Batman Personality Disorder

#310: Josué, Lara, and Link talk about Titans and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and the complexities of getting diagnosed and medicated (in real life and in fiction).


Josué Cardona 0:11
Welcome to GT radio on the Geek Therapy network here at Geek Therapy. We believe that the best way to understand each other and ourselves is through the media we care about. My name is Josué Cardona. And I’m joined by link Keller.

Link Keller 0:21

Josué Cardona 0:22
and Lara Taylor.

Lara Taylor 0:23

Josué Cardona 0:24
welcome to episode 310. Of GT radio. Today, it’s my turn. So I want to talk explicitly about,

Lara Taylor 0:36
is this an explicit episode?

Josué Cardona 0:38
They’re all explicit. But we’re gonna explicitly talk about representation of mental health in media, which we talk about all the time, but I don’t think we’ve focus solely on on that topic. And at the very least, we haven’t talked about it in a very long time as the main focus of an episode. And I’ve been wanting to talk about this for weeks. So there’s a show on HBO Max called Titans. It’s the gritty version of the Teen Titans from DC Comics. The the trailer for the show, famously showed Robin kicking some people’s ass in the in the in the alleyway. And someone says like, where’s Batman? He goes, fuck Batman. Right? Is this is?

Link Keller 1:31
are they teens?

Josué Cardona 1:31
I think they are. They are Yeah, yeah, they’re,

Lara Taylor 1:35
I mean, but they’re gritty teens.

Josué Cardona 1:36
They’re just, yeah, they’re not all teens. Some of them are adults. They’re grown ass adults, some of them. But

Lara Taylor 1:45
hanging out with teens.

Josué Cardona 1:45
But that’s what’s called Titans is not it’s not a Teen Titans. So the show is on season three. And there’s an episode called Lazarus, the fifth episode of this season. And the character of Leslie Thompkins who is a doctor that appears in Gotham City Stories. She’s a psychiatrist. And this one, I don’t know, I don’t know that she’s always been a psychiatrist. But she’s a psychiatrist in this version, and she’s talking to Jason Todd. And he, he’s talking about how he wants to be Robin. He has to be Robin. Then the psychiatrist says something. I don’t know. She psychiatrist. I don’t remember now. It doesn’t matter. The point is that she she she knows that Bruce Wayne is Batman. And so she tells Jason Todd, who is Robin currently in the show that Robin is just a projection of a man with borderline personality disorder, like Bruce Wayne, right, then she and she diagnosis and it doesn’t just like says that. And I was so upset when that when that happened. It had been it had been. I mean, Batman stories are the ones that have sparked the most conversations, I think definitely among us, but like in our circles of like, you know, geek and nerd psychology stuff, right?

Lara Taylor 3:12
What that was Travis langly first

Josué Cardona 3:14
book, obviously, we wrote a whole book, Batman and psychology. We’ve talked about this a lot. But there’s also like, one of the first things I ever posted on the on the first version of The Geek Therapy website was an article of a group of psychiatrists who were speaking up against DC Comics for always giving villains these, you know, just throw away diagnoses, you know, like the real diagnoses, but like, just completely

Lara Taylor 3:43
how you write a villain throw a dart at the DSM? Yeah,

Josué Cardona 3:46
yeah, pretty much. And so. So this bothered me on a number of levels. Okay. That Bruce Wayne would have a BPD first of all, it’s like, that’s never been a thing. First of all, right. And then you could, you could kinda, you could make an argument, maybe that this version of Batman is different. I think every version of Batman is slightly different. And you can do it in a responsible way. But of course, they didn’t do it in a responsible way. Right. They didn’t explain anything. There was there was nothing there. But it was also the way she said it. She didn’t say, you know, you know that your you know, your your caretaker, Bruce, you know, he’s he’s working through, you know, borderline personality disorder. He’s, you know, he’s been working really hard on it. And you know, sometimes he just happens and it there was no like compassion to it. There was no there was nothing about like, it was like, That guy’s got BPD like, why are you listening to him like it was just so so. It was just very negative the way that it was used, but also it doesn’t explain what BPD is, right? It just it just kind of by that connotation alone, like, if you don’t know what it is, it’s like, oh, that must be really bad. Um, I want to tell ya, that’s

Lara Taylor 5:11
very different from saying something like, he’s treating you unhealthily. Like, don’t listen to him. It’s like, throwing you out there a diagnosis

Josué Cardona 5:20
this guy, he’s got BPD you don’t you don’t wanna you don’t want it?

Lara Taylor 5:23
You can’t listen to those people.

Josué Cardona 5:24
can’t listen to those poeple. Yeah, pretty much. And I mean, like, I like this version of Batman has done things that most versions of Batman

Lara Taylor 5:33
wouldn’t do or haven’t done

Josué Cardona 5:34
haven’t done yet. Right. And I’ll leave it at that. I don’t I don’t love this version of Batman. But it’s, it’s, it’s okay. It’s a different version of Batman.

Lara Taylor 5:49
It’s also not the Batman show.

Josué Cardona 5:52
Yeah, I mean, yeah. But it’s definitely it’s definitely not crazy ex girlfriend. Let me tell you about how crazy ex girlfriend brought up a BPD diagnosis. Okay. When they did it in their season three. Okay. Rachel goes to her to her therapist, in a not great way. Right. But she doesn’t she she asked her therapist, like about this diagnosis. She doesn’t she doesn’t understand if she doesn’t like it. And the show proceeds to let the therapist go one by one through the checklist of all of the symptoms, right?

