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Author Topic: Mental disorders and Santharia  (Read 3777 times)
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Sicillia Lock
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« on: 25 May 2009, 08:55:50 »

What would be your feelings on introducing proper mental disorders to Santharia? I know there is already an entry that is similar to alzheimer's, but that is more of a degenerative illness. But I thought it would be interesting to build on the depth of character, going deeper into the mentality of living beings in Santharia. I was particularly interested on doing an entry that is like Anorexia Nervosa. But I am hesitant, is that too kind of deep for the medieval style of this community. There are also things like Depression, Bipolar and Schizophrenia which could be interested.
So what would you think of going on to this whole new psychological level, rather than just (for want of better words) on face value. Or is it just too much like reality?

Or am I just completely missing something here and all of this stuff is already incorporated.
« Last Edit: 25 May 2009, 19:55:21 by Sicillia Lock » Logged

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Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin
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« Reply #1 on: 25 May 2009, 09:04:36 »

I'm not adverse to such a pursuit, providing that you keep in mind the level of scientific knowledge here.  This sight is akin to medieval times, so all such diseases would be met with much folklore, superstition, and outright ignorance. Having a proper diagnosis, and proper treatment should not be done with modern views in mind.
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« Reply #2 on: 25 May 2009, 09:21:48 »

I'm working on narcolepsy at the moment,  and insomnia is somewhere ahead if they count. I was planning on giving insomnia a little "walking dead" treatment actually.
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« Reply #3 on: 25 May 2009, 18:42:06 »

Altario - Yeah I know what you mean about the very basic science for medieval times. But I can imagine like a young anorexic girls sent away to live in nunneries to repent for their sins and be force fed. Or a mass suicide due to depression in a war. Or perhaps even a schizophrenic soothsayer. Oh and how about shellshock.

Valan – I like the sound of that, walking dead idea, good one, and I bet narcolepsy will be pretty interesting.
« Last Edit: 25 May 2009, 18:44:45 by Sicillia Lock » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: 25 May 2009, 19:29:33 »

Hello Sicillia,

I see one problem with introducing mental illnesses as - illnesses. Did the people really realise, that what they saw was an illness rather than the work of a demon or just the strange behaviour of single men or women? Anorexia Nervosa was certainly not a problem at all,  not recognised as such, even if there might have been cases of it. (though I'm not sure, that this is not only a quite modern phenom, especially as it occurs most often in our modern western society)  So, I think you could write a person's entry about somebody who showed signs of schizophrenia, compare it to a few other known cases, but making a whole illness out of it? I fear, that is too modern.

You need not to be afraid, that it would be "too deep" for our community. We have entries of the philosophical (and magical) kind which are much deeper as the description of any mental illness can possibly be. Just make yourself familiar with those, you will enjoy them.
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« Reply #5 on: 25 May 2009, 19:50:45 »

Thank you for the reply, sorry if I used the wrong words there, I didn’t really mean it like that. I meant because it is set in medieval style, and back then they never went so deep into a person’s mentality when it came to such problems. They just saw it as something caused by demons, like you pointed out or that the person was mad. I will look at those philosophical entries though, sounds interesting.

There have in fact been cases of Anorexia Nervosa going back a long way, it has become more wide spread with the media. But even in some of the most unmodernised places in the world, people can become very ill from the problem. Although Bulimia does go back a lot further, and I think could be quite plausible that sort of behaviour may have been noted in some upper or middle class young women. As there has always been pressure on women to look better than all the others. But as you said, all of it was probably seen as a result of demons or witch craft.

I suppose it would be hard to interpret how these things would have been seen in medieval times. So it would have to be quite basic information, if anyone did make such an entry.
Anyway, thanks for your comment, if I do decide to do an entry about any of this stuff I will take what you said into account. Thank you.

Honestly I just want to do something worthwhile to keep me involved in the community until I get some inspiration to write some more poetry.
« Last Edit: 25 May 2009, 19:58:30 by Sicillia Lock » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: 25 May 2009, 23:52:04 »

Anorexia and bulimia I would tend to agree with Talia.  In earlier times, and in most primitive and ancient societies, it was not thin women that were considered the epitome of beauty, but plumper women, as it showed that they were healthy and well-fed, hinting at wealth.  As well, wider women had a better chance of giving birth without complication than very skinny women.  Back then, child bearing among women was a major responsibility, to ensure the survival of a people.  Hollywood, and mass media in general, have propagated the image of the thin woman as the healthy and attractive image of women that we have today.

Even today, though the spotlight has been shone on these two diseases, they are still relatively uncommon.  Back then, it would have been even more rare, so how does one diagnose a problem when only one women in a province might have the symptoms?  Certainly databases did not exist, nor quick and easy communication.

Just things to consider as you move forward.  Certainly, I am not trying to discourage you. :D
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Alysse the Likely
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« Reply #7 on: 26 May 2009, 03:12:53 »

Currently some of us are working on Sarvonia's medical system and developing the concept of treatment centers and hospitals, which would be responsible for dealing with some of these diseases.  As one of the interested persons, I'd just like to put a question out for consideration:

A medieval society would certainly blame some of these illnesses on demons, but that refers to the Catholic church-based medieval society we had here.  Would Caelereth be subject to the same ideas and prejudices?  I'm not sure.  Would they see these things as religious issues or medical issues? Maybe we need to discuss that a little further, for certainly not all races and peoples would feel the same way.  Orcs, for instance, would be unlikely to see a schizophrenic or an individual with depression as being "demon possessed".  I'm not sure elves would necessarily see them that way either. And what about hobbits or gnomes?  Would they?

