Title: Characters with mental diseases?
Description: You know you have one.
Pippi - November 26, 2008 02:29 AM (GMT)
Has anyone here ever written/is in the middle of writing/or thinking about writing a character with a mental disease? I think it would be a cool idea. I know the idea of it isn't really original, but being able to get into and make the mind of someone who lives so interestingly would be fun. Maybe writing about a couple where one has a fear of inclosed spaces while the other has a fear of open spaces. (I forget the names of them and is too lazy to look it up right now.)
I don't think I qutie have the skills to write about someone with a serious mental disease, but I think trying out of those weird phobias or a weird case of OCD would be interesting.
How would you go in a story if you had a character with a mental disease? Serious? Funny somehow, or maybe a coming of age story?
GubraithianFire - November 26, 2008 09:28 PM (GMT)
Well, frankly, I haven't written any character with mental diseases. The closest I've come to that is a phobia: oneirophobia, the fear of dreams. (Is it sad that I can't remember how to spell it anymore? :lyn: ) Oh, and right now I'm writing Victoire as an insomniac, but I don't know if that counts. For the former, in any case: the story is a dark romance, so for Rose (who has the phobia) it is an extremely debilitating thing. Well, actually, she doesn't actually HAVE oneirophobia, she develops it from her random visions... I think. *cough* *can't remember what happens in her own story* Point is, I'm not one to talk. I actually did a teensy bit of research for Victoire-as-insomniac-Sleeping-Beauty. If Wikipedia counts. So as to how I recommend writing these sorts of things, I can't exactly explain. *cough*
But as for how YOU write it, it all depends on the context and the plot. Personally, I think a funny, poignant bildungsroman would be most appealing. (bildungsroman = coming of age, jsyk :D). At once serious and silly. Like... um, M*A*S*H*, which is about a bunch of doctors and nurses running an army hospital during the Korean War (only one episode of which I've watched, and it was today in school). So. Um.
I'm definitely not one to talk.
Pippi - November 26, 2008 10:07 PM (GMT)
I love you. :lyn:
I don't know if being an insomniac would mean you had a mental disease, but who knows...
Anyway, you are one to talk. A story with a MASH like effect would be funny. And I've seen every episode of MASH, not in school. XD
Blue_Suede_Shoes - November 29, 2008 07:39 PM (GMT)
I guess I've done two stories that focus kind of on mental state, although I don't know if they would count as diseases ... You'll Die Laughing was Walburga Black and just general subtle insanity - I did it by using run-on sentences, talking to herself, hallucinations ... and Synaesthesia was - obviously - about synaesthesia. I wikipedia-ed that, like Gubby, before I attempted it ;)
So both of them have been a serious attempt at making it work. I reckon what you've both said about phobias and coming-of-age bildungsroman would be good, but you'd have to be careful to make it humorous WITH the character, and not mocking !
But yeah. So I don't even know if I added anything to that conversation :lyn:
Pippi - November 29, 2008 08:42 PM (GMT)
Mocking would be kinda bad....but maybe it would be good if the mental person knew they had a problem, didn't know how to stop it/control it, and they mocked themselves...or something like that.
Anna_Black - November 30, 2008 12:03 AM (GMT)
I think it is really challenging because you have to know the sypthomes of the distress, threatmants, medications...
I am in Medical School first year and am bombarded with these types of things and I find them really interesting! Plus, you get to realise that there are more angles of viewing an illness. You have the patient, the doctor, and the family, plus the society.
Personally, one of the freakiest mental distresses I think is divided personality; like an ego and alter-ego. And actually, the most 'personalities' in one person has been seven! That's like a whole gang! O_o
And since I get these information, and learn to analyse the distress from a doctor's point of view, I started writing this short story about this girl that is on that very border between what is considered normal and what goes into pathology, and as I found - it is rather complicated. She behaved normally, but her thoughts and views are not considered normal. She is aware of it, but constantly denies it... if that makes any sense.
Pippi - November 30, 2008 12:39 AM (GMT)
That makes lots of sense.
And seven personalities?
There's a show on some channel about this woman who has multiple personalities, and they wrote it to be a comedy. I think it might be borderline mocking...I'll have to see when it starts.
Lyn - December 1, 2008 06:10 PM (GMT)
Here comes the Psychology major. :P
I love this topic, of course, thanks for starting it, Pips!! :tahi:
I agree that PoV, like Ana said, should be an interesting approach in this case. Usually, when I write my crazy characters (last year for nano, as well as this one), I make the story angsty, and the characters kinda distant and... not too sociable. Also, a cool moment to portray when you are writing about phobias is when you describe the moment when there's a total freeze on the person's part, as well as their reaction - do they cry (or laugh hysterically?), do they scream or run or close their eyes or take it in and pretend they're alright (even though they're sweating or distracted!).