Lara Taylor 6:35
And then it flashes back to her stuff, right?

Josué Cardona 6:38
She’s going through them she’s identifying with each point, showing moments throughout the show that demonstrate that behavior. And then at the end, right, there’s this there’s, there’s that moment of where she’s like, oh, like I meet all nine criteria for that, right?

Link Keller 6:58
Yeah, Dr. Akopian, correctly specifies that for diagnosis, you have to meet five of nine. And Rebecca goes, Oh, shit, I got I got nine of nine. I am winning this one. Yeah, the champion of this one. Oh, no… yaay?

Josué Cardona 7:17
But like the fact that a show took the time to walk through actual, you know, diagnostic criteria, and not just say a word, say a thing. I have I mean, we could, we could and we probably should start a whole show on on crazy ex-girlfriend stuff that goes on there. But that that is right, these are polar opposite examples of something right. And I mean, the Batman example, the Titans example bothers me so much, because it’s Batman too. It’s not just like some obscure character that like people know, it’s like, Bruce Wayne is an archetype or they like people, even if you’ve never seen a Batman movie or, or don’t like characters

Lara Taylor 8:02
you know, Bruce Wayne is

Josué Cardona 8:03
you have a general idea. And and that idea is also because there’s so many stories, right? Like to some people Batman is a certain like, when I just talk about Batman I am. I say a lot of good things about the character. Other people say a lot of bad things about the character we’ve talked about. He’s definitely violent. Right? But like, if you go into like, we could argue we can have like a super fight just on Batman, right? And the different versions of it, right?

Lara Taylor 8:34
I’ve seen that on several Comic Con panels.

Josué Cardona 8:40
Right in I’m not even talking about diagnosis, I’m just talking about like, the character and what he does and what he stands for, and things like that. So to just do that, and just make that connection, right. Like if somebody if somebody has no information about BPD now they’re like, oh, that’s what BPD is, like, Batman. There’s, there’s, that’s not helpful. And, and for something like that. Now, another reason why like it personally affected me is because I’ve been working with my own therapist, and we’re kind of settling on BPD makes a lot of sense based on a lot of things that the that I’ve been working through. And the Rachel episode, right, that episode of crazy ex girlfriend was super validating that episode of Titans was infuriating because BPD is is is something that like isn’t as well known as you know, we’ve had this conversation about depression and anxiety and just the many different ways that that looks and and to the point also that you that you just brought up, link, about how you need to be five of the nine diagnostic criteria. I forgot how, how many combinations that is, but you can have out of nine different things, you only need five to meet the criteria

Lara Taylor 10:02
you only have to meet like half of them

Josué Cardona 10:04
but you can meet up to nine that means that it can represent you know, it can present in like

Lara Taylor 10:10
so many different ways,

Josué Cardona 10:12
like fifty different combinations, right of all of the symptoms and still meet the criteria. So it shows it looks very different there isn’t, it’s very hard to say, oh, that’s, that’s BPD, right. It’s like it’s a it’s a complex, because of those nine steps, or those nine different criteria. It can represent it can present very, very differently in different people. And it’s just

Lara Taylor 10:35
the show with crazy in the title was the one that was validating.

Josué Cardona 10:40
I mean, they they’ve done a lot of things. I mean, that was that was just such a good thing. And and Titans doing it is just I was like, Jason Todd is seeing a therapist. And I was like, this is going great. This is good. I think I’m going to talk about this on the show. You know, whenever there’s there’s mental representation, I think it seems good to me. And then like She not only like completely just violates Bruce Wayne’s privacy and is just like sharing his diagnosis. She She’s, it’s a it just like it turned the whole this whole positive thing into and just flipped it. And that happens a lot. I know. But these are these are like two just incredible examples of, of a good way to do it or in a bad way to do it. And to think that, you know, we’re we’re still doing that. Thoughts?

Link Keller 11:46
I really love crazy ex girlfriend, I just last week finished a complete rewatch of the Four Seasons and highly, highly recommend it. It is such a great show. It is very funny. It has great music, some real ear worms, some very deep and meaningful songs. But definitely, I think that the way that they treats Rebecca, and her relationship with Dr. Akopian, her therapist and then later with Dr. Dr. Damn. Dr. Shin is her psychiatrist. And then her group therapy with other other people with BPD. I think the way that they treat that stuff is both perfect within the story arc that they are telling about this character and her journey. But also it is so kind towards like this is this yes, this is comedy. This is a fantasy. This is fiction. This is make believe storytelling, but real people exist in the world in our real lives with these kinds of problems, and they aren’t the joke. That’s not the joke. I think that the show is just so wonderful for handling it that way.

Lara Taylor 13:09
And even when she is the joke, because the show is I mean she’s the main character. She does a lot of ridiculous things. But it always comes back to you care for her and care and like not in a pity way. Like it’s very wonderful. I love the show. So good. I’m glad you all made me want to watch it I don’t know. I I haven’t watched Titans. But I don’t like what you’ve described Josué

Josué Cardona 13:44
don’t like it. You don’t like it. No, no. Doesn’t sound good. Doesn’t doesn’t get texted you the moment that I watched that episode, didn’t I?

