by Chris Van Orden
In the hotly contested and increasingly politicized world of psychological diagnosis, it can be hard to keep straight who’s “nuts” and who’s “nuts”. The American Psychological Association (APA) does its best to keep the crazies nicely categorized in for the rest of us in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), but the pressures of maintaining a wildly overdeveloped system of in-text citation keeps them from firing on all cylinders.
Meanwhile, powerful crazy-lobbies fight for their place in the bonkers book, as it’s lovingly referred to; every Joe Obesity and Tomdickandharry Schizophrenia is clambering for those coveted handicapped plates. The cast of characters lucky enough to find their disease in the DSM constantly changes. One year, you’re just a sad, lonely man who can’t stop tugging at his eyelashes; the next, you’ve got trichotillomania. Lucky you!
In any case, mental disorders are a tricky lot. Fortunately, I’m here to dispense my valuable, yet invaluable, professional advice. So, with my supply of ado running dangerously low, here are the newest ‘diseases’.
Tripolar Disorder – For years now, these poor souls have wandered the streets, undiagnosed and shunned by society, while their bipolar counterparts have lived it up (at least half the time). Tripolars experience the radical mood swings, but also stop at a third pole about halfway in between the other two. Their lives are marked by highs, lows, and middles – a devastating disorder. First encountered by Jacques Derrida.
Anarcholepsy – Anarcholeptics don’t believe in lucidity, which they view as an imposed and unnatural system of repression imposed on the populace. Instead, they support an open society in which people are free to fall asleep anywhere at any time.
Pyromania – This disorder is characterized by a strong tendency to rock and, less often, roll. Some sufferers lose feeling in one arm, ultimately losing the arm all together; however, they still have the heart to continue playing the drums like their lives depended on it. It’s quite moving. Although Pyromania only recently found its way into the DSM, it first got mainstream acceptance in 1982 (thanks to the incomparable Mutt Lange).
Apathetic Compulsive Disorder – Those diagnosed with apathetic compulsive disorder feel an unshakable urge to perform repetitive motions and tasks in order to neutralize disturbing thoughts; however, they’re a bit too lazy to follow through. People with ACD generally can be found sitting around the house, sighing, and forgetting to check whether or not the lights were turned off. Symptoms may also include washing hands twice, followed by shrugging and walking away.