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Psychologists Diagnose Favorite Fictional Character From TV and Movies

TV and movie characters often display signs of mental illness, however diagnosing someone at a distance is a challenge. Some are obvious though - like Monica Gellar, who needs everything to always be in its proper place, or Archer, who, well... the mommy issues are only the tip of that iceberg.

RogueFart asked, Psychologists of reddit, do you ever find yourself "examining" fictional characters from tv, books, books and movies? If so, what are some interesting characters that are maybe unassuming to the "uneducated"?

Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.

Sound like anyone you know?


PhD student in clinical psych here. I often say that the main character in Nightcrawler is one of the most accurate depictions of psychopathy/antisocial personality that I've seen in film or TV. Most "psychopaths" (not a diagnosis, but a term used in research that overlaps with a lot of antisocial personality disorder) are not overt sadistic murderers, but they lack empathy and will manipulate others for personal gain with superficial charm. Jake Gyllenhaal nails this in my opinion and the character is written very realistically


How I Met Your -- Psychopath?


Barney Stinson is not a psychopath (i.e. ASPD). He's not destructive and parasitic enough in the group he's currently exploiting. He supposedly falls in love, has remorse and empathy. That's a little off for someone who is played out as a psychopath. It's the same with some other supposed psychopaths in TV. Dexter is a remorseless killer with no empathy but starts caring and turns into a normal person when he meets The Woman. Honestly, if you have a psychopath character, just keep it consistent.

Bonus: Michael Scott is a domineering workplace bully and Toby is his submissive victim. We watched a compilation of his bullying in an organizational psychology class. I also would say Jim is a reactive bully and Dwight is his provocative victim. Dwight acts in strange, provocative, and norm-breaking ways, which provokes Jim to bully him to put him in his place.

Touch one thing in that kitchen...


I have a BA in Psych but my professors would often use Monica from Friends as an example to have Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder. That's OCPD not OCD, which are often confused. Just the way she is very rigid, and wants everything clean and organized. My professors would sometimes classify Sheldon Cooper to have OCPD, as well.


Tony Stark had some serious PTSD. Also, solid advice here.


Iron man is totally going through a Manic episode at the beginning of the Iron Man movie where he's building all those Iron man suits.

Rapid speech, racing thoughts, no sleep for 3 nights, grandiose behaviour, goal directed tasks (his machines, but unlike manic people he finished his objective).

Edit: To everyone relating to the above information, if you think even for a minute you can relate all too well with this, please go see your physician or a mental health professional! These are important conversations to have and the sooner you have them the better.

Mental health diagnoses can be complicated; there are an array of illnesses who's symptoms overlap or co-exist. Google, movies, your friend or a reddit comment are not the most accurate nor the most informative sources to figure out what illness you or a loved one may have. Please go seek help from a professional. I promise you we will do our best to diagnose and treat you to make YOUR life and subsequently the lives of the people around you better.

Also to the buddy who graced me with gold, thank you! For anyone else who thought (or not) about it, please spend those few dollars by donating to a Mental Health charity or facility. Your local one preferably!!


Hogwarts' liability insurance premiums must be astronomical.


I wrote this a while back when in my MSW program with a mental health focus, but it applies here:

Harry Potter definitely has posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), esp from the end of Goblet of Fire, with symptoms coming full force in the following book. Looking at the DSM5 criteria, he:
  1. Criteria A: Witnessed a death/had his life threatened - the events of the end of GoF
  2. Criteria B: recurrent distressing dreams - constant nightmares
  3. Criteria C: avoidance - doesn't want to talk about Cedric, begins avoiding his friends and isolating himself to avoid questions about that night
  4. Criteria D: self-blame (esp with Cedric and suggesting the grab the portkey together), feelings of detachment or estrangement from others (belief that his friends don't get it, feeling isolated)
  5. Criteria E: irritability/anger outbursts (hello all of book 5), reckless behavior (Harry in a nutshell), problems with concentration, sleep disturbances
  6. Criteria F: has persisted longer than 1 month
  7. Criteria G: these disturbances cause clinically significant distress and impairment
  8. Criteria H: his experiences cannot be attributed to a substance (e.g. drugs)

Hogwarts really needs a counseling center.


She'll always be his girl.


Degree in behavioral science. Done a lot of work with people dealing with trauma. Jenny from Forrest Gump is an incredibly fascinating character. The way her childhood abuse sets her up to gravitate towards abusers, and avoid people who could make her happy is a hell of a watch. Also consider her feelings of power over Forrest considering his handicap, and to see that affect her relationship with him is a whole other layer to her story. She is a hell of a character, much more so than Forrest.