Lara Taylor 13:53

Josué Cardona 13:53
I was like titans just just gave Bruce Wayne BPD diagnosis.

Lara Taylor 13:59
That’s right. I was like I’m not watching it. This is dumb.

Link Keller 14:03
In the in the DSM five revised, the B no longer stands for borderline it stands for batman

Lara Taylor 14:11
to be diagnosed with Batman personality disorder

Link Keller 14:14

Lara Taylor 14:20

Link Keller 14:24
It’s just it’s, it’s, it’s such an obvious like a lack of caring. just the idea of being like, oh, BPD like people have sort of heard of that probably. Or if they haven’t, like, it sounds scary. So we’re just gonna use it and it’s scene setting, instead of being like, meaningful and just throwing it at somebody else who isn’t in this. It’s very weird. That’s a weird setup.

Josué Cardona 14:57
There’s not there’s also no reason to Use an actual diagnosis

Lara Taylor 15:02
no his behavior alone.

Link Keller 15:04
It’s not ethical. It’s not something a therapist or psychiatrist should do, like, out, out of your wheelhouse in the moment

Josué Cardona 15:11
it’s just like, lazy in general. And also I don’t understand the need. I think this really bothered me in Star Trek Discovery, there was an episode where I think I may be remembering this wrong, but I think there was something about trauma, and I believe they use PTSD. And I was, like, 400 years into the future, like the DSM, like, we haven’t gone beyond that, like, there’s nothing, we don’t, we don’t have a better, there’s nothing else that you can, there are no new diagnoses, like three 400 years into the future, you know, like, you couldn’t explore something, if you’re just gonna use a throwaway

Josué Cardona 15:23
we used to call it shell shock, right? Like,

Josué Cardona 15:53
like, when they make a medical diagnosis from alien planets and stuff like that, right. But when it comes to mental health, it feels lazy. It’s almost, it’s almost like, you know, there’s no reason why you can’t be creative about it. Like, you can just make something up. And you and you don’t, and then you use these terms, that, that people that affect people’s lives on a daily basis, and, and contribute to a to a type of stigma, that, again, it could go, it could be good or bad. But it’s just, you know, just lazy, right? It’s like, did you I don’t know why this example came to my head. And I don’t know if this is actually true. But it’s like a Borat in Kazakhstan, like Kazakhstan is a real country, right? Like the one that he represents there. Right. And, and I don’t how many people know, that, like, the only version of that is, is is what Borat showed, or what he’s saying. And, and that happens, right? Like how many people this is the first time they’ve ever heard borderline personality disorder, or had it connected with a character that they know well, and now they have this, this assumption, that oh, the character, and then you have, you know, just as lazy think pieces of people who have who know nothing about mental health, with headlines like Titans confirms that Bruce Wayne has borderline personality disorder, or other articles that are just like, oh, you know, we have a diagnosis for Bruce Wayne. And then they’re going through like the Wikipedia article, you know, like experts going through, you know, trying to explain why cuz I’m like, Oh, this is this is it. This is part of the problem. This is this is what you’re creating, when you do that with a character like Bruce Wayne, they could have done it with any other character on the show. And it wouldn’t have been I mean, there’s a lot of actually, there are characters there that are that are very well known and would have caused a similar situation, but it didn’t. There was there was no reason to do it. And I’m sure I’m, there’s a criticism that I’ve seen of Titans often is that they do things in an episode and then they never ref reference it ever again. And I wouldn’t be surprised if this never comes up ever again. I wouldn’t be surprised if this the therapist never shows up ever again. That’s just like they pretend like she never existed.

Link Keller 18:17
Is that a good outcome?

Josué Cardona 18:22
No, I think I think um no, no, they can make it worse if they keep revisiting

Link Keller 18:30
That’s what I’m worried. Yeah, yeah. Is it is it better to be careless in a one off situation or to be consistently careless?

Josué Cardona 18:40
I mean, I don’t I don’t expect Titans to do what Dr. Akopian did on his ex girlfriend. I don’t expect them to ever sit Bruce down and then actually do a responsible like take on that right. Um but the the things that he just did are not great. Like I’m trying to I’m trying to think of an example of

Link Keller 19:08
I can’t I guess I’m still sort of hung up on like what Well, what was what I had I haven’t seen this obviously, I haven’t seen any titans. I don’t know. I don’t know the context. I don’t know the relationship between this Robin and this Batman. But what What, is it was there like plot value to this being said?

Josué Cardona 19:27
No, no.

Link Keller 19:29
was this was this something that gave Robin like a character growth moment like what what was the value of including it like not, you know, from the representation side, like that’s a whole different barrel of fish. But, like, from a narrative standpoint, like what what is the point like, what value does that bring?

Josué Cardona 19:51
A good point that I think this brings up is, it also assumes that Jason knows what BPD is.

Link Keller 19:57

Josué Cardona 19:59
she slapped him in the face of BPD the same as she did the audience right? There’s no there was no discussion about it. There was nothing it’s just like

Lara Taylor 20:07
What’s the odds that teenagers gonna know what this is?

Link Keller 20:11
This is a perfect reflection point back to crazy ex girlfriend is when Dr. Shin suggests to Rebecca and he’s like, I don’t really want to talk about it yet. And she’s like, No, I need you to tell me about it right now. He goes, Okay, don’t look it up until we had time to talk about it more I need like, it’s borderline personality disorder. But I think we should talk about it more and in our group before you google anything and the first thing she does is she Google’s that and freaks herself out and so it’s like all what a what a perfect like is like just throw out like BPD and never say anything else about it versus like straight up like here it is. But don’t just Google it because that is not going to be a useful piece of information for you.

