As Javier Trevino (2014) cites the fourth stage of healing is coming to grips with long-term depression. Something changes as you go through recurring episodes and perhaps find that treatment isn’t getting the job done. The patient begins to associate depression as part of who they are. Karp (1994) terms it as a ‘depression identity’ which is developed. Once this identity is acknowledged, the patient will need to come to terms with living with the illness indefinitely.
This is where Alison comes in.
Alison is like an unwanted room mate, who follows Andie everywhere she goes.
Karp’s research finds that sufferers of Depression usually go in one of two broad directions as they adapt to the illness: which is to deal with it constructively or passively.
Dealing with the illness constructively, is to put a framework for when the Depression takes over. By dealing with the illness constructively, the sufferer is able to prepare for the worst, but still able to lead a functional life. Conversely, dealing with the Depression in a passive way, is to mask the effects of Depression, sometimes with stimulants such as alcohol, or to overwork oneself.
In the film, Andie acknowledges Andie’s presence, but she chooses to ignore Alison, sometimes fleeing from her: like in the toilet scene.
Above: Andie hiding in the toilet.
Towards the end of the film, Andie takes control of her Depression: as scene in the painting scene (where she transforms Alison’s mess), and during the pier scene, where she takes Alison’s hands and calms her down.
Finally, Andie walks away from Alison, signalling that she’s moving on with her life.
- Karp, David A. “The Dialectics Of Depression”. Symbolic Interaction 17.4 (1994): 341-366. Web. 6 May 2017.
- Treviño, A. Javier. Investigating Social Problems. 1st ed. Sage, 2015. Print.