May Day

May Day. It's the first of May - a day for the anonymous gift of flowers... a tradition vaguely rooted in Celtic history. Or it's a distress signal. And if the voices in your head are saying "Mayday, mayday, mayday," there is a very logical explanation. May is National Mental Health Month.

If you refer to yourself in third person - this month is for you. If you believe that Elvis lives next door - this month is for you. If you can only eat food in even quantities - this month is for you. If you have an irrational fear of bald people, 100% fruit juices, and awkward pauses............... (sound of crickets chirping) this month is for you.

To help celebrate NMHM, I'm going to list my favorite mental disorder movies. Here are 12 movies to help you feel better about your crazy self. There's a variety of psychological disorders here, and there should also be a good mix of genre's... mystery, action, comedy, horror. Hopefully something for each of your mood swings.

1. What about Bob: A multi-phobic man (and possibly bipolar) arrives at his psychiatrist’s vacation home. The psychiatrist’s family loves Bob. Bob drives his psychiatrist insane.

2. Conspiracy Theory: Mel Gibson is paranoid, delusional, schizophrenic, concocts wild conspiracies, and thinks the government is out to get him. It’s not his fault… a secret government experiment made him that way.

3. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape: Johnny Depp’s mom is morbidly obese and his little brother is mentally disabled. He’s a little stressed out… but who can blame him.

4. As Good as It Gets: Obsessive-compulsive man falls in love and makes fun of gay people.

5. I Am Sam: Sean Penn is mentally deficient. He’s got the mental capacity of a seven year old. He has a seven year old daughter who is bright for her age. A social worker takes the daughter away and Sean fights to regain custody (like you couldn’t see that coming).

6. Falling Down: Michael Douglas is slightly paranoid. Michael Douglas is stuck in traffic. Michael Douglas is suffers mental breakdown. Michael Douglas abandons his car in traffic and goes on a rampage through Los Angeles.

7. Identity: A psychopathic killer has multiple personalities; each personality is crazy. And a bunch of people die at an abandoned motel in the middle of a rain storm. I wonder... who's the killer?

8. Memento: Confused? To make you feel like you forget stuff, the movie plays out in reverse chronological order. He tattoos himself to help him remember important things. But he can’t remember anything that happened over five minutes ago. He’s trying to find his wife’s killer. Lenny has anterograde amnesia – short term memory loss.

9. Benny & Joon: Mary Stuart Masterson is a quirky unbalanced individual who likes to start fires. Johnny Depp is socially awkward unbalanced character who can’t write, but can do stellar tricks with his hat. Wouldn’t they make a cute couple? Bonus points for being filmed in Spokane.

10. Martian Child: A single man (and sci-fi author) adopts a kleptomaniac little boy who thinks he’s from Mars.

11. Fight Club: A man with a boring life has insomnia. He meets Tyler Durden, a hyperactive anarchist whack job with a nihilistic streak. They get in a fight. They become friends and form a club. They make soap. Surprise ending. (they’re the same person). I hope I didn’t ruin it for anybody.

12. Rain Man: Tom Cruise is type cast as a jerk whose life is unsettled by his older brother – an autistic savant – who inherited all of their rich dad’s money.

So if you're feeling a bit loony... or perhaps out of sync this month - rent a movie, pop some popcorn, and be glad you're not one of the characters profiled in the movies above. Hollywood makes a great therapist.

P.S. Mental illness makes compelling plot lines. What's your favorite movie about mental disorders? (you can use one above... or suggest your own)

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