Josué Cardona 20:53
Maybe if you read all the books but if she if you only like googled it and take the first two YouTube videos that come up and you know and

Lara Taylor 21:01
yeah, no, I was thinking about the books but that comes later when she literally does all of the workbooks and then doesn’t actually do any of the work.

Link Keller 21:10
Yeah, I love that. I’m really good at workbooks I’m the best at workbooks

Josué Cardona 21:16
I haven’t I years ago, I I started watching the show, but I couldn’t. I don’t know why. Maybe maybe hit too close to home before I even knew. Before I found it relatable. But haven’t seen that episode. That episode feels like an attack.

Lara Taylor 21:37
Are you really good at workbooks, too, Josué?

Josué Cardona 21:39
I’m good at buying them.

Lara Taylor 21:42
No, no, no, she actually does all of the workbooks but doesn’t internalize them

Josué Cardona 21:46
I’ve burned through them. I mean, you know, it did she did she do it this year, she practicing them. I thought you said she didn’t. She’s like she

Lara Taylor 21:53
did all the exercises.

Link Keller 21:54
She gets there eventually. But it,

Josué Cardona 21:56
but she used them, right?

Link Keller 21:59
She clips on to the idea of doing these workbooks is the work and so she does it, then she’ll be good problem solved. and she’s Already

Lara Taylor 22:08
actually do the thing

Link Keller 22:09
with her background of being a lawyer and already being an overachiever who gloms onto that idea of like, if I do this really well, if I get the straight A test score, then mommy and daddy will love me. In this case, her doctors will love me. And so she throws herself into doing the workbooks from that perspective, instead of from the perspective of like really sitting with these and actually doing the internal work, which is what they are asking of you. But then, you know that becomes, that gets pointed out to her is like, No, this isn’t you don’t finish the workbook. And then you’re you’re finished with the work.

Josué Cardona 22:46
Yeah, yeah. I have to. I have to revisit the show. Because I feel I’ve always felt about crazy ex girlfriend similar to how I feel. I don’t know it. It pained me to see her doing the thing that she was doing, regardless of the payoff. And and I don’t know, it’s kind of similar to to, like, Big Bang Theory. Like, I can’t watch that show. Because I feel like they’re laughing they’re laughing at it. In some cases me, right. They take it’s like, oh, like they’re laughing at the nerds, not with them. Right. Like it’s at their expense. And I always felt about crazy ex girlfriend. I watched a show recently called enlightened which was like, this, this character goes off and um, it’s an I think it’s, it’s on HBO character goes off and to like some retreat and comes back, you know, enlightened, super woke. And it’s just like, it’s just painful to watch. Right? And we’re supposed to enjoy this person stumbling. Right? And then maybe eventually, right we see them well get well or overcome some of that stuff and grow. But it’s it’s painful to watch. It’s painful to watch some of that stuff. But a lot of people find you know, there’s a lot of good things said about about crazy ex girlfriend. And at the very least that stuff about the diagnosis I think is fantastic.

Lara Taylor 24:21
They do some good stuff about medication too.

Josué Cardona 24:24
Like what?

Lara Taylor 24:25
I mean, there’s a whole song about like, everybody takes meds it’s fine to take meds. It’s not it’s not a problem. You’re not a bad person for taking meds. It’s wonderful.

Link Keller 24:34
Yes, she she is struggling and Dr. Shin suggests medication and she says no, I don’t want to do medication. I’ve had bad experiences in the past I don’t want to do it

Lara Taylor 24:46
because her mom drugged her.

Link Keller 24:47
Well, she had had you know with her previous diagnosis diagnoses, she had had previous medication and she says you know they made me feel like a zombie. They made me feel really numb and and then, most recently It was drugged without her knowledge by her mother. So there’s a whole extra betrayal on top of the medication feelings. And so she’s really fighting against it. And then she’s talking, talking with Dr. Akopian and trying to get her like, no I don’t want it like, I don’t want to do medication and Dr. Akopian is like, look, it’s, it’s not a big deal. And she’s like, I kind of feel like, I’m taking the easy way out where it’s like, it’s a shortcut. And I think that like that really resonates with a lot of people, I think. And so then that leads into this beautiful song, where the whole thing is like, antidepressants are not a big deal. Like, like everybody is special and unique.

Lara Taylor 25:44
your mailman takes them,

Link Keller 25:46
we’re all told how special and unique we are. But when it comes to like being like being sad, you’re basic bitch, basically, which makes me laugh so hard, I love that. And then it’s like all of these people in the neighborhood and they’re doing a tap dance. And then the song ends and everybody disperses. And she’s like, oh, like literally taking antidepressants is the only thing I have in common with these people, is just very normalizing and in a fun way, and in a way that feels like meaningful for Rebecca as a character, but also like, if you are somebody who has had feelings about like, I don’t want to take medication, or I’m struggling with the medication I’m on and I’m scared to change because what if it’s worse and or any of the many, many feelings that come with, you know, mental health care in general, it’s, it’s nice to have somebody explicitly be like, it’s not a big deal. Like you don’t, this is not a thing that you need to worry about.