Meanwhile, I don't see why you can't at least make up a list of  the illnesses you are thinking of developing, Sicillia,  and we can discuss them on a case-by-case basis until we get some of these details worked out.  I agree that anorexia would not likely be a major problem, but what about post-partum depression?  That might be a concern for all races...also narcolepsy, as Valan suggests.  Interesting ideas to talk about.  Herbalists (especially the gnomes) would be a major source of treatments for most cases (chamomile for insomnia, willow bark for headache, Juk'lan for scurvy, that sort of thing) but certainly longer term illnesses might require greater study.
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Alysse the Likely
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« Reply #8 on: 26 May 2009, 04:27:30 »

Yeah, one should be aware that the whole "proper" analysing of mental disorders didn't really take off before the 19th century or so if I'm correct. A lot of what can now be explained in a way was actually explained with superstition, on in earlier times you could even be burned as a witch... I'm really not an expert - but you also have to take into account that some illnesses (maybe even anorexia?) only really made their breakthrough when a modern society made such diseases happen with its new demands. So integrating such diseases in Santharia definitely requires to look at it as good as possible with medieval eyes, and embed its reasons and consequences in such an environment, which surely is quite different from today's Earthen world.
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Alysse the Likely
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« Reply #9 on: 26 May 2009, 06:38:02 »

Well, perhaps certain diseases might be perceived as being cursed by the gods (for whatever reason) or being tormented by demons,  but I wanted to point out that not all of our sentient races would see this the same way.  Also, we already HAVE "Mind-smoothers", or Eyashenes  on the site, as people who help to heal emotional and mentally distressed people.   To me this suggests that certain mental illnesses are  already recognized and treated in Caelereth, by these (often elven) people.

 So perhaps Sarvonia is a bit more advanced than medieval Earth in its recognition and treatment of mental illnesses?  I want to have mental healers among the Daughters of Choan (when I and Tharoc get around to writing them) and I think we already have herbs on the site that healers use for calming or soothing emotionally distraught patients. So I do think there is some basis for the recognition of emotional/mental illnesses.


And BTW, Shakespeare was acquainted with depression (in "The Merchant of Venice", the character Antonio is clearly suffering from it, as expressed in the opening lines of the play) so there was some recognition of these diseases (even if not official "medical" recognition) before the 19th century.  I think we can at least incorporate narcolepsy, insomnia, post-partum-depression, PTSD and a few other of the "commoner" or more dramatic mental issues on the sites as recognizable illnesses, don't you?  If our Eyashenes can sense them, they would likely start recognizing common symptoms and classifying them fairly quickly.

Just a few thoughts,

Alysse

« Last Edit: 26 May 2009, 06:53:11 by Alysse the Likely » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: 26 May 2009, 07:37:55 »

I don't think we need to go into the stereotypical demons approach, but still I worry that in too many ways, we are making Sarvonia not as much a medieval/fantasy world, as a modern world beset with medieval influences.  We are taking a too modern approach to everything we create, with little errors, little superstition, and it loses some of that "dream" quality.  It is beginning, at times, to look like modern day people inserted into an older society.  It is my opinon that it takes away some of the magic of the site.  Our modern morals and politics and knowledge should not be how we view this world, but put ourselves into this world and look out from it.

Forgive me, for I know I have opined on a bit more than the subject at hand, but I see it as part f a bigger problem.  I'm sure that these things can be done in a way that will work for the site, as almost anything can be.  Just not sure everything should be.

Perhaps I will one day start a thread to discuss these matters so it does not look like I am pointing at any one thing in particular. :D
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« Reply #11 on: 26 May 2009, 14:55:25 »

I agree with the three A's above!    Particularly Altario's cogent comment re our modern approach.  Let's not keep inserting modern and postmodern concepts and attempting to Santharianize them in the name of complexity and realism - look at what made the medieval world fascinating and layered, authentically.


I've thought about creating an illness that truly belongs in Santharia - something specific to a world of low technology and where magic is real - culturally-driven and unique.   There are Terran examples, and not just modern ones like stress and depression.  I'm specifically thinking of folk 'diseases' like the  Malay 'amok', or the widespread belief in 'evil eye',  the concept of ' unbalanced chakras',  'susto' or 'soul loss',  'high blood & low blood', and of course, the infamous 'shrinking manhood' AKA 'Suo yang' or 'koro' ailment ( yes, I know you want more details:  http://homepage.mac.com/mccajor/cbs_koro.html

How about looking at such fascinating and unique concepts as inspiration for our own world, rather than dragging into Santharia the drearily post-modern ailments some of us may actually be trying to escape when we come here?   :)

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« Reply #12 on: 26 May 2009, 15:00:00 »

Oh, yes, there's an excellent list - and a name for these types of ailments - over at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture-bound_syndrome...
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