Mental health is not the kind of issue we’d ever want to make light about – however, it might help sufferers and their caregivers alike to know that some well-loved fictional characters battle their own demons. From cartoons to beloved children’s books heroes, some of our nearest and dearest heroes have their own set of imbalances. So, without further ado, check out the ten most famous characters with mental disorders, selected from popular books, TV shows, and movies. Can you guess who’s going to make the list?
10. Elmo (“Sesame Street”) – Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Ever noticed how Elmo thinks oh-so very highly of himself? Well, obviously, that’s because he suffers from narcissistic personality disorder. He also seems to believe the world revolves around him (Elmo’s World, anyone?) and, since he speaks about himself in the third person, he probably has a bit of Dissociative Identity Disorder, too. To boot, he’s also kind of selfish, don’t you think?
09. Sherlock Holmes – Asperger’s Syndrome
Ever thought of your favorite detective as a person who clearly suffers from this disorder on the autistic spectrum? It may not apply to every incarnation of this beloved character, but in the original the signs are all quite clearly there. For one he’s incredibly observant and notices all the tiniest details. For another, he’s got a ton of social mannerisms and not too pleasant or emotional a personality. Asperger’s? We think so!
08. Eeyore (“Winnie the Pooh”) – Major Depressive
While it hasn’t been clearly confirmed, one look at the Eeyore song on YouTube will send a ton of red flags regarding Eeyore’s mental health. He thinks the whole world is against him and always seems to be having a bad day! At the end of the song, though, he’s so incredibly happy that it’s hard not to think he might just be a bit bipolar (i.e. a manic depressive).
07. Ariel (“The Little Mermaid”) – Hoarder
Yup, folks, you’ve heard it here first: Ariel from Disney’s Little Mermaid is a pathological hoarder. Or, as the scientific literature would put it, she suffers from Disposophobia. How do we know? Hark back to the film’s opening sequence, in which she’s seen rummaging through a sunken ship. Then, when we get to see her cave, we notice that she’s got a load of junk piled up around the place. Hoarder? Yup, absolutely. It’s a text book case.
06. Belle (“Beauty and the Beast”) – Schizoid Personality Disorder
Now, make sure you understand that we’re not saying Belle is schizophrenic – that’s a whole different kind of disorder altogether. She is, however, sufficiently odd and poorly adapted in her social universe to make for a rather clear sufferer of schizoid personality disorder. She’s ostracized by her village, she avoids contact (remember Gaston, who was thoroughly in love with her?) and can only form significant bonds with… a beast, a teacup and kettle, a clock, and a candlestick!
05. Holden Caulfield (“The Catcher in the Rye”) – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Holden Caulfield is notoriously disdainful of just about the whole world around him. He doesn’t seem to like people, but we’ll take that as a part of the fact that he’s merely 17. However, a more serious aspect of his personality has a lot to do with the stress inflicted upon him by all the trauma he’s seen. He’s seen his brother dying of leukemia and he also saw one of his classmates kill himself, for chrissakes! He seems emotionally numb and also has suicidal thoughts – plus, J.D. Salinger himself, the author of the novel, suffered from PTSD.
04. Glinda the Good Witch (“The Wizard of Oz”) – Sadistic Personality Disorder
She’s the good witch, right? Well, consider how good, pure, and mentally balanced is a full-fledged adult who drops a house on another person. Not only that, but she also blames it on the innocent and teenaged Dorothy and asks the girl to kill every last living family member the bad witch has left! Is she that good, really? She enjoys seeing others suffer and teases and taunts her rival into mental anguish, too.
03. Scar (“Lion King”) – Sociopath
Is he anti-social? Check. Does he display a complete lack of empathy and remorse? Check and double-check: here’s a character who not only kills off his own brother, but also tries very hard to kill his nephew, too. And, to top it all off, he’s immensely charming, just like most sociopaths are. Not only are they just like other people; they want to seem better and more beloved than them. Scar from The Lion King is a typical sociopaths, in all senses of the word.
02. Scarlett O’Hara (“Gone with the Wind”) – Histrionic and Antisocial Personality Disorder
She drinks like a man, in an era when this was specifically frowned upon. She’s headstrong to the point where she’ll slash the throat of anyone who stands between her and her goals. She’s got a dynamite kind of temper, will gladly show some skin, if asked, and has no empathy whatsoever. Seriously, now: she tries to seduce an engaged man right from the beginning and then also seduces the man’s brother out of sheer vengefulness. Is she histrionic, too? Clearly so. The woman always overreacts and wants to be the center of attention at all times!
01. Peter Pan – Peter Pan Syndrome
Peter Pan and his gang of Lost Boys are basically so not right in the head that they have their very own syndrome. Ever heard of ‘boys’ (read: human beings) who prolong teenage until they’re old and grey? For that, we’ve got Disney’s own Peter Pan, the most famous of all characters with mental health disorders, to thank for!