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Fictional Characters Diagnosed by an Armchair Psychologist (Part 1)

Arnox

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BEFORE YOU GO ANY FURTHER, there are spoilers ahead for these series':
Fight Club
Rick and Morty
Shaun of the Dead

Also keep in mind, as the title suggests, these characters are NOT professionally diagnosed. I do not hold a degree in any of the psychological fields. Also, although somewhat unrelated, I do NOT condone trying to diagnose yourself and/or others who aren't fictional without an actual licensed professional. Having said that, I have tried my best to make sure that these diagnoses are done as accurately as possible while also consulting the DSM-5 that I have on hand. I have also refrained as much as possible from slapping PTSD onto everything that moves. And finally, I only considered characters that I see to actually have a mental issue. Just because a character has problems doesn't necessarily mean they have mental issues. This is the first part by the way. Part 2 will have the rest of the list. And so, let us move on to our first subject.



Calvin (Calvin and Hobbes)
Diagnosis: Schizophrenia and possible ADHD Inattentive Type
Ha. You thought it was just gonna be ADHD didn't you. Nope. See, what the issue is here is that Calvin seems to actually believe that many of his "imaginings" are real. That's the clincher here. Very often, he'll be punished by his authority figures because they think Calvin's just lying. Which he does do, but other times, it's clear that he truly believes some of the things that he says happen to him. Ironically enough though, I don't know if I believe Hobbes is part of his actual hallucinations. Hobbes much rather seems like a plain old tulpa (controlled separate personality) of Calvin's intended creation. Other symptoms that check out include markedly low ability to take care of oneself, horrible organization, and very bad relationships with his peers. (Constantly said to be "that weird kid".)



Fight Club Narrator (Fight Club)
Diagnosis: Insomnia, possible Major Depressive Disorder, and a weird sudden onset of Dissociative Identity Disorder
This one's a very interesting one. Although it's pretty obvious the Narrator is suffering from insomnia, that's where the easy part ends and the absolute tangled mess of problems begins. Perhaps the biggest problem when trying to diagnose this character is simply trying to find what is the real root cause of all this. Does he suffer depression BECAUSE of his insomnia? Or is it the other way around? The DSM-5 seems to agree as well.

DSM-5 Page 363 said:
Given these different courses, it is often impossible to establish the precise nature of the relationship between these clinical entities, and this relationship may change over time.
But the weirdest thing by far, is that during the Narrator's course with insomnia, he starts manifesting major textbook symptoms of Dissociative Identity Disorder. This is very weird because this disorder actually manifests pretty much exclusively in childhood with extreme abuse, and then into adulthood, and contracting the disorder at this very late stage in the Narrator's life (relatively speaking) is virtually unheard of. It's clear that before the events of the movie, the Narrator had never even heard of "Tyler Durden", and his work colleagues don't seem to be aware of any unnatural behavior from him that's occurred previously from the movie events. Regardless of all this though, his symptoms remain.



Cortana (Halo 4)
Diagnosis: Frontotemporal Neurocognitive Disorder
Yes, I know. Cortana has Rampancy. However, Halo's "smart AIs" are designed around a model similar to the human brain. Not only that, the lead writer for Halo 4 based Cortana's rampancy off of his own struggles with dementia which a relative of his had. Also, the general symptoms of rampancy match the symptoms of Frontotemporal Neurocognitive Disorder really well. Where Rampancy DOES differ from this disorder though is that Rampancy is almost purely a storage problem, whereas dementia is a problem of nerve cell degradation. Also, there seem to be some little differences (as expected) with FND compared to Rampancy, but regardless, I think this is the safest diagnosis to make.



Rick (Rick and Morty)
Diagnosis: Major Depressive Disorder and Narcissism
At first, it seems Rick is a pretty open and shut case of Narcissism, but as the show progresses, the cracks begin to appear more and more. There's many possible reasons why Rick is the way he is, but regardless of how he got there, he seems pretty miserable and disillusioned. He does seem to love his family at least a little, but he doesn't seem to know how to really handle that. Maybe not as much as Revy doesn't know (more on her later), but it's still definitely a marked detriment. His ideals and/or depression and/or past issues (probably all three together) seem to have stomped any kind of good will out of him, so he believes that the right way, or perhaps maybe the only way to handle and keep this love is through control. Besides his family, he craves attention in other ways and will use his incredibly high IQ to get it and will also get pretty mad when he doesn't get it. Beyond all this though, it's impossible to say what is really going on underneath the hood until we get a good look at his (actual) past.



Morty (Rick and Morty)
Diagnosis: Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Whereas Rick was a clear example of Narcissism, Morty is an even clearer example of GAD. In fact, the disorder seems to define him. But like Rick, there doesn't really seem to be a major cause to all this. Having said that, it's not like Morty doesn't have anything to worry about. His grandfather alone, and all the awful situations he pulls Morty into is definitely causing him distress, his parents are constantly miserable with each other, and school can be at least a little stressful even in the best of times. The thing here is, Morty doesn't seem to have a good coping mechanism for dealing with any of this. As the show progresses though, we do see him calm down at least a little and become a little more sure of himself, but the disorder still hasn't really gone away.



