Mental Illness in the Horror Genre

Something that pissed me off the other day.

Talking to a guy who knows my parents but doesn’t know me very well, and he tells me that his friend (indeed, a very nice and talented actor) recently put out a horror movie. And I’m interested until I hear the words “So it’s about this guy with OCD…” and at that point my mom and I give each other a sidelong glance.

I say, “I don’t know, because I have OCD and it’s a pretty serious thing for me.”

To which he follows up, “Oh, you don’t have it like this guy! You’re totally functional!”

Okay, dude. Yes, I am standing before you in a fancy club, dressed nice, and looking relatively balanced. But you do not know me. You do not know OCD.

You do not know that I have been non-functional, and that in order to maintain my current balance of sanity, I take daily medication and see a weekly therapist, and I still have downward spirals and panic attacks.

OCD can add to a story, for sure. The Aviator is a great example–albeit, it was on the voyeuristic side, kind of “check out what a weirdo this guy really is”, but his condition was portrayed in a realistic and *sympathetic* manner, because it focused so hard on his anxiety and entrapment.

I don’t need a horror movie about my disorder for a couple reasons.
1. I already live the horror movie that is OCD.
2. Just like people with psychosis, schizophrenia/schizotypal disorders, dissociative identity disorders, and any other number of mental disorder that makes us act in unusual and yes, sometimes frightening ways, I don’t need it to be the hinge for your horror flick, a handy device that makes more people like you scared and misunderstanding of people like me.
3. And for people with the above disorders who may not be diagnosed, they don’t need to be told that they are dangerous monsters and cause them to avoid treatment out of fear. (This goes double for people who experience paranoia or delusions as part of their symptoms.)

This post ended up way longer than I meant, but really, truly, hear me out creators:

MENTAL ILLNESS IS A TRAIT AMONG AN INFINITE VARIETY OF PEOPLE. IT IS NOT A CHARACTER FLAW, AND IT IS DEFINITELY A POOR PLOT DEVICE FOR THE HORROR GENRE. YOU CAN DO BETTER.

You are not “unnatural” or “bad” if you 

  • Have low to no empathy
  • Have hyper-empathy 
  • Have a personality disorder
  • Have more than one person in your mind
  • Have scary/violent thoughts
  • Don’t have the energy for interaction every day
  • Can’t take a shower/brush your teeth very often
  • Don’t like certain noises/textures
  • Don’t want to forgive them
  • Know you did nothing wrong
  • Love yourself 
Perks of BPD

• unpredictable as hell

• obsessing over new obsession brings the literal Joy™

• what is stable

• lots of super cool meds B-)

• depression becomes The Great Depression

• i love my fp i need them in order to breath

• i love nothing, i need nothing,,

• needing no sleep

• needing all the sleep

• we dont feel the emotion, we are the emotion

• discovering Today’s Personality™

• i am the most flawless being

• i want this mirror out n goNE NOW

• this current emotion is the only emotion

• validation feeds our soul

• disassociated so im only physically here rn please don’t try to make me speak

• we can choose to not actually hear you

• its 5 am but im not tired ????

mental illness is not a competition. it doesn’t matter if others have “worse” or more prominent symptoms than you. it’s different for everyone. you are valid, and you’re working to improve; that’s beautiful.

Sympathy is only for the able.

People only care that you are sick as long as you are going to get better. Once they find out it is a forever thing, their sympathy suddenly has an expiration date.

3

A perpetual spell to cope with intrusive thoughts

Thanks to severe OCD and PTSD, I’m often stuck in my own head with a bunch of intrusive and obsessive nonsense. I came up with a perpetual banishing and transmutation spell to help process and deal with unwanted thoughts.

The Banishing Bin functions somewhat like a computer’s recycle bin:

  • write unwanted thought/feeling on a sticky note or piece of small paper
  • draw banishing/transmutation sigil over words
  • fold up paper and throw in banishing bin 
  • burn/rip/trash them during the waning crescent or dark moon

This is a great spell if you’re a spoonie or not open about your craft. It’s fairly easy to perform and store without raising eyebrows (it literally just sits on my bookcase unsuspiciously). I found the mini trashcan at a local discount store for a couple dollars. The cheapest one I can find online can be purchased from Amazon here, but you can use any container you like as a bin. If you don’t have a banishing sigil you’re already working with, feel free to use mine

honestly, shout out to those who’re balancing mental illness and school. i know it’s hard. i know it’s stressful. i know it’s overwhelming. i know it seems like no one understands, especially when they call you “lazy” or “dumb,” but i am so, so, so proud of you for making it this far. go at your own pace. everything’ll be ok!

"Just take the blanket with you."

As a person with OCD, what I love about the way Shiro treats Slav is how well Shiro navigates the fine line between keeping his priorities straight and respecting what Slav has to deal with.

Slav can’t help his anxieties and ridiculous-seeming coping mechanisms, but he is unnecessarily obnoxious about them, and the situation is extremely dangerous and time-sensitive.

Under the circumstances, Shiro would be expected to just toss Slav over his shoulder and charge ahead to complete the mission, but he showed an incredible amount of patience and tried to accommodate Slav as best he could, never once mocking or belittling him. (I think he can be forgiven some frustrated incredulity, given the urgent circumstances.)

Even when Shiro finally did lose his last scrap of patience, he still struck me as being strangely respectful despite his exasperation.

“We’re traveling by teludav. So just count your hair follicles or fluff a pillow, or whatever you need to do to make sure we survive the wormhole trip in this reality!”

The way I interpreted that was Shiro basically saying, “I have a responsibility to keep my kids people safe and complete this extremely important mission. Within those limits, I am totally fine with you doing whatever you need to do so that you feel as safe as you can in this situation, which is probably even more stressful for you than it is for the rest of us.” There’s no real judgment, just prioritizing what’s truly important while delineating a space where Slav can cope with his anxiety.

 Shiro also seems to be keeping the possibility open that all of Slav’s fretting about alternate realities might actually be legit. XD Even though he himself probably doesn’t believe it, he still gives Slav the benefit of the doubt instead of automatically writing him off as crazy.

 I love Shiro. Kudos to the people who wrote his lines in these episodes.

shoutout to witches with obsessive compulsive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, personality disorders. who have psychosis or schizophrenia. who hallucinate and experience paranoias, and who have symptoms that are unattractive and misunderstood. who are seen as needy or flighty or rude b/c of symptoms they can’t control.
shoutout to witches with disorders that aren’t as widely supported or recognized. you are loved and powerful.♡