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An Angel at My Table

CastKerry Fox, Alexia Keogh, Karen Fergusson, Iris Churn
Year released1990
Spoiler alert
Blog entry

This story of the early life of New Zealand poet Janet Frame suggests that she may have suffered from shyness, anxiety, or, at worst, Social Phobia, likely misdiagnosed as Schizophrenia (probably what may have been called simple type at the time) through many hospital stays over a period of 8 years. Only after she enters a hospital in London does she learn that she does not suffer from Schizophrenia. In fact we never see symptoms that would suggest a diagnosis of Schizophrenia.

0:21 suggestion of Physical Abuse of a Child off camera
0:35 Janet learns that her sister Myrtle has drowned.
1:08 Janet freezes with apparent anxiety when expected to perform as a teacher for an "inspector," then she fleas from the classroom.
1:14 Janet is taken to a psychiatric hospital after her teacher asks her about overdose with aspirin, apparently a suicide attempt, she has described in an autobiography.
1:15 We see a sign "psychiatric ward". Janet refuses to leave the hospital.
1:17 Hospital dayroom, patients with disorganized behaivors; later, outside the hospital Janet's sister reads about schizophrenia that it has also been called dementia praecox
1:21 Janet learns that her sister Isabelle has drowned.
1:24 Another psychiatric hospital
1:25 ECT without anesthesia, as it likely would have been administered at the time. We see tonic and clonic phases accurately portrayed, but I am not sure the scream as the button is pushed is likely to have occurred in reality. She is said to have undergone more than 200 treatments.
1:30 Janet's doctor recommends leukotomy
1:31 Janet in an isolation room at a psychiatric hospital; later her doctor tells her there will be no surgery, and she returns home
2:19 Janet gets herself admitted to a psychiatric hospital in London by talking about suicide
2:20 A London psychiatrist tells Janet she does not suffer from Schizophrenia, that some of her problems were likely caused by her experience of psychiatric hospitalization, and recommends that she continue to write.
2:28 Janet learns that her father has died.

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