Josué Cardona 26:44

Lara Taylor 26:45
That reminds me of that episode of one day at a time. I think we talked about this a few years ago, like or Penelope the the main character, she’s, she’s a war vet, she’s got some PTSD, some anxieties and depression, I don’t know if they specifically name, what diagnoses for those. But she decides to go cold turkey from going to her group therapy and her medication and falls into this, like, I can’t get out of bed. She didn’t want to take her meds because she didn’t want her new boyfriend to look at her strangely for it. And then towards the end of the episode, she comes to the realization she needs to take the meds and she needs to go back to her group therapy. But she’s talking to Schneider, the building owner who’s like their bestie in the family. And she’s like, I don’t I feel dumb for having to take these or something along those lines. And he’s like, Well, would you look at me like, I’m dumb because I have to wear glasses. Like it’s just that. Yeah, maybe you need them. But I also need my glasses. Just making it a normal experience.

Josué Cardona 28:03
Yeah, yeah, one day at a time handled a lot of things really, really well. That’s a that’s a great example. And, yeah, I think more examples like that would have would have helped me the first time I was seeing a therapist, and they suggested medication. They did that they’re like, I don’t know, I think that the only way to deal with your current circumstances. I think it would be really helpful if you took medication, and instead I quit my job and moved to another state and changed careers and went back to school. I thought that would be that was helping. That would be easier. Oh, then I’ll just change my circumstances. And I

Link Keller 28:37
might help?

Josué Cardona 28:38

Link Keller 28:39

Josué Cardona 28:41
maybe. I mean, what I hear you saying is I can do one or the other. So I’m not gonna take medication. And and yeah, I mean, that type of normalization, right. And from from media super, super helpful. I don’t I don’t remember shows like that. And I remember, my family didn’t talk favorably about things like that. And that’s like, I think a lot of people still see it that way. It’s like, I think, I think media has been pretty good. And so has, um, just like celebrities and stuff talking about like, oh, no, I see a therapist and like, I’m, you know, like, there’s that conversation. But I I’m not so sure that people are so open about medication. Am I Am I wrong here?

Link Keller 29:29
I think we’re getting better. I think, you know, even in just the past decade, I have seen a change in the way that the general public talks about these topics.

Josué Cardona 29:44
Yeah, maybe I’m still programmed, like, I mean, that’s still in me that like, Oh, no. Well, I mean, you go to therapists and then but Oh, but if you’re taking a medication then that that, then you have a problem.

Link Keller 29:54
Yeah, there’s like there’s a lot of stigmatization. In like some parts of it get unpacked and other parts don’t that’s That definitely happens. You know, there’s there’s the aspect where it’s like, therapy is becoming more acceptable but for certain people other people’s like still look down on if you try and go to therapy and all sorts of things like like I said, it’s like we’re getting better, but it’s still still a lot of….I want more. we can keep we can keep getting better.

Josué Cardona 30:29
Yeah, yeah. And of course, like I’ve, I’ve come a long way before we were recording I was talking about, you know, I forgot to take my medication today. damn, um, and actually, the first time I ever read the that exact comparison between having glasses, and and taking medication, that was the first time that it kind of clicked for me. And I was like, oh, yeah, no, that’s it. Yeah, glad I use that one all the time.

Link Keller 30:56
I feel like glasses are a big go to in re- reframing

Josué Cardona 31:01

Link Keller 31:02
how people frame certain topics I use, I use that my go to when talking about, you know, disability, and how a lot of the issues are social. And to explain that it’s like, I have a disability, my eyes are terrible. I am legally and ethically blind when I’m not wearing them. But people treat it as normal because it’s, it’s been normalized, it is a thing that socially we don’t consider disabled the same way we consider other disabilities. And so that is such an easy thing to point out to people to have them reframe their thinking about disability is another way of reframing thinking about medication is like, it is a thing that you need to do your to do your thing. So you don’t need to feel bad about it is it’s a tool, and we’ve got it, we got tools, you should use the tools we have available.

Josué Cardona 31:53
Yep, yep. Yeah. And, like in the song, like a lot of people.

Link Keller 32:00
Yeah, a lot. You know, a lot of people, you know, it’s, it’s something we treat sometimes where it’s like, Oh, if you go on a medication, that’s it, that you’re on that medication for the rest of your life. And sometimes that is true, and sometimes it’s six months, and then whatever was going on is sort of resolved and you don’t need the medication anymore. And because we don’t get lots and lots of stories, it’s very easy to believe just one or the other. And then when you experience something different, it’s scary.

Lara Taylor 32:33
And some people worry about, like having to go on a medication for the rest of their lives. And I think about I’m going to wear glasses for the rest of my life. I’m going to need insulin

Link Keller 32:45

Lara Taylor 32:45
for the rest of my life. And doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing. It means I can function as a human being.

Josué Cardona 32:54
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Although some some some psychotropic medication,

Lara Taylor 32:59
some medication

Josué Cardona 33:00
is to Yeah, to is like a stepping stone. Right. Like to help you.

Lara Taylor 33:04
For some people. Yes.

Josué Cardona 33:05
Yeah. depends on The disorders depends on the health condition or disorder, not just in psychiatry, right? There’s a lot of stuff that right, it’s it’s more complicated.

Lara Taylor 33:17
And there are other diabetics who aren’t type two diabetics who only take insulin some of the time.

