You might be thinking what.the.fuck.? But did you know that the most accurate example of a fictional character with BPD is none other than Anakin Skywalker?
Obviously, it’s never explicitly said, because this is a galaxy far far away, and I doubt very much they have mental health services, but it’s used as a case study at universities quite commonly apparently as a great example of the condition.
If you look at the diagnostic criteria, it’s dead on…
Do you have an intense fear of being left alone, which causes you to act in ways that, on reflection, seem out of the ordinary or extreme, such as constantly phoning somebody (but not including self-harming or suicidal behaviour)?
I mean, Anakin in the prequels is obsessed with Padmé. In fact, he is so afraid of being abandoned by her (the premonitions of her death in childbirth) that he turns to the Dark Side. He does some pretty extreme things, most notably killing all the younglings at the Jedi temple.
Do you have a pattern of intense and unstable relationships with other people that switch between thinking you love that person and they’re wonderful to hating that person and thinking they’re terrible?
Just look at his relationship with Obi Wan. He goes from idolising him to thinking he’s the most awful person in the world. Just before the final showdown on Mustafar, when he sees that Obi Wan is on the ship with Padmé he gets super paranoid and thinks that they are both against him (even though they are just trying to help him).
Because they don’t support him, they are against him – that black and white (splitting) way of thinking.
Do you ever feel you do not have a strong sense of your own self and are unclear about your self-image?
I mean, he is a Jedi Knight who joins the Sith. That’s a pretty big flip on his identity.
Do you engage in impulsive activities in 2 areas that are potentially damaging, such as unsafe sex, drug misuse or reckless spending (but not including self-harming or suicidal behaviour)?
Like, I don’t know about his spending habits or drug use, but he is pretty impulsive. Remember that massive rage at the Sand People on Tattooine where he slaughters them all – even the women and the children?
He confides in Padmé afterward that he did it out of rage – it’s not something he set out to do. And I mean the choking in the original trilogy – Anakin can lose his fucking shit.
Have you made repeated suicide threats or attempts in your past and engaged in self-harming?
Not that we’re aware of. But his whole switch to the Dark Side is pretty self-destructive, and not something he feels he can come back from. Like a suicide of Anakin, in a way. I suppose his ultimate death in Return Of The Jedi is kind of a suicide, but it’s a bit different because it’s more like he’s sacrificing himself.
Do you have severe mood swings, such as feeling intensely depressed, anxious or irritable, which last from a few hours to a few days?
LOL YES. Even as a child in The Phantom Menace (the less said about that the better) he is super spikey. And in Episode II him and Padmé can be having a lovely romantic moment cutting pears in half or frolicking on those big elephant things one minute, and then a (seemly) few minutes later raging about Obi Wan holding him back.
He is generally a very anxious and irritable individual. And don’t forget the choking.
Do you have long-term feelings of emptiness and loneliness?
We don’t really know. But probably. After his turn to the Dark Side, losing Padmé and his children, he must be pretty lonely on those Star Destroyers.
Do you have sudden and intense feelings of anger and aggression, and often find it difficult to control your anger?
And the aforementioned Sand People incident.
When you find yourself in stressful situations, do you have feelings of paranoia, or do you feel like you’re disconnected from the world or from your own body, thoughts and behaviour?
It could be argued that Anakin has two dissociative episodes.
The first being when he kills the Sand People, and the second being when he slaughters the younglings at the Jedi Temple.
So there you have it.
Darth Vader has always been one of my top faves. Maybe this is why.
He’s such a complex character. He seems like the baddie, but he really isn’t. He lost his way, and lost everyone he loved. Prequel Anakin can be a right dickhead, but most of his motivations come from his love for Padmé and fear of abandonment.
Well, this has been one of my favourite things to write.
Hope you enjoyed it.