Chuck is detestable yet he draws sympathy toward the end.


I read someone examining Chuck McGill from Better Call Saul. Chuck basically believed he had a disease but didn't, and it stemmed from a narcissistic personality needing to be in a world where he was treated like a king. He already was a person of respect and on top of his field, but his wife divorcing him and his ne'er-do-well brother being more charming sent him into some kind of spiral.

I can't say it as well as that person did. If a psychologist knows the show, I'd love to hear their opinion on Chuck.


Funny how that works isn't it?


In college, I did a research paper on the graphic novel Maus by Art Spiegelman. (If you haven't read it, I highly suggest it!)

Anyway, there's a part in the book where a Jewish survivor of a concentration camp doesn't want to pick up a hitchhiker, because the hitchhiker is black.

I thought it was super interesting, so I did my work on that part of the story specifically. Turns out, a lot of survivors of traumas turn pretty xenophobic, if their own trauma was race/religious oriented.

Brains are weird, man.


Frank Reynolds is a baller.


I am a licensed and accredited psychologist and I can say for certainty that Frank Reynolds has Donkey Brains.


World's greatest boss.


Psychotherapist here... Michael Scott is a textbook case of histrionic personality disorder.


What would a retired Peggy Hill be like? She's got an alluring Laura Bush quality.


Peggy Hill gets SO much hate on reddit, but all her flaws are exactly why I find her character so entertaining. Here's to hoping the King of the Hill revival actually comes to fruition.

*Mike Judge has stated that any revival would have all the characters aged in real time, and taking place in the midst of the current Trump administration. That means Hank in his mid 60s (!!!) and Bobby in his late 20s (29, to be exact). No animated show would have ever aged their characters in real time like this before. It would be almost an entirely different show.

Yes, 13 great seasons. But have people forgotten Fox cancelled it for The Cleveland Show? There's still a lot of life left in the series and aging its characters to the current day gives the showrunners a chance to do something truly unique.


Spoiler: he's bipolar.


Licensed social worker here, but I appropriately diagnosed Ian on Shameless about 5-6 episodes before they gave him the diagnosis on the show. That was one of my prouder moments.


The Harry Potter series is awash in mental illness.


Not a psychologist, but I read a really interesting paper on the psychological disorders present in the Harry Potter universe that are never acknowledged in the series.

Examples include:

  • Voldemort showing an almost textbook case of ASPD - a facade of superficial charm, manipulative, arrogant, lack of remorse, recklessness, aggressive, difficulty sustaining personal relationships, exploiting others for own gain, thinking lowly of others, and having a callous attitude to people they have hurt.
  • Harry suffering with signs of PTSD - dissociative episodes of reliving past events, recurring nightmares, avoids trauma-related thoughts and emotions
  • Lupin suffering with depression - linked to his lycanthropy of course, things like melancholy and lonely, losing interest and enjoyment in things they previously did enjoy, reduced fatigue and constantly tired, reduced self-esteem and self-confidence, ideas of guilt and unworthiness
  • Mad-Eye Moody suffering with Paranoid Personality Disorder - mistrustful, constantly suspicious of others, delusional, always preparing his own food and drinking from his own flask due to his paranoia he'd be poisoned, his catchphrase of "constant vigilance" screams of someone who is extremely paranoid.
  • Snape suffering with Schizoid personality disorder - no interest in social relationships, sheltered lifestyle, secretiveness, general detachment, apathy, emotional coldness, aloof attitude, consider themselves "observers" of the world rather than participants, etc.
  • Peter Pettigrew suffering with Dependent personality disorder - constant dependency on others to meet their need for physical and emotional support, characterized by fear and anxiety when the needs aren't met. Desire of constant approval, failing to make decisions on their own, passive and clingy, pessimistic, sensitive to criticism and rejection

Darth Vader/Anakin had some issues yo.


More than one of my professors have used Darth Vader as a template to explain borderline personality disorder. He meets more than the required number of symptoms to warrant a firm diagnosis.


He's all of us.


Someone please examine Bojack Horseman.


People Reveal The Weirdest Thing About Themselves

Reddit user Isitjustmedownhere asked: 'Give an example; how weird are you really?'

Let's get one thing straight: no one is normal. We're all weird in our own ways, and that is actually normal.

Of course, that doesn't mean we don't all have that one strange trait or quirk that outweighs all the other weirdness we possess.

For me, it's the fact that I'm almost 30 years old, and I still have an imaginary friend. Her name is Sarah, she has red hair and green eyes, and I strongly believe that, since I lived in India when I created her and there were no actual people with red hair around, she was based on Daphne Blake from Scooby-Doo.

