As investigations into Trump intensify, I start to notice that he and his closest followers are mentally breaking down even more than usual. I always wondered what drew his cult to him and I think I found the answer in a comment on Youtube:
“Trumpism is by definition, a shared psychosis. A shared psychotic disorder is a rare type of mental illness in which a healthy person starts to take on the delusions of someone who has a psychotic disorder. For example, let’s say your spouse has a psychotic disorder and, as part of that illness, believes aliens are spying on them. Trump convinced his followers that President Obama spied on him. People with psychotic disorders have trouble staying in touch with reality and often can’t handle daily life. The most obvious symptoms are hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t real) and delusions (believing things that aren’t true, even when they get the facts). Shared psychotic disorders can also happen in groups of people who are closely involved with a person who has a psychotic disorder (called folie à plusiers, or “the madness of many”). For instance, this could happen in a cult if the leader is psychotic and their followers take on their delusions. The most obvious example of this is what happens in a cult, if the leader is living with a mental illness and transfers their delusions to the group. In a larger group setting, this might also be termed mass hysteria. Scientific American asked Bandy Lee, a forensic psychiatrist, to comment on the psychology behind Trump’s destructive behavior, and what attracts his followers to him. “TheReasons are multiple and varied. I have outlined two major emotional drives: narcissistic symbiosis and shared psychosis. Narcissistic symbiosis refers to the developmental wounds that make the leader-follower relationship magnetically attractive. The leader, hungry for adulation to compensate for an inner lack of self-worth, projects grandiose omnipotence—while the followers, rendered needy by societal stress or developmental injury, yearn for a parental figure. When such wounded individuals are given positions of power, they arouse similar pathology in the population that creates a “lock and key” relationship. “Shared psychosis”—which is also called “folie à millions” [“madness for millions”] when occurring at the national level or “induced delusions”—refers to the infectiousness of severe symptoms that goes beyond ordinary group psychology. When a highly symptomatic individual is placed in an influential position, the person’s symptoms can spread through the population through emotional bonds, heightening existing pathologies and inducing delusions, paranoia and propensity for violence—even in previously healthy individuals.” Destructiveness is a core characteristic of mental pathology, whether directed toward the self or others. When mental pathology is accompanied by criminal-mindedness, the combination can make individuals far more dangerous than either alone. In my textbook on violence, I emphasize the symbolic nature of violence and how it is a life impulse gone awry. Briefly, if one cannot have love, one resorts to respect. And when respect is unavailable, one resorts to fear. Trump is now living through an intolerable loss of respect: rejection by a nation in his election defeat. Violence helps compensate for feelings of powerlessness, inadequacy and lack of real productivity.”
As I mentioned in my previous posts, I will be focusing on the psychological development of my overpowered main character in my new superhero series. I have taken inspiration from the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion, which highlighted a number of characters who suffered from severe psychological issues. Series creator Hideaki Anno drew inspiration from his own psychological issues such as depression. I am thinking of following Anno-san’s lead with my own project by basing my main character on my own psychological issues. Apart from my autism, I also have other issues. Like Anno-san, I also suffer from depression from time to time and writing has been a good therapeutic method. As I continue to brainstorm the psychological profile of my main character, I wonder how someone as overpowered as my main character would be like if he had the same issues I do. I find this question intriguing because I often imagine the things I would do if I was superhumanly powerful. Just as Shinji Ikari was a subversion of the main anime character archetype, my main character will be a subversion of a classic superhero. Hopefully, this will allow my character to be more relatable to my audience.
When I was in Middle School, I suffered a great deal of depression to the point in which I considered suicide multiple times. Thanks to the intervention and support of my parents, teachers, and therapist, I was able to overcome this depression and quelled any further thoughts about suicide. I am aware that depression can be a common symptom of being autistic, but I thought the suicide part was just something I had to deal with. Then the other day, I met a mother of an autistic boy who had the same troubled thoughts I had and I realized that more autistic people may have had suicidal thoughts like me and this boy. Fortunately, I do not have such dark thoughts anymore. Now, I acknowledge that life is worth living and I can accomplish much if I live long enough.
The other day, I met a mother of an autistic boy who suffered from depression and even contemplated suicide. I saw some similarities between myself and this boy so I recommended my therapist to this woman, who was desperately searching for someone who could help her son control his condition. Having gone through many of the struggles to mother described myself, I thought this would be a good way to contribute to the autistic community.
Many people regard Bruce Wayne to be Batman’s secret identity. Personally, I think it is much more complicated than that. As the supervillain Bane put it, Bruce Wayne is the mask and Batman is who he truly is. That may sound like nonsense, but allow me to explain. From a psychological perspective, Bruce Wayne died in Crime Alley along with his parents. Afterwards, he became raw, untamed psychological power that took the form of the fragments of the Bruce Wayne persona. After years of training, the psychological power that was Bruce Wayne was hammered into his new personality: Batman. Batman is the glue that is holding the shattered remnants of Bruce Wayne together.
