Was Darth Vader depressed
Star Wars is the economically most successful film series of all time, millions of fans have seen George Lucas' films since 1977. At the end of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, the main character Anakin Skywalker defected from the Jedi Knights to their opponents, since then he has been called Darth Vader.
sueddeutsche.de: Mr. Bui, many fans have wondered why Anakin Skywalker is moving to the "dark side of the force". Do you know it?
Eric Bui: I guess so. Anakin Skywalker suffers from borderline personality disorder.
sueddeutsche.de: What does that mean?
Bui: Borderline is defined by ongoing instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image and mood. Emotionally you fluctuate between extreme poles.
sueddeutsche.de: Why are you so sure that this affects Anakin?
Bui: In order to be able to make the diagnosis, five out of nine specified criteria must be met. There are even six for Anakin.
sueddeutsche.de: For example?
Bui: Anakin is very impulsive and often struggles to control his anger. Towards his Jedi friends, he vacillates between idealization and total devaluation: he swears eternal friendship to Obi Wan, and shortly afterwards he sees him as his greatest enemy. Anakin loses contact with reality twice and experiences so-called dissociative episodes: once he slaughters the Sand People as if delusional, another time the young Jedis. He's also terrified of losing his wife, Padme. That is very typical.
sueddeutsche.de: What could have caused the disease in him?
Bui: Borderline disorder is often triggered by traumatic experiences in early childhood. Anakin does not know his father, he was separated from his mother at an early age.
sueddeutsche.de: What if he had done psychotherapy in time?
Bui: Probably he would not have switched to the dark side of the Force and never become Darth Vader. In any case, he would have suffered less.
sueddeutsche.de: And the Starwars-Films would have been a lot more boring. Seriously: Why did you examine a film character for mental illness?
Bui: This thought occurred to me while explaining borderline personality disorder to medical students. Perhaps a famous person affected can help to make it clear to the public that many people who make life difficult for us with their imbalance are sick - and suffer from their behavior themselves.
sueddeutsche.de: Mentally ill people often encounter incomprehension in society.
Bui: Yes, and there is a lot of prejudice, for example that the mentally ill are particularly easy to get criminals. This is nonsense. Just because you're sick with borderline doesn't mean you're on the "dark side of power".
sueddeutsche.de:Starwars has been hugely successful commercially - although she believes the main character has a personality disorder.
Bui: Precisely because! I believe that Anakin's illness contributed to its great success.
sueddeutsche.de: Why this?
Bui: Young people in particular are often not particularly stable emotionally and show behavior patterns that are typical for borderlines, but do not in themselves indicate a personality disorder. This is why so many people can identify with Anakin. They suffer with him because they know his feelings well.
sueddeutsche.de: What were the reactions to your study?
Bui: The colleagues were rather amused. But I also have emails from Starwars-Fans who explained to me in great detail that Anakin can't be sick at all - because he had good reasons for everything he did ...
sueddeutsche.de: Is such a remote diagnosis scientifically founded at all?
Bui: Not really, but I also point out in the study that it is purely descriptive. I would have a long talk with Anakin for a solid diagnosis. And he would have to fill out a whole bunch of questionnaires.
sueddeutsche.de: Who will your next celebrity patient be? Obelix because of eating addiction and impaired impulse control?
Bui: I was more interested in Dr. House from the TV series. Unfortunately he already has a psychiatrist.
Eric Bui, 33, works as a psychiatrist at the University Hospital in Toulouse. He published his diagnosis of Anakin Skywalker in the magazine Psychiatric Research.
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