American Sign Language and other signed languages are languages. It’s important to respect them as languages.
ASL is not English. It is a completely different language. Similarly, signed languages aren’t all the same. British Sign Language is completely different from ASL.
Signs are not universal, any more than spoken words are universal. The meaning of a sign isn’t always obvious just by watching; many signs are completely arbitrary.
Sign is not pantomime, and it’s not ad hoc gesture. It’s also not like symbolic gestures that are sometimes made up to accompany kids songs either. It’s a language, with all the complexities of language. The difference is important, and it needs to be respected.
In order to know what signs mean, you have to learn them. (Just like in order to know what spoken words mean, you have to learn them.)
ASL is not just gestures, any more than spoken languages are just sounds. ASL has grammar, vocabulary, and culture. It’s important to respect this and not erase it.
I don’t mean to say he specifically does, or specifically has any particular definable mental illness. That’s part of why I worded that the way I did: “He doesn’t externalize (his) symptoms of mental illness and neurodivergence” <– putting the “his” in brackets was meant to imply that he doesn’t necessarily have mental illness or neurodivergence, but if he has either, he doesn’t externalize his symptoms in the way that Mick does.
But more generally, I do headcanon/believe he has some mental illness. I think Len struggles with (episodes of) depression, probably some form of an anxiety disorder though maybe not always at a clinical level, and has (had) PTSD from his childhood and upbringing. And I’d say that it doesn’t show that much in part from the fact that he internalizes more than he externalizes, he’s had so many years to work through some of it, and also because he has coping mechanisms (sometimes maladaptive ones) that make it manageable. It also flies under the radar on a show with so many other people with varying levels of mental illness, like Mick, or Rip with his grief and depression, or Sara with her own struggles too.
Some signs of Len’s mental illness come through in his ‘adrenaline junkie’ way of doing things, the way he seems addicted to it and to continuing to up his game, needing more of a thrill and a rush from stealing over time. I’d argue there’s self-worth problems tied up in there, throwing himself into danger, heedless of his own well-being. Addiction in most of it’s forms tends to be due to a persistent lack of reliable social connection (including in the early, like up to 18-20 parts of life) or lack of social support. Survivors of abuse also show issues with self-worth and depression and anxiety pretty commonly, though of course everyone deals with these things differently.
More evidence on the anxiety and evidence of PTSD side? There’s his strict adherence to a plan and timing things to the second, that meticulous need for order when it comes to his work. And then the fact that he literally shot a guy for wanting out without thinking twice, a sort of highly extreme hair-trigger reaction to a reasonable situation. A learned, knee-jerk reaction that came from somewhere. It fits with other signs of hyperviligance we see from him, including the fact that he always knows when Barry shows up, or else knows whenever there’s someone behind him, and often keeps something at his back in a room, even though he doesn’t always. Should also say the way he responds to his abuser (Lewis) is telling.
It’s worth noting, though not everyone will agree with him on this, that most of the positive emotions we’ve seen him express are in the form of sarcasm or sardonic wit, in the middle of a heist and then it’s more exuberance and a rush than actual joy, or else his positive emotions seem far more muted. I would argue he therefore demonstrates difficulty in experiencing at least some positive emotions, if not a larger range of them. And we know he has serious difficulty with trust. He pulls his weapon on his best friend and other allies when he feels threatened or backed into a corner in any way. Pulling the gun on Sara on the Waverider was an act of panic. And not that it shows, but like killing anyone who wants out, it looks almost like a knee-jerk panic reaction he suppresses and deals with through violence.
There are a lot of plausible headcanons for Len in terms of mental illness and neurodivergence. These are just some of mine. I know some people see him as maybe having obsessive-compulsive disorder, which seems possible, and is technically an anxiety disorder so fits with how I see him more broadly. Some have headcanoned different personality disorders, which I know less (but some) about and I enjoy those headcanons.
And more frequently, I’ve also seen him described as on the autism spectrum and I can 100% see it. Stimming with throwing a ball or keeping his hands busy, wrapping his arms around himself in the way he does for physical pressure stimming when he’s overwhelmed or self-protective. His attraction to some of the things he steals could be due to special interests or stimming as well. He demonstrates a difficulty looking people in the eye or looking them in the eye for too long, and an awkwardness with certain types of social situations (but a smoothness when he’s not involved himself, when he’s following a ‘script’ of sorts like when he’s on a job?).
I’ll admit though, I know a bit about autism but people who are actually autistic can speak much better to headcanons on that, which is why it’s not something I typically discuss on this blog in too much detail. I will say though that I’ve been trying in my latest fic to write him more on the autism spectrum, but I don’t know if I’m having any success.
Of course, everything here is a headcanon because canon never gives explicit diagnoses for any of it’s characters, we just get to conjecture.
I always thought it was obvious, when I saw the cutscenes, that Zelda’s powers awakened because of her love for Link. Like, IMO, the whole thing was foreshadowed when Mipha almost tells Zelda that it helps when she thinks about Link when using her healing powers. (Because that is totally what Mipha was going to say before getting cut off).
It’s great to have it 100% confirmed now though.
Probably almost everyone in the Hyrule Castle Court could see how the Princess felt about her Knight, not just that Sheikah Poet. Not because of anything Zelda ever told anyone, but just in her words and actions about him and how she acted with him. (After Zelda realised he wasn’t silently judging and hating her as a failure because she couldn’t access her powers, and they start growing close as friends of course ;-) ). However, because of everything she was going though, especially the pressure from her father to awaken her sacred powers, Zelda couldn’t really focus on how she felt about him consciously. She wasn’t making plans to confess how she felt to him or anything. She didn’t have time to.
Hence, when it looks like he’s about to die right in front of her, her unexpressed feelings for him heightened to a point where it causes her powers to activate out of her love and fear of losing him. (A very real thing, given that she’d just watched her father and all her Champion friends die not too long before).
So after Link is taken to the Shrine of Resurrection, we get the scene of Zelda at the Great Deku Tree, where she clearly wanted the Deku Tree to tell Link how she feels about him; since, IMO, Zelda already knew what she had to do to contain Calamity Ganon at this point, and knew Link might never see her again if her power exhausted before Link could get to Hyrule Castle when he finally woke up.
you know it’s Really Funny to me when shitty ppl on Tumblr shut down any post that suggests ways for mentally ill ppl to get help, or tips on how to feel better, or just simple things like ‘get up! shower!’ and ALWAYS, ALWAYS there’s some dumbass who comes in like 'lol neurotypicals’ like.
Listen to me very clearly: You Have No Way of Knowing Whether Or Not Someone Has A Mental Illness Or Not.
Not everyone has a 5 page long about me on their blog or some url like “bpdpearl”. Not everyone talks about or feels comfortable talking about their mental illness all the time.
Like it’s so annoying that the second anyone on this site makes a post JUST trying to help others they get shut down by some 14 year old who got a WebMD diagnosis for god knows what saying “lol silly neurotypicals xD’