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Writing Disorders







Mooney
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© Mooney
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Writing Disorders

(This post was last modified: 06-01-2017, 01:47 PM by Mooney.)
Hello everyone! So I'm mainly writing this to give you guys some more light on writing mental disorders. This will be formatted a lot like the Better Villian Writing Guide, and there will be a lot of sources to this.

It's come to staff's attention that quite a few people want to make characters with disorders, but aren't researching/writing them correctly. This can get offensive to many members, so before you create a character like that, please look at this guide.

Enjoy ^^

Credit:
Source 1
Source 2
Source 3 is from my own personal experiences with people with many of these disorders.

---------------------------------------------------------

Disorders are becoming more and more common in the roleplaying world of yavania. However, make sure you read this and research as thoroughly as possible to make sure you don't offend anyone with it!

1. "This is a serious condition that's not to be taken seriously."
Many people like the idea of a character that is different from the rest. Such as characters with MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder) or PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). The fact is, these are serious conditions that affect a person's personal and social life. It leaves them depressed, lonely, or even suicidal. When you write this, you need to do it correctly as it can portray the wrong idea about the disorder.

For example, someone who may not have ever had interaction with someone with a disorder before and reads it in RP being RPed wrong. They've never seen it in real life, so they would just assume "Hey, they can ignore it even though they have it" when in reality, there is no way you can ignore the disorder. All disorders should be taken as seriously as they are in real life. Even though this is a "game", that doesn't mean you can just push aside the reality of the disorder.

2. It's a stigma.
Most people want a character with a disorder because it makes them unique or different somehow. You do not need to have a disorder to be unique. Your characters actions are what makes them unique. For example, why does everything think of Anjay or Stark as characters that are out there or yavafamous? Because of their actions. Anjay has become the bird wizard since yava was created and Stark has become one of the most famous characters because of his dedication to his family.

3. You don't need to be mentally ill to be evil.
There is only one sentence to explain why. It's insulting.

Most people who are mentally ill aren't evil. They do actions that they think are good because that's how they perceive things. You don't need to have some sort of sickness to be badass (once again, look at Stark). Just roleplay your character true to their personality. If you do that, then they can become badass. Not just when it's convenient for the illness to kick in.


4. Research.
I'm taking this from the better villain writing guide as it's true and explains it better than me.

I typically see this done for the "shock" value. I assure you, the only thing shocking in most of these cases is the immense lack of research and thought that went into these characters. Being schizophrenic does not immediately make you an evil or crazy person. Being a psychopath does not immediately make you an evil or crazy person. Being a sociopath does not immediately make your character an evil or crazy person. It isn't edgy. It isn't scary. It is not on or off, as there are varying degrees. To play them as such severely misrepresents people who actually are the above things, which is unfair to them and just makes your character look like an idiot.

On that note, the character often does not realize that they have this disorder and/or does not think it makes them evil or crazy.



Unless you are willing to put in a lot of time and effort to research the above, then don't label your character as such. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of factual information available on many of these matters. A lot of it is very biased. My best advice would be to actually talk with a person who has what you want to give your character.

5. Don't implement it when it's convenient.
I see this most with characters who have MPD. You can't just RP that the other personality pokes it's head when it's convenient to get your character out of deep sh*t. It's either triggered by something or random. You can't just have your character normal until someone confronts them aggressively and then Bam! Juan who is aggressive comes out to because he's awesome at fighting and will get your character out of that fight in a snap. But then Juan never shows up again unless it is, once again, convenient.

6. Don't make them emotionless.
Many people with disorders have a lot of emotions with it. They get frustrated, sad, depressed, etc. Characters should reflect this realistically as well. Anyone gets sad, even if they don't have a disorder, but it's proven that people with disorders are often times sadder than others. That's not saying it's 100% accurate, but it does happen. People with PTSD tend to have higher levels of depression or anxiety than someone without.







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Araluen
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© Araluen
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RE: Writing Disorders

To add real quick.
Most of these disorders center around a higher level of thinking and a more complex biological system in the brain, thus why you don't see dogs and cats being diagnosed with the same disorders as people (though recently there has been some crossover but to a far lesser extent than the human diagnosis). But Yava is unique in that all the creatures here have sentience.. the thing is is that most psychological disorders are first physiological meaning a medical treatment is often required as a first level of treatment. Here's where the problem comes in. Yava doesn't have the types of medication required to level out chemicals in the brain or to produce more. Inhibitors are used for many different disorders, especially serotonin inhibitors and Yava just doesn't have those meaning that these mental disorders are untreated

. Now while some can function normally and healthily in society without the aid of a drug it is almost rare as some type of medication is generally needed at first to stabilize the patient at first because chemical treatment works far faster than behavioral. So on top of cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, or just counseling, medicine is often used to mitigate the worst symptoms that can make normal life impossible or very very difficult. So disorders like schizophrenia when untreated and unmonitored can become detrimental to the person's health due to the nature of the disorder.

This is why, when giving your character a disorder such as BPD or DID, (MPD is no longer the usual coined term in many circles) you must evaluate the cost of such a disorder on the person's health and being. They will not function like everyone else. And most likely they will not be evil or serial killers by any means due to the inability to premediate and carefully plan out murders or evil plots. Most things that occur are accidents or self harm and thus why treatment becomes necessary for the individual. If you have ever had a family member with even just depression you have most likely seen how severe it can get without proper treatment, but honestly it just depends. Each case is different but none will be perfectly fine without some form of treatment be it just talking, coping methods, or medication.

This is why giving your character a mental disorder on Yava becomes tricky, not to mention the grossly exaggerated stigma behind mental health and a person's capacity for violence. We only add to it by making our most violent characters suffer from major psychological disorders and I am saddened to see that occur. Things like mild hallucinations and the occasional interrupting thought don't usually indicate a major disorder and can he implemented into your character without diagnosing them as something they probably are not. The DSM (the newer versions especially) offer insight into the intensive and often difficult diagnosis process as it provides criteria for each disorder but even it has its flaws as no two cases of a disorder are exactly the same.

Psychology is a rapidly growing field and we still have much to learn, but with the mass shootings and acts of terror occuring around the world those with severe mental disorders like schizophrenia seemed to get pinned with an unjust blame. And yes there have been cases of those claiming they heard voices telling them to kill people but most have been proven otherwise due to the fact the culprit shows no further signs of symptoms linking them to a major disorder. Look all I'm saying is be careful with what you choose to play on Yava, major mental disorders are nothing to trifle around with even in something like rping and while I'll let you do it because freedom of speech and expression exists for a reason I will inwardly disapprove of the use of mental disorders as a tool to make a character more interesting of evil.







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Amelia
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RE: Writing Disorders

That was a lovely and insightful piece, Ara. <3 Thanks!







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