Exciting news, people! Right now, specialists around the globe are working on the DSM V, the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders! Since the DSM is practically a biography of my addled old self, I’m preordering today—but sadly, the new version isn’t due out until 2012. We’ll have to wait until then to find out about new proposed disorders and diagnoses, like “embitterment disorder” and “apathy disorder” (I didn’t make those up; they’re really considering them).
Thinking about the long wait until publication makes me embittered and apathetic, conditions for which I will demand medication, come 2012. Until then, I’ll be passing the time by thinking up new mental illnesses on my own. I’d like to invite you to join me.
New Flavors of Nuts
For example, right now I’m suffering greatly from “Excessive Attempted Temple Disorder,” or “EATS.” It begins when I decide that my body is a temple, the earth is a temple, we all exist in a temple of consciousness, and I must be reverent and righteous about everything. At that point I start reading inspiring works by Hafiz, St. John of the Cross, or Bono, and embark on a program of healthy eating, meditation, yoga, and charitable thought, speech, and action toward all beings. I answer my email, even the weird stuff from readers who have mistaken me for Martha Stewart and want my opinion on their choice of duvet covers.
EATS, stage one.
Sometimes I can keep this up for literally minutes. Then the next few symptoms of EATS descend upon me like a flock of harpies.
This generally begins in a bewildering flurry of carbohydrates. For example, yesterday for breakfast I had a smoothie made of organic pomegranate juice, a blend of Chinese herbs, and organic blueberries. Midmorning snack: two handfuls of raw organic almonds. Then, around 2:00 p.m., I suddenly ate three cupcakes, two cans of Diet Coke, and toast. You know there’s something seriously wrong when you follow up cupcakes with toast. Next I bought 14 books for my Kindle (you can download a novel in seconds, no waiting, no trips to the bookstore) and spent most of the afternoon crouching behind my bed, hoping no one would catch me reading for pleasure.
EATS, stage two.
New Candidates for the Diagnostic Manual
I don’t know of any cure for EATS, and since I probably also have apathy disorder, it’s highly unlikely that I’ll ever bother to find one. It’s just nice to have something to call it.To while away the time until the assistants take off my restraints, I’ve been soliciting ideas for new brands of insanity. Here are some I’ve gleaned from friends and loved ones:
Pundimania: Actually caring what is said by televised political pundits. Leads to rage, profanity, brain erosion, sleep crime, and the catastrophic failure of all relationships.
Birkenstockholm Syndrome: Spending so much time at meditation retreats that you begin to accept hemp clothing as formal wear.
Recovering Religious Renunciate Rebound Regression (RRRRR): Affects anyone who once gave up large chunks of personality in an attempt to be loved by weird religious definitions of God. Under pressure, the patient snaps back into believing that s/he will be smitten with boils for using the word “damn.”
Petopediac Confusion: The sincere belief that your pets are human children.
When humans get Petopediac Confusion, it’s the innocent who suffer.
Acute Peripatetic Obsession Disorder: Becoming temporarily obsessed with a sequence of different topics, such as songwriting, ornithology, Facebook, astral travel, and French. Treatment includes integration of topics (writing birdlike songs in French about astral travel to post on Facebook).
Delusional Literary Purchase Syndrome: The conviction that buying 20 books per week is the same thing as reading them.
Law and Order Disorder: The paranoid sensation that there is nothing on TV but Law and Order, which is on every channel, all the time.
Syndrome Syndrome: Developing the symptoms of every syndrome you read or hear about, eventually acquiring so many overlapping diagnoses that they mush together.
Protective headgear: a common symptom of Syndrome Syndrome.
So what’s your disorder, or the disorder of that awful man in the cubicle next to yours, who seems to have been hacking up a single hairball since the day he was hired in 1997? Let me know, and we’ll beat the DSM V to market. The manual we create may one day sit on every therapist’s shelf, and lead a new generation of parents into overmedicating themselves and their children!
Or not. If not, I’ll be so, so embittered. Not that I give a damn.
I have to go now. I think I’m developing boils.