The Black Balloon From a Psychological Perspective

The health of an individual must of essence encompass all these facets to live a quality life. Generally, the problem of health is one of the main at present times and it should be paid a lot of attention of. Psychologists have made research seeking to understand the dynamics of healthy living and whether it is only limited to the physical well-being or it is a wider scope. It goes without saying that the health of each individual, in particular, depends not only on them but also on the attitude of the surroundings and the action of the governments in corresponding existing situations. To understand the psychological perspectives attached to health we consider a case of an Australian movie namely the Black Balloon that presents a peculiar but rather unfortunate situation of a family that is faced with a reality check experience. Health psychology revolves around the wide area of the cultural, psychological, biological and environmental factors that encompass the prevention and the physical well-being of an individual.

It would be pragmatic to begin with a brief characterization of the main characters of the movie. There are several characters coming into play such as Charlie, Jackie, Simon, Thomas and Maggie. Charlie is the elder brother of Thomas, born of Simon and Maggie, whereas Jackie is seemingly Thomass girlfriend. The family is confronted with the hurdle of living with an autistic teenager, Charlie, who seems like a child in a mans body. In particular, Charlie expresses awkward behavior that irritates his younger brother who becomes the center of attention even in his new school.

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Amidst this challenge is the fact that the mother of the family is expectant of a third child sooner than later. Maggie has developed pre-eclampsia even as her time of delivery nears and is consequently advised to take bed rest. According to Brown (2003), it is a condition that usually occurs in a state of pregnant women whereby the incumbent experiences high blood pressure with unusual protein content in the urine. If not kept under check, the condition could lead to eclampsia which endangers both the mother and the unborn child.

It is in light of these settings that we seek to explore the psycho-social factors that surround Maggies scenario as an expectant mother, diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and of necessity required to take care of a child with a special need. The report also illustrates how several psychological theories and models would be applied to the case under perspective, and also seeks to relate the different situations to the age and gender of the incumbent.

One of the influences on health behavior concerns the personality traits of an individual. It all depends on the way one takes and analyzes a situation. There are those people who will interpret an event positively (optimists) and those who interpret events negatively (pessimists). The former are resilient enough to withstand and bounce back in the face of adversity. This mother of two is depicted as a highly spirited character in the mentioned movie. She demonstrates a model family woman who through sheer fortitude manages a seemingly unmanageable role of taking care of her autistic son, amidst her need for rest at her stage in pregnancy. She has faced a medical complication that could be a potential threat to her life. She perfectly depicts a loving mother who asserts to her son Thomas that Charlie was an equal party in the family that may not enjoy the same privileges as him, and thus needed to be accepted. Despite the dilemma that these psychosocial dynamics elicit, she brings out the picture of a responsible woman that does not run away from her obligation as a mother but rather helps wove a shaky and sensitive relationship between her two elder sons.

As it is Maggie is in her middle adulthood stage of development as posited by Erick Erickson (Arlene and Harder 2009). This is seen in her tireless efforts to instill character in her son Thomas. In this stage, individuals significantly get involved in perpetuating and transmitting values through the family (taming the kids) and working to establish a stable environment (Arlene and Harder 2009). As further indicated by Erick (Arlene and Harder 2009), strength and optimism as portrayed by Maggie are derived from showing care for others to make society a better place, an idea referred to as generativity.

There is no wonder that there is nothing to be compared with the love of a mother for her children. As a mother, she is required to show impartiality in the way that she treats her two teenagers. While at home, she takes care of the autistic Charlie and constantly affirms her love for him. She shows an indefatigable sense of care and concern in that even after being directed to take a rest she still insists on ensuring Charlies comfort. On the other hand, he sternly disciplines Thomas to an extent of even slapping him so as to instill a sense of acceptance and love for his elder brother. Though Thomas sees as if Charlies needs have taken priority in the family as a result of his condition, Maggie his mother did organize a memorable birthday for him.

Maggie has further demonstrated love for Charlie in his condition that over time she endeavored to teach him to sign language since Charlie could not speak. While Jackie asks Thomas how to greet Charlie, he illustrates the technique which augers perfectly well with Charlie. According to Cherry (2011), this is called cognitive psychology and is often applied in mental cases as of Charlie where therapists and counselors use these techniques to explain and treat a variety of illnesses.

Though Maggie has endeavored to educate her two children, she seems incapacitated to do much about Charlies special needs. The scenario is exacerbated by the fact that Charlie is dumb yet they attend the same school with his brother who has no physical challenge. This may be explained as a socio-economic disparity (Hertzman et al 2009) that determines the resources at ones disposal. It would be advantageous to secure a special school for Charlie that would attend to his particular needs but due to economic strains it proves to be rather difficult and Charlie has to live in a normal environment that is not sensitive for his special needs.

The movie illustrates a rather strong bond of affection between the couple. As an army officer, Simon is often not at home. Her commitment to him though drives her to attend to the family despite her condition. This bonding has cultivated a sense of acceptance even in Simon who exclaims that even in his unchangeable condition, Charlie remains his own and that he would be mean if he did not look after his own. It depicts a sense of mutual respect and responsibility where each knows their limit. It goes without saying that this sense and feeling is the most essential in building good and trusted family relationships. She is quick to own up when reprimanded by her husband of her failure to observe the doctors advice.

It stands to reason that there are some particular demands that a disabled child may have, despite ones time and energy. Undoubtedly, bringing up two teenagers whereby one is fighting for his way and recognition and the other is physically challenged is an uphill task for an expectant mother. Maggie has to develop means to adapt or equivalently cope with the situation in order to live a befitting quality life. According to Folkman and Lazarus, (cited in Cummings et al1991, p.92) coping is psychologically viewed as constantly changing cognitive and behavioural to manage specific external or internal demands that are appraised as taxing. These psychological mechanisms expended consciously by the victim are usually termed as coping strategies (Barkway 2009) meant to alleviate a particular circumstance such as stress (Carver and Connor 2010, pp679-704). According to Carver and Connor (2010, pp679-704), the coping responses are partly influenced by personality (habitual traits) but also partly by the social context, particularly the nature of the stressful environment.

Though, the movie does not clearly depict Maggie as a stressed up character, it is almost certain that she is under strain and has to employ external measures to meet the demands that come along with parenting. She is faced with a challenge of one teenager with autism, a mental health problem that disorients ones coordinating capability that is very difficult to manage being a person of a weak will, shortly speaking, being a pessimistically oriented person. Charlie who is 18 years old often finds himself in rather abnormal behaviour such as excreting on the carpet and proceeds to smear it. In other circumstances, he dashed out of the house half naked and during Thomas birthday he acted rather inhumanly to the extent that there emerged a fight that culminated to him being hospitalised. This placed a taxing demand on Maggie to ensure the security and identity of Charlie amidst rejection from a frustrated teenager and a brother. Having to attend to Charlie strained her emotionally, though at the impulse of love, she forges on to affirm his place in the family.

According to the Australian Medical Association (2007), among the many social determinants of health is stress that may result from both social and psychological circumstances as in Maggies cases. Maggie tries to create the most comfortable conditions for a disabled child but it is not really easy for her as it does not depend just on her. Accordingly, the inappropriate and regular activation of the bodys stress response impacts negatively on the immune system as long-term feelings of stress makes one more vulnerable to such conditions as infections, hypertension and depression (Australian Medical Association 2007). It is in this note that the medics attending to Maggie in her pre-eclampsia condition that advised her to take a bed rest in order to mitigate against it leading to eclampsia and a possible loss of life.

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