Call Me Crazy…

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.

Your Turn

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.


  1. Deb Owen
    Deb Owen says:

    I was just having this conversation with someone this past weekend! ha!

    (I’d like to tell you we were being completely understanding and nice. But we were essentially trying to figure out if it’s healthy to be okay with someone taking meds for life so they can be happy — and happy living with and being in a relationship with you. Granted, we were discussing one of these types of ‘newly discovered disorders.’)

    As Dr. Dad has the big ol’ PhD in psych, it was eye-opening to learn that it’s necessary to be published in the mental health field, so there is pressure to actually ‘discover’ new disorders (that the pharm companies can then come up with meds for).

    I’d like to submit for your approval:

    Delusional Photoshop Syndrome — the belief that we all actually look like the photoshop’d pictures of ourselves (it might be close, but we know…if we’re honest with ourselves, we know)

    Marathon Couch Running Disorder – the belief that if we sit on the couch thinking about running a marathon enough, one day we’ll be able to do just that


    All the best!

  2. Amanda
    Amanda says:

    Thank you for this LOL post. I don’t have any new disorders to list right at the moment, but give me time.

    BTW, I am currently in recovery from RRRRR (I’ve recuperated enough that I feel okay baring my arms – you know what I mean) and the Delusion Literary Purchase Syndrome – except I borrow books from the library for months at a time, convinced I will find time to read between my 40 hour a week main job, my 0-10 hour a week teaching job, my 2 kids, 1 spouse and 1 dog. Plus facebook & blog time, of course. 🙂

    There must be some disorder for talking in net speak, right? I mean when you actually say LOL or “smiley face” instead of typing it?? I see this phenomenon in my college students . . .

  3. Georgette
    Georgette says:

    I am firmly convinced that someone came up with “embitterment disorder” in a cunning plan to unseat Bill O’Reilly and most of the rest of the Fox News team… which I wholeheartedly endorse! After that, we should delete this alleged disorder from the DSM.

  4. Meg Wolff
    Meg Wolff says:

    This is GREAT, and I’ve only just finished the second paragraph, it just elicited a deep gutteral laugh from me. I love reading your letters – go Martha!

  5. Candra Canning
    Candra Canning says:

    Photographic apparel discard disorder ( PADD)- The urgent need to discard apparel items after you have seen yourself in a photograph wearing them.

  6. Meg Wolff
    Meg Wolff says:

    P.S. My disorder? Oh, that’s an easy one: Macromania, “The belief that if one cooks three balanced meals a day, based on whole grains, beans and vegetables” that their minds will get clearer, blood sugar stable, they’ll heal from just about anything (including cancer) and that they will live happier and healthier lives”.

  7. Lisa Morrissett
    Lisa Morrissett says:

    How about Recipe Hoarder Syndrome? The belief that if you rip out enough recipes from various publications that suddenly a quick, easy, inexpensive, incredibly healthy and delicious meal will magically appear on your stovetop promptly at 5:30 p.m.

    I have notebooks full of recipes and use approximately 0.023% of them.

  8. Tracee Sioux
    Tracee Sioux says:

    AntiSolution Disorder – It’s when someone becomes attached to their pain, problem or issue so deeply that they are hurt and offended and angry if you suggest a possible cure, antidote, solution, remedy, doctor, fix or possibility. They seem to incredulously ask, Why Are You Disrespecting My Pain? as if it’s their BFF or first born.

  9. Uma
    Uma says:

    Holy Crap! I almost peed my pants just now from laughing so hard at the list of acronyms and the doggie photo. That was brilliantly funny Martha.

    I’ve got a good one. How about TechnoPersecution-itis Disorder? That occurs when on a Thursday afternoon you make a dental appointment for the following Tuesday at 1:00 pm. Over the weekend you receive a “confirmation” email. That is followed by a “live confirmation” call on Monday morning, which
    subsequently leads to a call on your cell at 1:06 pm on Tuesday (while you’re attempting to park your car without crashing at the dentist’s office over-crowded parking lot) cheerfully demanding “where are you?” I’m afraid the dentist will insert a GPS device in my mouth without my knowledge next time I go in. It’s the only technological tool they haven’t accessed to keep track of me yet!!

