Film on borderline personality disorder screens in Ridgefield

November 12, 2016 GMT

For nearly a year, Regina, a 45-year-old with borderline personality disorder, allowed her life to be filmed. This included several sessions with her therapist, Gina Pulice, a licensed clinical social worker who now lives in Ridgefield.

Regina, who lives in New York City, is the main character in the 88-minute documentary film “Borderline,” which will screen at the Ridgefield Playhouse at 7 p.m.Tuesday.

Borderline personality disorder is a condition characterized by difficulties in regulating emotions, which can lead to severe, unstable mood swings, impulsivity and instability, poor self-image and stormy personal relationships, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

“Borderline” captures a time in Regina’s life when she was trying to find a job and create new relationships, while seeking answers from mental health professionals.

After the screening, the evening will conclude with a panel discussion between Regina; Rebbie Ratner, the film’s director; and Pulice and her husband, Dr. Aaron Krasner, a psychiatrist who works at Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan. Silver Hill is hosting the screening, which allowed it to be free to the public.

ADVERTISEMENT

“My dream would be if a handful of people who have the illness, whether they know it or not, relate to Regina’s experience and then they realize there is a treatment, that it’s not a death sentence ... and that there is hope for you and it’s not your fault,” Pulice said.

The disorder can manifest into destructive behavior, such as self-harm (cutting) or suicide attempts. It is estimated that 1.6 percent of adults living in the United States have the disorder, but it may be as high as 5.9 percent, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Regina tried to commit suicide for the first time when she was 5 years old.

The film offers viewers insight “into a misunderstood, highly stigmatized mental health diagnosis whose symptoms express the extremes of everyday human suffering. The film intimately explores Regina’s inner world as she exposes us to her thoughts, feelings, and concomitant behaviors,” according to a description of the film by its creators.

Ratner was diagnosed with the disorder when she was 39, after years of struggling and actively searching for answers about her mental health.

After receiving treatment, Ratner returned to graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin, where she had been pursing a master’s degree in filmmaking. She needed to make a film, so she decided to create one about borderline personality disorder.

Ratner ended up finding Regina through a Craigslist ad. The movie was co-produced by Suzanne Mitchell, who worked for a year at the Ridgefield Playhouse. The film has already been screened across the country, including in New York, Texas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Colorado and Oregon.

“Hopefully it increases people’s emotional literacy, even a modicum,” Ratner said. “I want borderline on the map ... I think it’s the common citizens, not the great clinician, that together will increase awareness and make change.”

For more information on “Borderline,” visit www.borderlinethefilm.com.