Sophie's Dark Phoenix Will Embody Schizophrenia and Dissociative Identity Disorder

Sophie's Dark Phoenix Will Embody Schizophrenia and Dissociative Identity Disorder

Many of you have probably seen the new Dark Phoenix trailer. If you haven’t, please correct that by watching it above and then come back… we’re not angry at you for not seeing it, we’re just disappointed…

;)

So far, it has received mixed reactions. Some people are invigorated by it — to see one of the most powerful Omega mutants reemerge in a new trilogy is, dare we say, UNCANNY! — while others are concerned that it will go the way of its disappointing predecessor, X-Men: The Last Stand. In any case, something we’re excited about is the initiative that Sophie Turner (Jean Grey) took in preparing for her role; specifically, researching mental health conditions similar to what a possessed Jean Grey might experience. According to her interview with Screen Rant at New York Comic Con:

As soon as Simon [Kinberg] kind of told me what the movie was about we just started straight away sharing ideas, sharing materials. Simon gave me a big, big book on schizophrenia. I actually found this thing online, on YouTube. And it was just kind of repeating, repeating, repeating, what it sounds like being a schizophrenic. So I used to walk around town with all these voices in my head. Kind of feel it out. And see what it felt like. We also explored Multiple Personality Disorder as well. And what that feels like to kind of wake up and not know what you did, What happened and that shear panic and how that affects you. Jean is just... this movie... She’s so, so, layered. She’s so complex in this movie. I really don’t think that I’ve done more research for a role than for this one and I loved every minute of it.
— https://screenrant.com/xmen-dark-phoenix-jean-grey-mental-health-research/

Not bad!! You’d be surprised at how many movies (including ones that are straight up ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH CONDITIONS) do not do their homework (or consult with professionals), so we’re pretty impressed! According to Sophie, Dark Phoenix will embody Schizophrenia and Dissociated Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder), both conditions within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). To do so accurately would be a big undertaking, but if anyone has the acting chops, it’d be Sophie! So let’s consider what we might see in Sophie’s portrayal of JG/DP.

Let’s start with Schizophrenia and how that might appear in Jean. In general, it is a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves, and it involves the presence (positive) and absence (negative) of a number of symptoms:

1) Hallucinations: Seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling or feeling things that are not there. In the comics, the Phoenix Force (entity that makes Jean the Dark Phoenix) possessed a number of hosts before Jean (back to the Stone Age!). It is possible that Jean may experience visions from these past host that overlap with her current reality, making her doubt her sanity

“You… you seem fine with the sky being on fire… I guess we’re just cool with this?”

“You… you seem fine with the sky being on fire… I guess we’re just cool with this?”

2) Delusions: Believing things that are obviously not true. Based on past portrayals of Dark Phoenix, we might expect Jean to experience persecutory delusions (believing the X-Men are out to kill or quarantine her), religious delusions (believing she has a connection with a powerful force or deity…which she does) and somatic delusions (perhaps looks at her skin and seeing it boil or crawl).

“Xavier wants to control me? No.. I won’t let them”

“Xavier wants to control me? No.. I won’t let them”

3) Confusion, poor concentration and disorganized thoughts: Just as it sounds. Here’s a scenario we might expect— in the middle of a task or battle, Jean becomes disoriented, prompting a teammate (probably Scott) to shout “Jean! Jean are you OK?? JEAN?!”, with their voice echoing into silence as she stares blankly with a scared face.

I know this is Shinji fro Evangelion but whatevs — only god can judge me.

I know this is Shinji fro Evangelion but whatevs — only god can judge me.

4) Tics or repetitive movements: Perhaps sub-exorcist spastic motions, especially while she’s asleep, indicating possession.

5) Depression, anhedonia (lack of pleasure), withdrawal and unkempt: This may be the final symptom she experiences. Although she’ll try to fight back against the possessive force at first, she will eventually break down entirely, perhaps after a depressive episode, allowing the Phoenix to take over entirely.

This. Is. Acting!

This. Is. Acting!

In addition to Schizophrenia, we will for sure see Dissociate Identity Disorder (DID) in full display. Now, DID is a controversial diagnosis, as it’s very difficult to control for malingering (faking symptoms) and is based largely on case studies. BUT, given that Jean will LITERALLY have another entity in her, we’ll consider it legit. For Jean, it may present as her going “in and out” or her regular and Phoenix form, experiencing memory loss each time she switches (i.e., blacking out), gradually becoming more and more detached from herself and her loved ones (emotionally and conceptually), having increased difficulty managing stress (providing moments for the Phoenix to rise) and eventually confronting and taking on a new identity as the Phoenix (which we may otherwise call dissociative fugue).

RaaaAAWWWwwrrrr!!!

RaaaAAWWWwwrrrr!!!

Whatever the case may be, we are SO proud of Sophie’s approach to preparing for this role, and believe that she will do Dark Phoenix justice!! Now, back to Game of Thrones :)

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