  10. Julia
    Julia says:

    I’m the poster girl for EATS right now – thank you for the label. It fits like a glove!

    Recently purchased uber-expensive organic blueberries, yoga chant music, breathing exercise CD, neti pot, two bunches of kale — two, I ask you, for two people! — and am gearing up to ‘clean out’ email inbox of offended family & friends that I’ve been ignoring. Maybe I’ll skip it and do straight the Kindle-Cupcake Collapse.

    I’m also suffering from a pernicious case of the Internet Whirlies, wherein I do things like . . . fantasize about writing an anti-Facebook diatribe. To my own set of Facebook friends. Because that would be such a great use of my time, right?

    I love the responses. TPD (technopersecution-itis disorder) is an old friend, and now I have a word for it, too!

  11. sharon
    sharon says:

    Sadly, my dad has Pundimania. The rage is not pretty.

    I think I have To-Do List Overdoing-Doing Over Disorder – the obsessive need to continually update, re-write, add-to, mark off and otherwise fool around with my to-do list, instead of actually doing anything on the list.

  12. Fiona Newsome
    Fiona Newsome says:

    I know lots of people (tho’ I would never include myself of course!) with PPD – Pale Pink Disorder – becoming wilted and feeble at the first signs of difficulty or illness! It often manifests big eyes, blinking and helplessness too!

  13. Nan Scarborough
    Nan Scarborough says:

    I have RRRRR! DAMN!! And I’m pretty certain that I am coming down with a case of IBTY Problem NM – I Believe That’s Your Problem, Not Mine.

  14. Rose Sell
    Rose Sell says:

    How about Irritating Illusion syndrome? The fear that everything you ask for from others will irritate them, whether they should actually be put out or not (!)

    This can develop from living too close to inlaws…

    Now that I know I suffer from Delusional Literary Syndrome I can start a support group and talk about it every Tuesday @ 6 until the end of time!! I think I will go write the 12 steps right now!

  15. Terri DeMontrond
    Terri DeMontrond says:

    OK…what a great way to start my day. Really LOVE the dialectical way of looking at ‘labels’ with a sense of humor. For someone living around and with a lot of labels, what a relief for me to be able to giggle at the absurdity for the need to assign a name and more importantly to describe and UNDERSTAND WHY we do, think, and feel things. HA! Thank you Martha for a reality check and lots of myself :-)))

  16. Stacy
    Stacy says:

    Loved this! How about MPDD (Meditation Bound Delusional Disorder). The tragic conviction that trying new meditation techniques intermittently and without commitment or practice will automatically result in a zenful peace. You know, a friend has it . . .

  17. Jessica Rampton
    Jessica Rampton says:

    HA! I too have EATS disorder and I was sitting around feeling guilty about it when I read this BLOG and had a great laugh and soar of relief, THANKS Martha, how did you know… 🙂

  18. Rose
    Rose says:

    I have been suffering from acute cases of String Bean Resentmentitis. Itis because it flares up like a teenager’s acne, at the most inopportune times. This disorder has the following diagnostic criteria: 1. Excessive monitoring of what the skinny person next to you is eating. 2. Trying to catch a glimpse of skinny people’s waist size on their pants. 3. Trying to see how fast the skinny girl on the next treadmill is going and making sure that I exceed her speed AND total time on the treadmill.

  19. Janelle
    Janelle says:

    Oh, this is great. I have Procrastionation Perfectionism Predilection Disorder (PPPD) – which is a terrible disorder where you clean out sock drawers in order to avoid doing the one thing you most want to do but don’t because you’re afraid you’re not perfect and that the whole thing would be a waste of time if it’s not perfect but cleaning out your sock drawer would not be a waste of time because you’re sure you can perfectly organize your socks. Whew! I love run-on sentences.

  20. Annette
    Annette says:

    Love this! Hilarious and True!!
    How about
    Surprise Passive-Aggressive Selective Memory Manipulation – or SPASMM
    Thank you for meeting me here so I can return that borrowed item you asked me for 6 weeks ago! OK, now take me home. OH! Didn’t I tell you I needed a ride home???