The Joker (The Dark Knight)
Diagnosis: Antisocial Personality Disorder with very possible past of PTSD
The Joker was probably the hardest for me to nail down, but at the end of the day, APD seems pretty close. The problem with diagnosing this character is that the Joker doesn't seem to suffer (emphasis on the word, suffer) from any PTSD-related symptoms such as disturbed dreams or triggers or any such thing, even though it's almost guaranteed that he experienced something very terrible in the past. Maybe even multiple traumatic events. His behavior is also very consistent, relatively speaking. He does not have "episodes" of anything such as panic attacks or hallucinations. Thus, Antisocial Personality Disorder seems to be the best diagnosis for this one.



Vaas (Far Cry 3)
Diagnosis: Schizotypal Personality Disorder
This character is somewhat related to the Joker in some personality facets, but his symptoms of distress are much more acute this time around. In fact, Vaas is a shoe-in for this disorder, showing signs of a heavily reduced capacity of close relationships, ideas of reference, belief in tribalistic magic, odd logic, paranoia, a tendency for violence, and other miscellaneous behavorial abnormalities. I imagine that these symptoms began to take hold very slowly a long time ago before the events of the main Far Cry 3 story. It's clear that enmeshment in bad family relationships has led him to where he is now.



Nicholas Angel (Hot Fuzz)
Diagnosis: Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Level 1 (Asperger's Disorder)
Taking a break away from the villains for a moment, we come to police officer Nicholas Angel of Sanford. I was actually going to do the villains of Hot Fuzz, but their behavior is just too unrealistic for a hard diagnosis, and Nick promises to be more interesting to examine anyway. From an early age, we see that Nick has had these black and white beliefs. That things are wrong or right. The bad criminals versus the good of the law. Such a simple understanding of social interactions leads one to believe that Nick doesn't really "get" most people. And people don't really understand him in turn. His almost obsessive focus on his work doesn't seem to stem from lonliness at all though, nor does he seem to be suffering from any depression or depression-related symptoms. His home life was stable and there were no indications whatsoever of traumatic events in his history. Though he has a lot of trouble balancing his personal and his work life because he believes in and enjoys what he does so much, it's not to full-on autistic savant levels as he definitely still has at least basic understandings of social norms and his behavior is very controlled and mature. Even constricted. At the end of the day, though he is a mature, upstanding, and even great individual, he's not exactly going to be the life of the party, or even a part of it for that matter.



Shaun (of the Dead)
Diagnosis: Separation Anxiety Disorder
One of the first impressions we get of Shaun is that he's lazy. He works a dead-end retail job with no indication whatsoever of higher aspirations. His personal life is very reptitive as well, consisting of either going to the Winchester, or spending time with his friend. In fact, he seems so comfortable and used to this life that we see him forget time and time again to plan for and take his girlfriend somewhere special. This inevitably leads to her leaving him. If we examine his childhood though, we begin to see why Shaun is the way he is. While his stepfather and stepmother weren't abusive to him at all, it's apparent that his stepfather had a very high standard that he constantly tried to get Shaun to meet. After such a long time of this, this probably caused Shaun to withdraw into himself and into comfortable habits and ways of life. Thus, his home, the Winchester, and his lifestyle are what he heavily dislikes being separated from.
 

Houseman

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Good job. I appreciate the effort this must have taken, and this is just part 1.

I think we sometimes hide what we fear behind mental illness. We see someone who doesn't see things the way that we do, or who are capable of incredible acts of violence, and we have an instinct to distance ourselves from them. We don't want to be like them, we can't, that would be too horrible, so we put them behind a wall that says "you're different. You're not like us. You're broken. We're not. We can't be like you. We can't understand you."

What if villains like Joker were just like us? Sane? That would be horrifying. To think that we "normal" people are capable of doing what they do is more terrifying than the acts that these villains do.

So they have to have something wrong with them. The alternative is unthinkable
 

andersonnnunes

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What if villains like Joker were just like us? Sane? That would be horrifying.
Better to test sparingly, and expose from time to time what is apparently the odd bad apple, rather than do the job thoroughly and find the whole barrel is spoiled and your sport [or your academic department, or your government, or your church] has suddenly vanished in a hailstorm of disqualifications.

they have to have something wrong with them. The alternative is unthinkable
The authorities in any given sport [or academic department, or government, or church] [...] would claim their testing regimes were adequate—and would probably truly believe it themselves. But human capacity for self-deception is infinite. It may thus be that the real guilty parties [...] are not those who actually take the drugs, but those who create a situation where only a fool would not.

(source - text between "[]" mine, for emphasis)

Joker knows humans are shit, his crime is displaying it bare.
 
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Vendor-Lazarus

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Lest we all forget, normal for human is relative.
"Normal" humans might or might not have instigated horrendous actions, but they surely have partaken in it. And still do.
Religious sacrifices, inquisitions, witch-burnings, attempted genocides, brain-washings...the list can be made long.
 