Josué Cardona 33:22
Yeah. Yeah. Eventually not have like, they can make all sorts of changes that can help them to get to a point where some people stop having to take it, right.

Lara Taylor 33:31
They just manage it by diet and exercise. Yeah, yeah.

Josué Cardona 33:35
Yeah, that these things are complex. The other day, I read a book about the mentioned something called, like, residency disorder, or something like that, which was that, like, new medical students come in, and it may have just been psychiatry, but I’m not sure. Maybe it was medical students in general, that start doing rotations and stuff and start learning all these diagnoses. And, and then they start, they start believing that they have a whole bunch of diagnosis because all of a sudden, they’re exposed to all of these ideas that they that they don’t know before

Lara Taylor 34:07
that we do that, like therapists school too,

Link Keller 34:11
that’s every like Psych 101 class I’ve ever taken is the teacher starting off the class with you’re gonna learn some things that are going to explain a lot about your family members, your own experiences. I’m gonna ask you try not to do that too much.

Josué Cardona 34:27
Yeah, well, I mean, because it doesn’t necessarily explain it right. But like, it’ll remind you of it right in briefly and this was definitely a at a hospital just like Doctor rotation. There was like, all sorts of stuff. It’s like, Oh, I’ve had this thing for the longest time. And then, you know, it sounds like they’re all extras on house. All of a sudden,

Lara Taylor 34:48
they’ve all got this rare disorder

Josué Cardona 34:50
they’ve all got them, they got two or three at once. And, and it can be a problem. So I, I think about this in the context, we’ve talked about this off So we’ve never talked about it on the show. But how is it like, ADHD tik tok, for example, and stuff like that, like How infuriating it is that we can talk about how responsible the, like, the episode of crazy ex girlfriend was and how they’ve treated some of these things with with care. But then, like, you just go online and on Facebook and on YouTube and on tik tok, and people are. It’s so hard. It’s just hard to trust, right? It’s like, I’m not saying that everybody is wrong. But it’s really hard to trust, because it is complicated, like when we’re talking about the medication. That yes, but and there’s all these exceptions and like even talking about BPD. Like, there, there are degrees to these things. There’s all these combinations, and it’s complicated. And it last year, I started arguing with my psychiatrist. I was like, yeah, like my ADHD medication is working for some things. But like, there’s, I think there’s something, I think there’s some more stuff like we should explore. And I’m not going to go into how, how big of an idiot I think my, my psychiatrist is. But I read multiple books that talk about how ADHD is like, step one, right, for lots of diagnoses, and how it takes like 10 years, for lots of people to finally get another diagnosis that that would have been more appropriate from the beginning. But, but it didn’t get there. Because Because all this stuff is it’s difficult. And it’s complex, and it has lots of different steps. And so I’m watching, you know, like, I spend some time on tik tok every, every now and then, you know, I’m on there a little bit. I dabble. And, and, and it is so it is so infuriating to see to see people talking about diagnoses in, in a variety of different ways. Right, but in ways that seem influential, I think, because nobody is saying, because it’s so hard to even when we’re talking about right. It’s so hard to say, my experience of this is this, right? We don’t we don’t we don’t talk that way. We talk about how, oh, this is ADHD. And we’ve had conversations where, you know, somebody’s like, oh, because they’re ADHD and I’m like, is that ADHD though? Like that could be a number of that could be a sign of other things. And

Lara Taylor 37:44
right, and it’s showing up maybe it’s your that’s your ADHD, maybe it’s not, there are a few creators that I’ve seen that are very clear about this is this is you should talk to your doctor, you should talk to a therapist. These are, these are my experiences of things and what research shows some people’s experiences are. But that’s only that’s a small fraction of the creators. I had a co worker share a meme today. That’s like, Is anyone else tired of hearing I saw this on Tik Tok. And I have x and the meme was like, I have this I experienced in my childhood this normal thing. So I must have this diagnosis.

Josué Cardona 38:28
We there’s a tik tok-er that you you’ve shared a whole bunch of videos with me, Lara, you know, every now and then when I go on tick tock. It’s not that much. The one the one who had ADHD and just got a BPD diagnosis.

Lara Taylor 38:39
Oh, yeah. ADHadult.

Josué Cardona 38:41
Yeah. Yeah. And but also she’s, she’s studying to be a therapist who right

Lara Taylor 38:47
and has an has a neuroscience degree and another like brain degree.

Josué Cardona 38:52
Yeah. Like she’s super responsible about the way she talks about things. I think from the video

Lara Taylor 38:56
definitely. Yeah, yeah, and when people call her out for not for saying something she’ll be like, oh, you know what, I should have said this. You know what, you’re totally right. And, and the follow up video. Yeah, yeah.

Link Keller 39:10
Tik Tok is not a great platform for that kind of nuance.

Josué Cardona 39:17
It can be though it can be

Link Keller 39:18
it is it is possible but I would submit to you there are several creators that I follow who will have one video where they are very specifically say I am discussing my experiences. Here I go and then you know, your for you page shows you part six of 14 and it’s mid paragraph and comes out as you know, BPD is this and blah, blah, blah, and this this and it’s like, well, that’s not true for everybody. Oh, well, you have to go to my page and you have to scroll down to where the first video is where I preface this with the context and the nuance that can’t consistently be carried through. It’s it’s Yeah, the medium is the message tik tok has a lot of strengths. I don’t know that talking about mental health diagnoses. Other than as, you know, looking at it as like, you the viewer

Josué Cardona 40:12
if you come in at part 23 It’s your fault, you should know better.