I also didn't know the name Sarah when I created her, so that came later. I know she's not really there, hence the term 'imaginary friend,' but she's kind of always been around. We all have conversations in our heads; mine are with Sarah. She keeps me on task and efficient.

My mom thinks I'm crazy that I still have an imaginary friend, and writing about her like this makes me think I may actually be crazy, but I don't mind. As I said, we're all weird, and we all have that one trait that outweighs all the other weirdness.

Redditors know this all too well and are eager to share their weird traits.

It all started when Redditor Isitjustmedownhere asked:

"Give an example; how weird are you really?"

Monsters Under My Bed

"My bed doesn't touch any wall."

"Edit: I guess i should clarify im not rich."

– Practical_Eye_3600

"Gosh the monsters can get you from any angle then."

– bikergirlr7

"At first I thought this was a flex on how big your bedroom is, but then I realized you're just a psycho 😁"

– zenOFiniquity8

Can You See Why?

"I bought one of those super-powerful fans to dry a basement carpet. Afterwards, I realized that it can point straight up and that it would be amazing to use on myself post-shower. Now I squeegee my body with my hands, step out of the shower and get blasted by a wide jet of room-temp air. I barely use my towel at all. Wife thinks I'm weird."

– KingBooRadley


"In 1990 when I was 8 years old and bored on a field trip, I saw a black Oldsmobile Cutlass driving down the street on a hot day to where you could see that mirage like distortion from the heat on the road. I took a “snapshot” by blinking my eyes and told myself “I wonder how long I can remember this image” ….well."

– AquamarineCheetah

"Even before smartphones, I always take "snapshots" by blinking my eyes hoping I'll remember every detail so I can draw it when I get home. Unfortunately, I may have taken so much snapshots that I can no longer remember every detail I want to draw."

"Makes me think my "memory is full.""

– Reasonable-Pirate902

Same, Same

"I have eaten the same lunch every day for the past 4 years and I'm not bored yet."

– OhhGoood

"How f**king big was this lunch when you started?"

– notmyrealnam3

Not Sure Who Was Weirder

"Had a line cook that worked for us for 6 months never said much. My sous chef once told him with no context, "Baw wit da baw daw bang daw bang diggy diggy." The guy smiled, left, and never came back."

– Frostygrunt


"I pace around my house for hours listening to music imagining that I have done all the things I simply lack the brain capacity to do, or in some really bizarre scenarios, I can really get immersed in these imaginations sometimes I don't know if this is some form of schizophrenia or what."

– RandomSharinganUser

"I do the same exact thing, sometimes for hours. When I was young it would be a ridiculous amount of time and many years later it’s sort of trickled off into almost nothing (almost). It’s weird but I just thought it’s how my brain processes sh*t."

– Kolkeia

If Only

"Even as an adult I still think that if you are in a car that goes over a cliff; and right as you are about to hit the ground if you jump up you can avoid the damage and will land safely. I know I'm wrong. You shut up. I'm not crying."

– ShotCompetition2593

Pet Food

"As a kid I would snack on my dog's Milkbones."

– drummerskillit

"Haha, I have a clear memory of myself doing this as well. I was around 3 y/o. Needless to say no one was supervising me."

– Isitjustmedownhere

"When I was younger, one of my responsibilities was to feed the pet fish every day. Instead, I would hide under the futon in the spare bedroom and eat the fish food."

– -GateKeep-

My Favorite Subject

"I'm autistic and have always had a thing for insects. My neurotypical best friend and I used to hang out at this local bar to talk to girls, back in the late 90s. One time he claimed that my tendency to circle conversations back to insects was hurting my game. The next time we went to that bar (with a few other friends), he turned and said sternly "No talking about bugs. Or space, or statistics or other bullsh*t but mainly no bugs." I felt like he was losing his mind over nothing."

"It was summer, the bar had its windows open. Our group hit it off with a group of young ladies, We were all chatting and having a good time. I was talking to one of these girls, my buddy was behind her facing away from me talking to a few other people."

"A cloudless sulphur flies in and lands on little thing that holds coasters."

"Cue Jordan Peele sweating gif."

"The girl notices my tension, and asks if I am looking at the leaf. "Actually, that's a lepidoptera called..." I looked at the back of my friend's head, he wasn't looking, "I mean a butterfly..." I poked it and it spread its wings the girl says "oh that's a BUG?!" and I still remember my friend turning around slowly to look at me with chastisement. The ONE thing he told me not to do."

"I was 21, and was completely not aware that I already had a rep for being an oddball. It got worse from there."

– Phormicidae

*Teeth Chatter*

"I bite ice cream sometimes."


