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  • mental illness in h.o.l.

    just finished the book this past weekend.while it was fun verbally sparring with all of the big shots here, i now have a "real" question:
    if any of y'all have family members dealing with mental illness(or maybe you),did any of the whalestoe letters seem pretty much spot-on?

  • #2
    mental illness in h.o.l.

    quote:
    Originally posted by mean mr. dijonaise:

    if any of y'all have family members dealing with mental illness(or maybe you),did any of the whalestoe letters seem pretty much spot-on?



    I'm a counselor. . .and yes, the letters did seem very accurate, spookily so. For more insight, I'd suggest reading about personality disorders, especially borderline personality disorder.

    O [img]images/smiles/icon_smile.gif[/img] Carla

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    • #3
      mental illness in h.o.l.

      As someone who's been loony myself at times, yes, I found the letters realistic to the point of being heartbreaking & difficult to continue reading.

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      • #4
        mental illness in h.o.l.

        Same here.

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        • #5
          mental illness in h.o.l.

          Clara,

          Why Borderline Personality Disorder specifically? Of what I know of BPD, I wouldn't have singled that one out for P...but for J.T. it is a interesting diagnosis. What are your thoughts?

          Agonestes

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          • #6
            mental illness in h.o.l.

            I actually think BPD is right on. Here are some diagnostic criteria I found online that sound like P.:

            frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.
            a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation
            identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self

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            • #7
              mental illness in h.o.l.

              Not to give too much away about myself, but I also thought that the Whalestoe letters were spot on in their interpretation of mental illness.

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              • #8
                mental illness in h.o.l.

                quote:
                Originally posted by Bonemaster3000:
                Not to give too much away about myself, but I also thought that the Whalestoe letters were spot on in their interpretation of mental illness.


                Heh. Is hinting at a prior history of mental problems really a newsflash when it comes from Bonemaster! [img]images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

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                • #9
                  mental illness in h.o.l.

                  I do see the connection between Pelafina's letters and some characteristics of BPD, but I also think that she might be verging into histrionic personality disorder, if she has a personality disorder at all. Without actually being able to see someone and how they interact with others, it's hard to say what the primary problem is. With most clinicians who are able to diagnose people, they diagnose them with the primary disorder and work on that until something else becomes a bigger problem.

                  Pelafina also seems to have bi-polar I disorder, where she goes through strong hypomanic phases. Maybe she also has delusional disorder, because she shows a lot of paranoia and talks about conspiracies a lot--but this could also be a sign on BPD because they tend to split people into all good/all bad categories depending on their most recent actions.

                  Pelafina states in some of the letters that she's gone through periods of time either where she doesn't remember what happened, or she remembers little of it. That type of behavior shows that it is unlikely that a personality disorder such as BPD or HPD is her main mental health issue because people with personality disorders are largely unresponsive to medication (which could have induced the altered state) and are usually able to function. It's their coping and social skills that are disrupted, and disruptive.

                  If I were going to choose just one mental health issue for Pelafina, I would probably say that she is bi-polar with some delusional disorder symptoms.

                  All in all, I don't think that Pelafina's specific metal illness is of much importance to the book, except that some mental illnesses are easier to pass down to your offspring. Just knowing that Pelafina is mentally ill is more important, because it shows that Johnny has a predisposition for mental illness--many of which can be triggered by a lot of stress in one's life.

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                  • #10
                    mental illness in h.o.l.

                    BPD.... maybe. I've always thought that schizophernia would be a closer match to Johnny.

                    Here are some of the symptoms:
                    Distorted Perceptions of Reality
                    Hallucinations and Illusions
                    Delusions
                    Disordered Thinking
                    Paranoia
                    and Anxiety

                    I think that schizophernia is Johnny's illness mainly because I believe many of the people in Johnny's life are alive only in his mind.

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                    • #11
                      mental illness in h.o.l.

                      Same as Aledo, also nice note to the Whalestoe Letters in his sig [img]images/smiles/icon_smile.gif[/img]

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                      • #12
                        mental illness in h.o.l.

                        quote:
                        Originally posted by Aledo:
                        BPD.... maybe. I've always thought that schizophernia would be a closer match to Johnny.

                        Here are some of the symptoms:
                        Distorted Perceptions of Reality
                        Hallucinations and Illusions
                        Delusions
                        Disordered Thinking
                        Paranoia
                        and Anxiety

                        I think that schizophernia is Johnny's illness mainly because I believe many of the people in Johnny's life are alive only in his mind.




                        Are you talking about Borderline Personality Disorder or Bi-Polar Disorder?

                        Many of the symptoms of schizophrenia can also be symptoms of Bi-Polar Disorder, as well.

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                        • #13
                          mental illness in h.o.l.

                          Bi-polar disease, and multi personality disorder often get confused with schizophernia and vise versa.

                          I don't think Bi-polar is right because he is suffering from more than just mood changes. he is seeing things and he is paranoid beyond belief.

                          And, by the way, My Own Self, I am a girl [img]images/smiles/icon_smile.gif[/img] and I'm glad someone recongnized my sig.

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                          • #14
                            mental illness in h.o.l.

                            hi everyone
                            just finished hol today, thought it was an excellent book and very accurate regarding mental illness. i'm a psychiatric officer (doctor) in the UK and found the letters in particular very similar to what we see, i don't know if mr danielewski has any personal experience but from all the medical jargon in the book i guess he might have from a professional viewpoint (?). Anyway, from the letters i would guess that pelafina might be schizophrenic, from the themes of persecution, the odd languages, the relapsing nature of her condition and her response to medication. I would not expect bipolar affective disorder to cause such delusion such as she describes or prolonged hospitalisation - it generally responds well to treatment. Borderline personality disorder does not respond to any treatment, so if pelafina had this she would not improve with medication, plus she would not be delusional.
                            Anyway, I found the medicine bit ok to understand but i think a lot of the clever stuff passed me by - can anyone shed any light on the minotaur thing? I thought it would get explained at some point but it didn't...
                            Cheers
                            Lara

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                            • #15
                              mental illness in h.o.l.

                              Yes, far better off thinking of it in terms of a psychotic spectrum disorder rather than a personality disorder.

                              For those folks who were tossing back and forth the various personality disorders, be warned: the symptoms for personality disorders overlap to the point that it's sometimes very difficult to diagnose one over the other (compared to, say, mood disorders or psychotic spectrum disorders). Many people in the field discount personality disorders altogether because of their unclear and imprecise nature and diagnostic criteria.

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