Truth is, we all have a potential for one queer thing or another (esp. OCD). It depends on our environment, our genes and how we cope. So I like including little things in my characters (one was completely insane though, in an asylum), like 'hearing voices' or even having hallucinations, and then I include it in their dreams... like night terrors and stuff.
I love the topic of multiple personalities, too. I'm doing a presentation on one, where the woman officially had 3 personalities (that were observed), but unofficially, there was a record of 22! :zomg: But it's not proved, so... *shrugs*
I think the attitude of the person who has the 'illness' would depend on their personality and on its seriousness. Someone with a fear could have it in them to mock it and even try to overcome it, but other than that, mental business is a pretty scary one...
Anna_Black - December 1, 2008 08:35 PM (GMT)
22!!!!!! O_o And I thought seven was a lot!
Anyways, yes I forgot to mention the flight or fight mechanism when faced with potential danger. You can also add the third 'f' - freeze. There is an adrenaline rush and some people become quite aggressive (the fight mechanism), while some just get a brain freeze and block themselves. That blockade is a defense mechanism which can also go into pathology but is in no way conscious.
*rushes off to get her Medical Psychology book!*
Ok, according to this book there are a WHOLE lot of mental illnesses. Few of the ones that affect consciousness are:
- Derealisaton, which is manifested with different and wrong perception of reality. In some moments the patient perceives the environment as if it were changed, the people strange, some situations of deja vu or jamaine vu. These symptoms are present when the patient suffers from certain forms of epilepsy, brain tumor and so on.
- Depersonalization, which is altered perception of oneself, as a result of disintegration of the Ego (the conscious part of the personality). The patient thinks that something is changed in him, that he is not the same person. This can be a symptom of epilepsy, scitsophrenia (sp?).
- Transformation, where the patient thinks he is another person or even some animal. It is usual with more advanced stages of scitsophrenia.
- Divided personality, when the patient has different personalities, usually the Ego and the Alter-Ego. It occurs in some forms of scitsophrenia.
- Autism, which is a total retreat of the patient in his irrational psychopathological world. The symptom is common with scitsophrenics and Karner's psychosis.
Ok, these are some of the more interesting ones that I chose. As you can tell, I really like psychology! :D These might give you some ideas.
SiriuslyCrack - December 9, 2008 12:21 AM (GMT)
Yes, I have
written two stories staring people with mental disease. If There Were Magic 12+
and At Long Last 12+
They are not novels though and I've not really delved deep into their minds. Because it's hard enough. Trying to imagine what such people might be going through is...well, unimaginable. If I would have to write a story about people with mental diseases, I would definitely go for a serious approach. Though, I think writing a funny OCD based story would be awesome. I think a character having OCD is hilarious, but then, I wouldn't know. I don't exactly have it. lol. It's better to do a bit of research before taking up something so delicate.
Elf_ears13 - December 9, 2008 06:35 AM (GMT)
Just a quick note on OCD - One of my friends has a rather funny case of OCD ... in middle school she tried washing her walkman to get germs off of it! But now she's just very meticulous about how she dresses - socks having to coordinate with clothes, hair always in a ponytail on Mondays, etc. as a way of control. She can joke about it, but it's still something that she would never consider changing. So I think you can take a comical approach to a disorder, especially OCD in which case they're generally aware that they have a problem, while still treating it as the serious matter that it is. There are extremes, but I think if you're looking for a funny character trait, OCD is something that has roots in something deeper (like a childhood tragedy, oh the horror!) that can manifest itself in some funny outcomes in mild cases.
BigTiggaPwnz - December 28, 2008 06:19 AM (GMT)
All I can say is don't make fun of them for it, or make a joke about the disease. I made one teensy, weensy little joke about Turrets syndrome and I swear I almost got banned or something. I felt so bad afterward, I just wasn't thinking. So yeah, no making fun of them for the disease. ;)
Jay_ - June 7, 2009 02:55 AM (GMT)
Mental diseases are interesting to write but it's also very hard. I've written one story on it and I had loads of help from my sister, who is growing up with asperger syndrome (a form of autism) and bipolar. I had to be careful about how I questioned her about certain things and I also understood a lot about others intereacted and lived with people that are mentally ill because of my sister and the few of my friends that knew others that were ill too.
And another note on OCD:
OCD is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. OCD is often mistaken for OCPD which is Obsessive Compulsuve Personality Disorder. The differences can be found on various websites on the web that I don't feel like looking up right now. :P I'm so lazy.
There is also Perfectionism, which I'm not entirely sure if it would count as a mental disorder but... it's out there.
It took a lot of time to write my story with that much of a... sensitive topic and I really don't plan on doing it again soon. I was so stressed out after 'researching' with my sister.
Sammy23 - June 16, 2009 03:55 PM (GMT)
I love writing character with multipul personality disorder.
I think writing someone with OCD would be very intresting but quite difficult since you'd have to keep it up throughout the entire novel. Unless of course it's about the character overcoming their disorder.