Guest Author - Gina Vetrone Wilson
Soaps are unrealistic. I get that. Every now and then a storyline comes along with a realistic twist; for example, a breast cancer scare or drug and alcohol use. These storylines are written with some realistic facts infused so that the storyline makes sense. Sometimes, however, certain realistic facts are left out of some storylines about important real life topics (repeatedly) and the number one victims are mental illness and mental hospitals.
The lack of realistic facts about this widespread issue may make it appear as if the writers are mocking mental illness. Many times the person suffering from a mental disorder in soap world is a psychotic killer whom will most likely return to town “cured” someday. This seems to happen the most on All My Children.
Let’s take Jonathon Lavery. He had a little temper, got a little emotional, and then starting knocking people off. He was eventually shot by Ryan, but Jonathon then detonated a bomb and faked his death. Ryan eventually found Jonathon when he found his sister Erin, who was caring for him. After his reign of terror, his brother Ryan admitted Jonathon to the hospital. It was discovered that Jonathon had a brain tumor and that the tumor was the reason that he had “gone crazy”. With the tumor removed, Jonathon was magically cured!
Then we have Annie Novak, once Mrs. Ryan Lavery, who came with a mental illness due to the abuse that she had suffered as a child. AMC managed to get that part right. The part that AMC got wrong? Oakhaven, the mental hospital that Annie was forced to stay in because, she too committed murder and attempted murder several times.
Mental hospitals are serious places with serious rules and serious procedures. If a patient is lucky to have a window in his or her room, there are bars on the window and that is just one example. These places are built for the unpredictable and freedom in any fashion is very limited. That is why I was so bothered when Aidan continued to just climb through the window of Annie’s room like he had purchased a season pass upon her admittance.
After months of the Aidan and Annie psycho drama, Annie did the near-impossible and escaped from Oakhaven. She was on the loose for a while and while attempting to kidnap her own child, saved Adam Chandler’s life. Annie tried to hide out in the vast expanse of the Chandler mansion but to no avail. She was apprehended and is currently being housed in the Pine Valley jail. I am guessing that if she can break out of Oakhaven with such ease, Annie should have no problem breaking out of the slammer, right?
I recently read a spoiler in which Ryan decides that Annie just may be cured after all. That leads me to one conclusion: Ryan must need some psychiatric help of his own!