Imaginary Psychiatric Conditions

Ever wondered what’s wrong with someone? Maybe a friend, maybe a random stranger you meet, maybe even yourself? Everyone likes to make judgements about what drives people, and in this blog and my other writing I aim to answer some of those questions and show people they can indeed read and understand others behaviour.

As I’m not actually qualified to diagnose anyone of anything it may seem odd to take my advice on this, however, due to my professional experience I am very good at knowing what makes people tick and indeed what particular issues they may be facing which do drive their behaviour. Behaviour isn’t always a mystery, it is often just a cause and effect situation, this happens and this is the response. It can of course be related to a complex condition too, but we can all assess to an extent what’s going on for some people.

Many times I have for the sake of humour made a vast generalised assessment.

“That guy clearly has Oppositional Defiance Disorder”

“Definitely a narcissistic personality disorder”

And of course…

“Quite a bit Autistic”

That one is a real point of contention, many people throw that around casually towards anyone who struggles socially or has a weird habit, but it is incredibly dismissive of those with Autism, a condition which has lifelong effects on a person and can create real struggles for an individual.

I don’t wish to offend anyone, it’s not the point. Many people think they are pop psychologists diagnosing left, right and centre and mostly getting it wrong. A shy person isn’t necessarily an introvert or Autistic, shyness is sometimes just shyness. Maybe the shyness is lack of confidence or maybe just someone biding their time to say or do the right thing.

Amongst those real conditions I may also give someone a diagnosis of an invented one. Behaviour and mental health is incredibly serious but there is also some fun to be had with the way some people conduct themselves. If you have ever read the Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM) you will realise that there are hundreds of different conditions, often just sub categories of others. In DSM IV[1] they removed many named conditions due to the fact that the collective of psychiatrists who create the manual felt there were too many conditions out there. Many psychiatric professionals are looking for that new condition that will put them into the manuals and lecture theatres, many make their name and fortune by recognising a newly unnamed condition and publishing a paper about it so there has been a bit of an overload of generally not useful mental disorders created.

Does it matter what type of narcissistic personality disorder you have, or just that you have one and it affects you in xxx ways?

As I often decide for my own amusement when watching a film for example, my girlfriend may say something about a character.

“Why are they killing everyone?”

“Probably abandoned at birth and have attachment disorder issues, have developed a personality disorder which means they are immediately disappointed by others and have to kill them”

Totally absurd, but I like to imagine these backgrounds, it enriches even the cheesiest of horror films.

I also do this in reality, and often I do it seriously, I most often get it right. In my line of work it’s not unusual to meet someone with a PD and so it’s not such a leap for me to assume that someone has a condition, but diagnosing it is quite assumptive of me.

Like those psychiatrists I love the idea of discovering a condition that hasn’t been named before, not because I want there to be any more conditions that make people suffer but there are many quirks that people present and I often wonder why.

Fresh Meat Syndrome.

Do you know anyone who habitually ends relationships and ends up with someone younger each time? I do, I call this Fresh Meat Syndrome, and a person who gets bored of their aging partner and gets a “younger model” Fresh Meat syndrome can be applied to anything in life. My Nana has it, she always is unsatisfied with her home and is always working on moving into another one. For another person it may be their car, or even clothes. Fresh Meat Syndrome is in fact the inability to settle. Many conditions are actually caused by feelings that are the opposite of the behaviour itself.

Fresh Meat Syndrome is not to be confused with “Grass is always Greener Disorder” They look very alike in the first place of a person who is continuously updating some or all aspects of their lives but Grass is Greener is directly related to what others have, you choose to get a younger prettier girlfriend because someone you know has one, or you buy a more expensive watch because your neighbour has one. It’s not jealousy per se, I think of jealousy of having some reason behind it, maybe more like misplaced envy. Because, who cares if your neighbour has a bigger car? Apparently many people do.

Grass is always Greener Disorder should also not be confused with Wantitis, where people simply want things they don’t have. Maybe psychiatrists would argue this is a person who is trying to fill some hole in their emotional life by continuously buying (or stealing) things, they want it, and they don’t stop till they get it. I don’t believe that Wantitis is about envy, because it may not be due to what others have and it could be about anything.

Wantitis might sound like some kind of hoarding condition, but those with Wantitis often dispose of the thing once they have it, the act of ownership has now devalued the item and they have moved on to something else, similar to Fresh Meat Syndrome in a way but it’s not necessarily about the newness or better quality of the thing. It’s just that they don’t have it.

Another one is almost the opposite of the above conditions as it relates to getting rid of things rather than acquiring them.

Declutterism.

The continuous desire to order things and get rid of anything not immediately useful. This is my personal condition, as I always want to clear out my possessions. I frequently reassess what I have and remove the bits I see no need for.

It sounds relatively harmless but for extreme cases a person my remove people from their lives, or even give away things they need, some people may simply throw away perfectly good things that others in need could benefit from.

If you become a Buddhist you are required to get rid of your worldly possessions, I’m far from a Buddhist but I get that desire to be free of things connecting you to a place or a habit.

Narcissistic Privilege Status.

I bet many of you have met that person who believes that they deserve everything, that any possible deficit in their lives is due to others doings and never their own. Always complaining even though they appear to never go without. Narcissism is a real condition, but Narcissistic Privilege Status is somewhat less obvious. I remember at high school when I was about 15 or 16, one of my friends came to school looking very upset, he was one of the wealthiest kids at school, a school of mostly quite poor kids. I and my other friends asked him what was up and he said his parents were getting divorced. The rest of us laughed. Sounds horrible? Maybe it is, however the other three of us all came from broken homes, our parents divorced or separated from very early. We all said don’t worry about it, you’ll be fine and they are just doing it because they need to.

“Why me though?” was his response.

It didn’t matter that we had all gone through it, why me? I won’t make light of someone going through a trauma, for him it was but he never would see it from our point of view, because he had little empathy for us, he was spoiled, he never asked “why me?” when showered with expensive gifts the rest of us could only dream of…

Which leads nicely onto the last condition, Perpetual Victimism. Unlike Narcissistic Privilege Status, Perpetual Victimism is not about ego in the same way. It’s related to people who forever seem to be on the receiving end of bad situation, the person who never experiences good luck and even if they do something will immediately go wrong. The person who goes through horrible relationship after horrible relationship, the person who seems to lose their job within a few months.

These people will often ask “why me?” as well but actually revel in the attention theses continuous disasters bring them. They probably never realise that most of these situations are entirely their own fault as they never listen to good advice. They may or may not blame others like the Narcissist but certainly gain some kind of warped status by entertaining others with their poor circumstance but will never appreciate that someone else is worse off despite their best efforts. The person with PV will at times actively ruin their opportunities but never admit it.

There’s just a few of my own invented conditions, I could probably come up with many more. These are real personality traits though, I know and have known many people like this, myself included. What drives each person’s behaviour can be very complex, we often don’t know ourselves why we act in certain ways. Some of us decide to diagnose ourselves, which can be dangerous and often just ridiculous.

Although there is humour here the fundamental point is that mental health and behaviour are on a spectrum, we all “behave” and we all have mental health and both of those things change and mutate with different situations, different trauma, different outcomes in life. We all cope differently, we all do stupid things and smart things. People who suffer from real and often disabling mental health conditions really do struggle in life and it’s not funny, but I do believe we need to laugh at the Human Condition sometimes, we are amusing creatures.

[1] It’s updated infrequently, there was around 13 years between volumes 3 and 4.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s