Because the main characters of my superhuman series are not heroes, I have decided to expand on that with one of the characters whose powers are psychic in nature. Due to the fact that their power will be mentally based, I am thinking of exploring what could happen when a psychic individual becomes psychologically strained by their own power. For instance, the character could have black-out sessions and not remembering what they were doing for hours on end. Then it will be revealed that they developed a darker split personality that uses their psychic powers to do horrendously dark things to criminals. When I think of characters using psychic powers violently, I think of Lucy in Elfen Lied and Tetsuo from Akira. In both cases, the characters used their psychic powers to maim, eviscerate, and utterly obliterate their targets. To put it in a nutshell, my character’s psychic powers will operate like a brain tumor in that it will cause unpredictable personality changes through constant use. They would be their usual self one second and the personification of evil the next, which will give this character a Jekyll and Hyde mindset. I look forward to tinkering with this character when the time comes to finally put this new project in motion.
As I mentioned in my previous post, my autism and aspergers has a unique effect on how I process my emotions. Just as my autism itself is part of a spectrum, my emotions are organized in my the same way. One one end I can feel any emotion to the extreme while on the other side I feel nothing at all. During those episodes of emotionlessness, I am able to focus more on whatever tasks I am given. An example of this is when I am at work and I shelve and reorganize books. While doing this, nothing else occupies my mind not even my usual daydreams. This gives me a mindset that is similar to that of a machine. On the other hand, when I feel emotions to their limit my mind is almost on the verge of erupting like a volcano. An example of this is whenever I spend time with my beloved pit bulls. While in their presence, I feel the same kind of affection that a parent would have towards their child. Overall, this is just one example of how complex my autism has made me over the years.
I watched the new M. Night Shyamalan film, Split starring James McAvoy. As someone with autism, I was very intrigued by the psychological elements of the film even though I do not have multiple personality disorder. While some people view the condition from a scientific perspective, I view it from a spiritual perspective, which I will elaborate on in another post. Also, there is a serious twist at the end of the film that reveals that Split is a spin-off/sequel to another one of M. Night Shyamalan’s films. This twist made me realize that Shyamalan is starting to create his own superhero universe just like me. With this in mind, one could argue that Split was not just a psychological thriller but the origin story of a supervillain. I would recommend this film to anyone who likes the psychological and the extreme.
As the years roll by, I start to notice how much my control over my autism has improved as I age. When I was younger, my mind was overflowing with so much activity that I could barely contain it. During this time period, I had little control over my motor skills. In fact, my earliest memory consisted of me spinning around in circles while shopping with my mother at the grocery store when I was in kindergarden. This lack of impulse control persisted until after I graduated from high school. By the time I went to college, my autistic impulse control had improved to the point in which no one would know I had autism unless I tell them. If I was able to acquire this much control over my autism this early in life, I cannot wait to see how much more my control will improve as I age.
As a person with autism, I did not always have control over my condition. Like many people with autism, I had to undergo various forms of therapy and groups to overcome my limitations. However, even though I eventually gained control over my condition, not all of these “specialists” or “groups” have had a positive impact on me. As I mentioned in my 2013 interview with Autism Live, I had unpleasant experiences with people who did not understand how to help me with my condition, which resulted in negative consequences.
For example, when I was a toddler, I was taken to a daycare center who did not employ the friendliest of people. In one instance, when I had an episode in which my autism made me emotionally unstable, two of the teachers dragged me out of the classroom by my wrists and ankles and locked me in a closet. Because of their brutality, I was moved out of that daycare center. All of that happened on the first and only day I was there.
Another example of “groups” that had a negative effect on me was when I joined this group for disabled children while I was in middle school. The lady who ran the group was a cold and unfeeling tyrant who mocked our troubles and emotionally abused us rather than helped us. One time one of the children I was assigned to needed to use the restroom and she refused to let him go because she thought he was trying to avoid the group and by the time the meeting ended he wet himself. In my case, I underwent a severe case of depression and instead of helping me overcome my depression, the lady made an exaggerated, sarcastic impression of me being depressed. Also, she tried to make me speak the way she wanted me to speak because she thought I sounded too smart and mature for someone my age.
While some of the school aides I was provided throughout my academic career were helpful and positive, there were some who saw me as nothing more than a job instead of a person with problems. One aide in particular was an overbearing woman who imposed help upon me when I didn’t need any and complained about every little mistake I ever made no matter how minor and insignificant it was. She never understood what I was going through or how to handle my needs.
Even though these “groups” and “specialists” were unpleasant, I persevered and eventually gained control of my condition and live a relatively average life. In general, these experiences have taught me that if you have a child with autism, it would be wise to check the following qualifications of a group or specialist. Firstly, make sure that the group or specialist in question provides a calm and positive environment rather than a hostile one. Secondly, make sure that the specialist actually understands what they are doing and have what it takes to help your child’s needs. Thirdly, make sure that the specialist sees your child as a person rather than another job. With these qualifications, I am certain you will find the right help your autistic child would need.