magically better. This takes time, therapy, effort, and medication for one to improve daily.
In Pat’s Own Words
I’m sorry. I understand I have done many stupid things. So, I’m coming to terms with these. I feel sorry for hurting you, Jake, Dad, Mom, and Nikki. This is like the switch in my brain going off, and I cannot control myself in making stupid decisions. I think the rage bubble has been build in me; however, sometimes it is not even rage, I am just totally overwhelmed, and I do not know how I can act. I think that is what bipolar is like. I feel embarrassed as I yearn to perform well. When I think about the incident of getting Nikki and Doug in the shower, it hurts me, but I am struggling to recover. I know we all messed up in our lives but I have recovered from my past behaviors. If I could have started my workouts and therapy before, I could be in good health, but how could I identify my issue. I feel I became confused. When growing up, sometimes my father blew up. He is known as the explosion person. I thought this was his personality, and maybe I also turned to be that way as it was the way I was exposed. I guess my father is bipolar. I find it funny when my father in therapy argued with Dr. Patel on the games rather than talking about his feelings.
Currently, I feel superior. Things seem brighter as there is a silver lining in my life. I could have never said this before but I should be healthier. Everything will be well again as I will do all to achieve this desire. My rage has gone. I think it is the therapy and medication doing their work. I have realized that I love running as it calms me while assuring me of a silver lining. Sometimes I feel I have hard moments to tackle, outbursts, but I focus on positive emotions. Each day has new things, and I believe one day I will get back to work. I also hope that I will reunite with Nikki as I remind myself daily that nothing will hinder me from getting back to my normal life. Excelsior meaning “I’m gonna take all this negativity, and I’m gonna use it as fuel, and I’m gonna find a silver lining” (Gigliotti et al., 2012, 1:53:48). I am remaking myself.
If Pat was my customer, I will also sympathize with him as he seems to encounter many challenges that made him to act differently. I cannot imagine the time I took any action when enraged, but when found in Pat’s situation, I will not hesitate. When listening to his conversation, and imagine how it feels when having similar emotions, this will permit one to assist Pat to come into terms with the reality. His emotions will make me sympathize with him and support him. Having mental illness might not be universal. Two persons living with bipolar disorder, or depression, or anxiety might not experience similar reactions or symptoms to daily situations.
In Pat’s case, he was brought up by a father who is likely to explode during situations. This is evident when he was barred from entering the stadium due to being involved in many fights. This might have an impact on the manner one copes when growing whether they do not or have a mental disorder. The situation of Pat Solitano highlighted many features when growing up as he witnessed his father’s outbursts and the manner, they might have impacted his behaviors. Generally, I feel relieved sharing my incident while viewing Pat’s experience as normal since many symptoms highlighted in the film seem to be part of my daily feelings such as being anxious, confused, and scared. This makes me find comfort as I feel that every individual has their hard times, and this is essential to get meaningful connections and solutions. I believe that empathizing increases an individual’s social awareness and self-awareness. Therefore, it is vital to be a well-rounded person.
Gigliotti, D., Cohen, B., & Gordon, J. (Producers), & Russell, D. O. (Director). (2012). Silver linings playbook [Film]. Weinstein Company.