Are my characters insane?

Okay, this is totally random, inspired by rachelmanija exercising her fledgling therapist muscles by diagnosing random fictional characters according to DSM-IV criteria.

Which, if any, of my characters have diagnosable psychological disorders?

I honestly don’t know; IANA psychiatrist, therapist, or anything else of the sort. The closest I’ve come is marrying a guy with an undergrad degree in psychology. But Miryo, Mirage, or Eclipse; Lune, Invidiana, Deven, Antony, Jack, Galen, Irrith, Eliza, Dead Rick — okay, that last one I’m sure has at least one certifiable issue, possibly more. Short story characters are also fair game, if any of those have been memorable enough for you. Hell, if you’ve played in a game with me, you can take a crack at my PCs, too. (No fair diagnosing Sagara with gender identity disorder. That one’s too easy.)

I suspect most of my protagonists, if not side characters, are too stable to really display anything DSM-worthy. But it amuses me to ask. 🙂

0 Responses to “Are my characters insane?”

  1. la_marquise_de_

    Well, I think Lune may well have some elements of PSTD. And Miryo and Mirage have personality issues.

    • Marie Brennan

      What’s PTSD-ish about Lune, exactly? (I have my own guesses, but a) my understanding of PTSD is very minimal and b) it’s interesting to hear how other people see the situation.)

      • la_marquise_de_

        It’s mainly in Midnight Never Come — her anxiety, her hyper-alertness and her mistrust. All highly necessary, though, in her circumstances.

        • Marie Brennan

          Yeah, it gets into the question of where the boundary is between “totally justified behavior that makes the individual better-equipped to survive her circumstances” and “dysfunctional behavior that gets in the way of her daily life.” (Dead Rick does an even bigger dance along that boundary, and probably falls off it rather decisively on the dysfunctional side at points.)

          I think Lune later develops some trauma around the inevitable loss of her Princes, but I don’t know if PTSD is the right term for that.

  2. janni

    I tend to assume many of the humans in my Faerie universe have some mix of PTSD and depression going on. Because having a forest attack you and destroy those you care about will do that.

    Add in a (large) bit of narcissism for the faerie folk (isn’t this true of many conceptions of the fey?), alongside their own post-traumatic issues.

  3. Anonymous

    May I respectfully suggest that the DSM-IV is a culturally- and temporally-bound monstrosity of more use to insurers than to either patients or those attempting to treat mental health conditions? (N.B. I’m really pissed off at the so-called “profession” for refusing to caution that most, if not all, of the diagnostic criteria are strongly influenced by the “native intellectual capacity” of both the patient and the diagnostician — that is, that a “native intellectual capacity” more than +/- 1σ from the “mean” results in inaccurate assessments.)

    As a specific example, consider a pope — any pope. Absent the knowledge that this is an individual who, after a significant term of service to a religious hierarchy, has been elected by senior members of that hierarchy as their leader, what diagnosis would one make for someone who proclaims his opinions as the final and infallible word of a deity whose existence is presumed and not backed by current and replicable evidence? And, further, who feels obliged to and justified in declaring war on unbelievers? It’s a toss-up as to whether the DSM criteria would point one more toward a megalomanic-family disorder, a schizophrenic-family disorder, or an adjustment-family disorder… but there’s no question at all that all popes would get pretty much the same treatment. (None of which is to suggest that there haven’t been a few loonies among them.)

    The biggest problem with the DSM-IV (and its predecessors, and its in-draft successor) is its presumption that the “mean” represents “health.” That may well be an argument for another time… but it’s an undoubted structural bias, and since fiction ordinarily concerns the exceptional in at least one aspect, it seems rather unlikely to be more than “amusing.”

    • Marie Brennan

      Oh, no argument here about the DSM-IV. It’s a moderately familiar standard, though, which makes it suitable for entertainment purposes. (And I’m not qualified to get into the discussion of what we might do to replace it for actual medical purposes.)

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