‘Welcome to Me’ is movie from heaven as it depicts the main character as having Borderline Personality Disorder without making them a serial killer. Small wins!
The main character Alice (Kristen Wiig) has a highly unstable and dysfunctional self-image. She spends her days re-watching VHS tapings of The Oprah Show, while obsessively lip syncing/mouthing along to them.
Then she wins the lottery for 86 Million dollar and decides to go off her meds. With her winnings, she decides to pay homage to her idol Oprah by leveraging two struggling producers to start her own live-broadcasted TV Show. It’s called Completely Me, and it becomes a sensation. And I feel like the “sensation” part is a nod to the viral streak of popular shows that constantly depict people in a terrible light (ex. Jersey Shore, Catfish, The Bachelor #34754739).
This quirky plot line lends itself well to portraying how the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) can affect everyday life. They include impulsive, risky, and self-destructive behaviors (ex. over sharing her traumas on a live tv show) to unstable career plans and goals (she refuses to create themes or plans for each show). When Alice is asked about the plot of the show, she insists that it be based on her life and opinions. It’s called ‘Welcome To Me.’
She literally begins with no plan of action and becomes a sensation by broadcasting her bizarre opinions and reliving her life trauma in skits (which ends up being more like SNL than Dr. Phil). She talks about her interests (which somehow includes neutering dogs, which she learns to do on live tv) and demonizing her friends through inaccurate reenactments (which they of course see).
I was particularly drawn to this movie because my older sister is remarkably untreated and unmedicated for her Borderline Personality Disorder. Some of the delusions, including being self-absorbed and the very noticeable lack of empathy that she exudes (I’m not being mean, they are just symptoms) were well defined in this movie. In my life, my sister also got a large sum of money, went off her meds, and engaged in risky behavior. I think that ‘Welcome To Me’ did a great job at exhibiting some of the challenges that BPD sufferers encounter while keeping it within a comedic vein.
The sheer inappropriateness of it all is truly the definition of my experience with my sister who is regularly broadcasting her socially unpopular opinions and politically incorrect morals and values- anywhere we go. In fact, she enjoys talking about jail, drugs and stripping at family events and funerals. As for empathy or interest in others, she has truly never asked me how I am, about my job (or where I work), or if I’m seeing anyone (I have been dating someone for over a year). These sentiments are depicted beautifully by Alice’s best friend, Gina, when she visits her in the hospital. She has a breakdown about how little interest Alice has for her, how few questions she asks, and how hard it is to always be there for someone who doesn’t reciprocate interest in mutual support. That is why I relate most to the best friend in this movie.
I think this is a good movie to see to understand the real-world effects that symptoms can cause, without viewing the person as a monster. For me, it was like watching part of my life on film and it hit home pretty hard.
This post was created with the help of Grammarly.