  21. Darstar
    Darstar says:

    Martha, Thanks for this too funny post! I got a few of those syndromes and a few new ones for you. After shoulder surgery this Spring and 6 weeks off work for the first time since I was 12 years old…. yes, you read correctly… I helped my single mom support 8 kids after the Catholic father left her for another woman – I think it’s what caused the Pope’s demise in the ’70’s (along with a few other things) tee hee.

    Anyhow, once back into my cubicle and the office, and after I finished all of my Percocet (Note spelling: not Percoset-catholic grammar school was good for something), I was in an hour long “Staff” meeting with managers and colleagues.

    After listening to about 57 minutes of bull@#&%, I asked a pertinent question about a person who was mentioned in the discussion. I was told it: “didn’t concern me”… It was then that I asked. “Well…then why am I in this meeting if the discussion isn’t relevant to me?”.

    My manager in the room yelled at me…” You are a NUTCASE”. When I got up to leave, he screamed, “Get Back in this Room.” I never did follow instructions well – and promptly returned to my cubicle to get some real work done. (Protecting Human Health and the Environment – The mission of my Agency)

    It was then that I joined the club! After 29 years in a cubicle, I am getting out! Make room Scott Adams!!! I get it totally!

    Finding my true North star has been wonderfull. I am coming out to Sedona on July 11th. I offer some new syndromes for the fifth edition:

    MMS- Marble Mouth Syndrome – Folks from North Carolina who ramble in meetings about what they did last week and how many hours they spent on projects – when no one gives a rat’s butt anyhoo!!!!

    NUTCASE: No Uneccesary Talking – Could Allow Stress Expression

    ACS – American Chemical Society??? – No it’s “Actual Compulsive Disorder” – This occurs when an individual starts counting their meds to keep track of the amount they have left, while the doctor is also counting, but they then misrepresent the ACTUAL amount they are taking – so that they will have some left over for a rainy day!!!!!!

  22. Lori Campbell
    Lori Campbell says:

    I have one for you Martha, Alzhummer’s disorder. This disorder manifests itself as stuttered humming when a person cannot remember the words to that damn song that has been going through their heads since 3 am, to save your (ehmmm) “their” life. It can be quite disturbing to watch in the advanced stages when accompanied by tremors resembling air guitar playing and mangled lyrics. I find this to be a very prevalent disorder mainly manifesting in men 35 and older who spend large quantities of time in singles bars, however it has been documented in women’s showers. An off shoot of this disorder manifests itself in teens. Those studied knew all the words to the various tunes they were humming but had no clue why they were humming it or why they liked said tune enough to hum it. Have a fun day and I’ll hum one for you.

  23. Melanie C
    Melanie C says:

    How about Monetary Substitution Performance Disorder? This is a delusion in which a person convinces himself that spending money on something is proof that you did it. Joining a gym, purchasing running shoes, signing up for a marathon, buying a heart healthy cookbook, buying a guitar, buying a TV/DVD/karate workout DVD’s, buying fruits and vegetables. Even if it doesn’t prove you actually did anything, it’s proof that you intended to or wanted to badly enough to spend actual money on it. And that should count for something. For example: “I feel bad that I’m sitting on the couch with a martini and my third plate of nachos when I know the doctor said I need to lose weight. But at least I bought those karate DVD’s!”

  24. Rinay
    Rinay says:

    I’m sure you haven’t heard THIS one before but I always find your writing so funny. It’s like getting a new breath of air on an old subject. It is so much fun to read you. What a great sense of humor.
    How do you come up with some of these thoughts, just brilliant I guess.

  25. Buy Salvia
    Buy Salvia says:

    Keen share noted here and I appreciate your take on things. One thing I have seen is what we think about is 100% what we attract. We create our own reality.

  26. Reba
    Reba says:

    I came up with the simple phrase “dis-order”. That describes those of us who go to restaurants and the other person’s choice is always better. I just don’t know how to order. I have a dis-order syndrome.

  27. Johnathon Szymczyk
    Johnathon Szymczyk says:

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