Arnox

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Good job. I appreciate the effort this must have taken, and this is just part 1.

I think we sometimes hide what we fear behind mental illness. We see someone who doesn't see things the way that we do, or who are capable of incredible acts of violence, and we have an instinct to distance ourselves from them. We don't want to be like them, we can't, that would be too horrible, so we put them behind a wall that says "you're different. You're not like us. You're broken. We're not. We can't be like you. We can't understand you."

What if villains like Joker were just like us? Sane? That would be horrifying. To think that we "normal" people are capable of doing what they do is more terrifying than the acts that these villains do.

So they have to have something wrong with them. The alternative is unthinkable
Thanks! It can be exhausting to write, but also really fun.

I don't know about you but I'm not scared of some "could have been" kind of situation. I am Arnox. I make decisions according to Arnox. And there is a lot that truly separates me from someone like Vaas or the Joker. Unless I randomly get afflicted with brain cancer or something, I'm not going to randomly pick up a knife and go into stabbing mode. Were it so, killing should be much easier for those who've never done it before. But it isn't. There are safeguards that normal human minds have that keep such erratic utterly illogcal behavior heavily in check. On top of that, morality is not an illusion. It isn't some kind of illogical fancy.

Robert Heinlein said:
Morals— all correct moral laws— derive from the instinct to survive. Moral behavior is survival behavior above the individual level.
Even further, these mental illnesses are not different misunderstood ways of thinking, but rather, the brain malfunctioning in a very real sense like a computer, causing a degraded quality of life, bringing some amount of sadness and failure into the lives of its sufferers if they cannot find a way or ways to deal with it. Sometimes, such as in the case of schizophrenia (without professional medical care), there may not be any coping mechanisms available, and the problems become so much worse.
 
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Houseman

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There are safeguards that normal human minds have that keep such erratic utterly illogcal behavior heavily in check.
That's assuming the initial premise. You're operating under the idea that "normal people" don't commit these acts of incredible violence, and that anyone who does is "broken" somehow. I proposed that they do, and that they aren't. It doesn't work to assume that my proposal is false, and then use that assumption as a rebuttal for why my proposal is false. You're essentially restating your claim.
 

gaijinkaiju

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I'm really interested to see what you have to say on revy now.

And its too late now, but I should've suggested the protagonist of Spec Ops: The Line, I think that would've been an interesting write-up
 

Arnox

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That's assuming the initial premise. You're operating under the idea that "normal people" don't commit these acts of incredible violence, and that anyone who does is "broken" somehow.
Alright, fine. Tell me someone that you think was normal who committed cold-blooded murder.

I'm really interested to see what you have to say on revy now.

And its too late now, but I should've suggested the protagonist of Spec Ops: The Line, I think that would've been an interesting write-up
Actually... You're in luck. Cale from Titan A.E. I don't really think has a mental illness. He's borderline but I think it's a rule-out and he gets over it really fast. I could just take him out and slot Walker in. Having said that, Walker may not be as exciting as you think. A quick dirty analysis of him in my mind only reveals PTSD and nothing more. Maybe another trauma related mental illness. Are you sure you want to see him in this list?

And yeah, I think you're going to be very entertained by the analysis for Revy. Not gonna spoil anything though. lol
 

Houseman

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Alright, fine. Tell me someone that you think was normal who committed cold-blooded murder.
Pick any random gangster from any era. People may join gangs for a variety of reasons. Maybe they want money and power. Maybe they're fighting to protect their "family". Maybe they need to in order to survive. Surely you can't say that all gangsters who kill are mentally ill.

But people, these gangsters, for instance, kill for a variety of causes. What causes would you accept as "cold-blooded"? I assume we can throw out "self-defense".
 

gaijinkaiju

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Pick any random gangster from any era. People may join gangs for a variety of reasons. Maybe they want money and power. Maybe they're fighting to protect their "family". Maybe they need to in order to survive. Surely you can't say that all gangsters who kill are mentally ill.

But people, these gangsters, for instance, kill for a variety of causes. What causes would you accept as "cold-blooded"? I assume we can throw out "self-defense".
what about military? When they're attacked you could argue self-defense, but what about when they do the attacking?
Some like to say that war is just government funded murder
 

Houseman

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Yeah, but I mean they're supposed to be fighting for a "worthy cause", and the legal system doesn't see what they do as murder, so it would be a lot more work to overcome all that to get to the conclusion of "cold-blooded murder". It's not impossible, but it's just easier to pick a less-justifiable but still numerous type of criminal.
 

andersonnnunes

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they're supposed to be ... for a "worthy cause", and the legal system doesn't see what they do as ...
This is a "Ship of Theseus" issue. They destroy targets with 1 thousand cuts and get away with being labelled as what they are, reserving the death by one sure cut to the most pressing targets, doing it with enough time between each instance that people's animosity cools down.
 
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