Emotional instability. Mood swings. Relationship troubles.... Those are just a few of the hallmarks of borderline personality disorder, a difficult-to-treat and under-recognized condition that can destroy the lives of people with it and, not that they may notice, but the lives of those around them as well. So thank goodness for Darth Vader. We'd have hated for it not to be taken seriously.
L.A. Times staff writer Shari Roan wrote last year of people with borderline personality disorder:
"They have the thinnest skin, the shortest fuses and take the hardest knocks. In psychiatrists' offices, they have long been viewed as among the most challenging patients to treat.
"They are the kind of people who drive a friend away for interfering and subsequently berate that friend for abandonment.
"But almost 20 years after the designation of borderline personality disorder as a recognized mental health condition, some understanding and hope have surfaced for people with the condition and their families." Read full story here.
She was referring to increasing awareness of the disorder and of discussions about it at the American Psychiatric Assn. meeting. Time magazine took a similar approach in this article: The Mystery of Borderline Personality Disorder.
But French psychiatrist Eric Bui has done them one better in the "raise awareness" arena -- at least we hope that's what his contention amounts to. He and his colleagues at Toulouse University Hospital contend that Anakin Skywalker -- Darth Vader of "Star Wars" fame -- probably had the condition. They'll be making their case in an upcoming issue of the journal Psychiatry Research.
Here's a LiveScience article that lays out their Anakin-Skywalker-had-borderline-personality-disorder talking points. (We note that it lacks any explainer of the potential effect of midi-chlorians.)
If you're one to bemoan the fact that a life-destroying condition might not be taken seriously as a result of this pop culture tangent, keep in mind that -- as my in-box attests -- any publicity is generally taken as good publicity.
Besides, the Paging Dr. Gupta blog post over at CNN, What is Darth Vader's diagnosis? doesn't seem to buy the possible borderline-personality-disorder diagnosis.
There's that whole evil-emperor thing, it points out.
Here's an overview of borderline personality disorder from the National Institute of Mental Health.
-- Tami Dennis
Photo: Borderline personality disorder? Or played far too easily by an evil emperor? In any case, here's Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker.
Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.