Link Keller 40:16
You have to have the, you know, the block text that says, Yeah, two of 14 or whatever?

Josué Cardona 40:21
Yeah, yep.

Lara Taylor 40:22
people will put the text in the background this like, this is just my experience. Got, if you have any questions about this, go talk to your therapist or a doctor,

Josué Cardona 40:31
but 90% of it is memes of, of like, you know, this is this is,

Lara Taylor 40:37
Oh, what was the one? Katieasaurus just got attacked for using a big spoon because apparently there’s a thing going around on tik tok saying like, you can only if you have ADHD, use tiny utensils. And she’s there like you don’t have ADHD, you’ve got used a big spoon, and she’s had to sit down into this video about how she has a muscular disorder and has to eat with big spoons, like and also

Link Keller 41:04
so silly,

Lara Taylor 41:05
small spoons. That is not a sign of ADHD.

Link Keller 41:10
i It is so funny, because this small spoon thing came across my page, but it came from autism tik tok, which granted has a ton of overlap with ADHD tik tok, right.

Lara Taylor 41:22
That’s neurodivergent tik tok

Link Keller 41:23
yeah, there’s there’s a lot of there’s a lot of overlap here, as we’re talking is complicated. There. It’s there. We like diagnoses, because they give us a category and idea, some sort of boundaries that makes it useful, but they’re made up like, and they’re not always useful

Lara Taylor 41:42
it makes you feel like you’re not alone.

Link Keller 41:44
Yeah, right. Yes, that is, I would say maybe the biggest benefit of it

Josué Cardona 41:49
see. Okay, so I’ve thought a lot about this. Because I and even my therapist was like, Why do you want a diagnosis, I was like, because I want to get better. And I want to know where to get resources and where to find case studies and where to find lived experience and all this kind of stuff. Like I want to make sure that I’m looking in the right direction. My concern about this is like, Oh, I saw a tik tok. And what they said, That’s so me, I definitely have ADHD, it’s like, no, that one symptom is a symptom of 39 different diagnoses off the top of my head, right? Like, that does not mean that is that and then you start identifying with one thing, and you’re just like, barking up the wrong tree. And then you start identifying with a group, a lot of people never go get a diagnosis. And I’m not even, let’s not even we don’t have that time to go into how bad we are just diagnosing people, right? That’s a whole other issue. But then, like, you start identifying with these things, and then you don’t, there’s, there’s one part of it is and I and I did that for a long time, where I was like, oh, you know, I love all these people who are talking about like, ADHD is a superpower. And it’s like, such a great thing. And like, it’s so you know, I was feeling bad about it, but now I feel really good. And then it completely ignores the struggles of having that, and how hard it is and how much you can actually how difficult your life can be and will be. If it’s not, if it’s not, if you’re if it’s not managed. And, and all those things can. It’s complex, there’s nuance to it, and, and just going online and just like going through, if the algorithm has you at a point where like, everything you’re seeing is is ADHD stuff, you’re like, Oh, I feel I don’t feel alone. It’s like, but you’re, you’re in the wrong group. Like this isn’t necessarily helpful in the mental in the grand scheme of things. It’s my opinion.

Link Keller 43:47
I think it just so contextual

Josué Cardona 43:48
yes, maybe three minutes isn’t enough. Yeah, but it’s like we it’s so easy to do that right? Like this is this is a completely different type of media but it’s a it’s a it’s a issues are kind of the issues are similar right? It’s not it’s not like Oh, Batman got this diagnosis and like this is it like but but there’s so much information in that one like 15 second clip, and I feel Tiktok is the same way it’s like oh, you know, like I can’t find my keys. That’s what as definitely this could be so many different things. Can be so many things. Yeah. It’s hard out there. You have a thought link. what’s your thought?

Link Keller 44:35
it was like we should start making tic TOCs that just pick a random events and be all like this is ADHD and my brain filled in random event with those videos of people turning on their air pods and you can hear music coming out of one and then they take their phone and they walk over to their pet and you can hear the other one is inside of them. This is ADHD. Your dog eats your AirPod; ADHD

Josué Cardona 45:07
But to me, right, someone who’s who’s you know mental health professional

Lara Taylor 45:13
someone’s gonna be I lost my ipod

Josué Cardona 45:15
somebody, somebody as a mental health professional, somebody who studies somebody who’s been diagnosed somebody who’s taking medication, someone who’s read a ridiculous amount of research and books and, and, and so much on this stuff. To me that’s what ADHD tik tok is like, it’s like, you’re just taking random stuff like everything’s ADHD now. That’s not That’s not. And it feels also it feels out of control. I think I think that’s kind of the feeling. And then what bothers me like the episode of Titans, it’s like, okay, that that can that can I can see the ripple effects of that, right. And then when I go on tik tok, and I just see so many of them. I’m like, this is this is I don’t I wouldn’t even know if someone if someone tasked me with solving this issue. I don’t think I could do it. I don’t think it’s possible. I think it’s out of control.

Lara Taylor 46:06
One day on internet, you can’t rein it in

Link Keller 46:10
human experience right there.

Josué Cardona 46:14
It’s a compounding problem. If people if everybody starts agreeing with it, but

Lara Taylor 46:21
you know what we can do to fix it Josué.

Josué Cardona 46:24
It can’t be done. But I’m

Lara Taylor 46:25
tik tok could go down.

Josué Cardona 46:28
that won’t fix it. Because every tik tok is posted as a reel on Instagram and as a as a short on YouTube.

Lara Taylor 46:34
Well, we already know Facebook, and then we can get Facebook to go down

Josué Cardona 46:38
They’re everywhere. You just you put it on there. And then I’m sure they’re there. Snap stories too. And what else

Link Keller 46:44
I I suspect this is a this is a human communication issue, human cognition issue more so than it is any specific medium. I think it varies depending on which platform you’re on. You’re gonna get different types of issues there. But ultimately, the problem the problems is us. It’s it’s humans, wanting both the broad experience of everything is included. But also we need really concrete boxes that we can put everything into so we can understand it.

Josué Cardona 47:25
I think it’s also a healthcare system issue.

Link Keller 47:27
Oh, for sure.

Josué Cardona 47:28
because because most of those people will will not get adequate support ever. And the closest thing that they’ll get to any sort of relief or or even that sense of community is

Lara Taylor 47:42

Josué Cardona 47:43
is online. Yeah, yeah. That’s why we’re gonna fix it. It’s not it’s not there. That we start. Yeah, yeah. Media Matters.

Link Keller 47:57
Media Matters.

Josué Cardona 48:01
Rest in peace Ali Mattu.

Link Keller 48:02
He’s not dead. yet.

Lara Taylor 48:04
Don’t tell people he’s dead

Josué Cardona 48:05
to me he’s dead

Link Keller 48:06
you have to stop telling people Ali’s dead

Josué Cardona 48:11
i didn’t say he was dead

Lara Taylor 48:14
you said RIP

Link Keller 48:15
Oh man

Lara Taylor 48:15
that’s what we do when people die. Gosh,

Josué Cardona 48:19
not in 2021 What are you talking about people say RIP all the time

Lara Taylor 48:25
i know.

Josué Cardona 48:25
how old are you?

Lara Taylor 48:27
you know, it’s really bad if someone says may his memory be a blessing.

Josué Cardona 48:33
Yeah, I won’t say that. I think that’s it for this episode of GT radio. Any closing thoughts? No,

Josué Cardona 48:40

Josué Cardona 48:41
nothing for Link. yes for link

Link Keller 48:43
I would like to recommend a YouTube channel called curio C U R I O. is hosted by Sophia Eric, a queer creator who’s been creating all sorts of videos past few years. I really liked their work but they have an episode where they talk about their their own BPD diagnosis and their experiences and crazy ex girlfriend. It’s good video. Lots of good videos. Yeah, just wanted to recommend that.

Lara Taylor 49:17
And watch crazy ex girlfriend.

Link Keller 49:19
watch crazy ex-girlfriend

Lara Taylor 49:20
But don’t watch titans. I mean, I mean, or take with a grain of salt

Josué Cardona 49:26
is okay, I’m just saying season three episode five episode Lazarus I mean you’ve been warned on ah you know, thing to let us know your thoughts when you when you see that.

Link Keller 49:36
And if you want to watch the crazy ex girlfriend, songs, they are all available on YouTube. You don’t have to commit to the whole show. Diagnosis is the name of the diagnosis song and then anti depressants are so so not a big deal.

Josué Cardona 49:52
And the scene with with the nine criteria, just look up crazy ex girlfriend diagnosis BPD and at all they’ll come right up. Yeah, it’s good. Yeah. So let us know what you think on any of our community spaces. You can you can tell us how you feel about it, about about, this conversation or any conversation on any GT network show. Over at the GT forum. Links to all of our stuff is in the show notes. For more Geek Therapy, visit geek therapy.org. Thank you so much for listening. Remember to geek out and do good. We’ll be back next week

Link Keller 50:33

Josué Cardona 50:35
Geek Therapy is a 501 C three nonprofit organization dedicated to making the world a better place through geek culture. To learn more about our mission and become a supporter, visit geek therapy.org

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Characters / Media
  • Robin / Jason Todd / Titans
  • Leslie Thompkins / Titans
  • Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight by Travis Langley
  • Bruce Wayne / Batman
  • Rebecca Bunch / Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
  • Dr. Akopian / Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
  • Dr. Shin / Dr. Damn / Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
  • Star Trek: Discovery
  • Big Bang Theory
  • Enlightened
  • Penelope / One Day at a Time
  • Curio YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJmlCcnfMlyPA2oSbb072QA
Themes / Topics

Conversation Topics:

* Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
* Cultural representation
* Finding Oneself/Identity Development
* Mental Health Services
* ADHD TikTok

Relatable Experience:

* Getting a diagnosis
* Medication
* Trauma

Questions? Comments? Discuss this episode on the GT Forum.

Links / Social Media

Check out the GT Network: network.geektherapy.com

GT Forum: forum.geektherapy.org

GT Discord: geektherapy.com/discord

GT Facebook Group: facebook.com/groups/geektherapy

Find us at www.GeekTherapy.org | @GeekTherapy | Lara: @GeekTherapist | Link: @CHICKENDINOSAUR | Josué: @JosueACardona

Ask us anything through the Question Queue and we’ll answer on the show: geektherapy.org/qq

Join the Conversation!

Do you have an example of a character getting a diagnosis that was particularly positive (or negative)?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top