"That's how I am with popsicles. My wife shudders every single time."


Never Speak Of This

"I put ice in my milk."


"You should keep that kind of thing to yourself. Even when asked."

– We-R-Doomed

"There's some disturbing sh*t in this thread, but this one takes the cake."

– RatonaMuffin

More Than Super Hearing

"I can hear the television while it's on mute."

– Tira13e

"What does it say to you, child?"

– Mama_Skip


"I put mustard on my omelettes."

– Deleted User


– NotCrustOr-filling

Evened Up

"Whenever I say a word and feel like I used a half of my mouth more than the other half, I have to even it out by saying the word again using the other half of my mouth more. If I don't do it correctly, that can go on forever until I feel it's ok."

"I do it silently so I don't creep people out."

– LesPaltaX

"That sounds like a symptom of OCD (I have it myself). Some people with OCD feel like certain actions have to be balanced (like counting or making sure physical movements are even). You should find a therapist who specializes in OCD, because they can help you."

– MoonlightKayla

I totally have the same need for things to be balanced! Guess I'm weird and a little OCD!

Close up face of a woman in bed, staring into the camera
Photo by Jen Theodore

Experiencing death is a fascinating and frightening idea.

Who doesn't want to know what is waiting for us on the other side?

But so many of us want to know and then come back and live a little longer.

It would be so great to be sure there is something else.

But the whole dying part is not that great, so we'll have to rely on other people's accounts.

Redditor AlaskaStiletto wanted to hear from everyone who has returned to life, so they asked:

"Redditors who have 'died' and come back to life, what did you see?"


Happy Good Vibes GIF by Major League SoccerGiphy

"My dad's heart stopped when he had a heart attack and he had to be brought back to life. He kept the paper copy of the heart monitor which shows he flatlined. He said he felt an overwhelming sensation of peace, like nothing he had felt before."



"I had surgical complications in 2010 that caused a great deal of blood loss. As a result, I had extremely low blood pressure and could barely stay awake. I remember feeling like I was surrounded by loved ones who had passed. They were in a circle around me and I knew they were there to guide me onwards. I told them I was not ready to go because my kids needed me and I came back."

"My nurse later said she was afraid she’d find me dead every time she came into the room."

"It took months, and blood transfusions, but I recovered."


Take Me Back

"Overwhelming peace and happiness. A bright airy and floating feeling. I live a very stressful life. Imagine finding out the person you have had a crush on reveals they have the same feelings for you and then you win the lotto later that day - that was the feeling I had."

"I never feared death afterward and am relieved when I hear of people dying after suffering from an illness."



The Light Minnie GIF by (G)I-DLEGiphy

"I had a heart surgery with near-death experience, for me at least (well the possibility that those effects are caused by morphine is also there) I just saw black and nothing else but it was warm and I had such inner peace, its weird as I sometimes still think about it and wish this feeling of being so light and free again."


This is why I hate surgery.

You just never know.



"More of a near-death experience. I was electrocuted. I felt like I was in a deep hole looking straight up in the sky. My life flashed before me. Felt sad for my family, but I had a deep sense of peace."



"Nursing in the ICU, we’ve had people try to die on us many times during the years, some successfully. One guy stood out to me. His heart stopped. We called a code, are working on him, and suddenly he comes to. We hadn’t vented him yet, so he was able to talk, and he started screaming, 'Don’t let them take me, don’t let them take me, they are coming,' he was scared and yelling."

"Then he yelled a little more, as we tried to calm him down, he screamed, 'No, No,' and gestured towards the end of the bed, and died again. We didn’t get him back. It was seriously creepy. We called his son to tell him the news, and the son said basically, 'Good, he was an SOB.'”



"My sister died and said it was extremely peaceful. She said it was very loud like a train station and lots of talking and she was stuck in this area that was like a curtain with lots of beautiful colors (colors that you don’t see in real life according to her) a man told her 'He was sorry, but she had to go back as it wasn’t her time.'"


"I had a really similar experience except I was in an endless garden with flowers that were colors I had never seen before. It was quiet and peaceful and a woman in a dress looked at me, shook her head, and just said 'Not yet.' As I was coming back, it was extremely loud, like everyone in the world was trying to talk all at once. It was all very disorienting but it changed my perspective on life!"


The Fog

"I was in a gray fog with a girl who looked a lot like a young version of my grandmother (who was still alive) but dressed like a pioneer in the 1800s she didn't say anything but kept pulling me towards an opening in the wall. I kept refusing to go because I was so tired."

"I finally got tired of her nagging and went and that's when I came to. I had bled out during a c-section and my heart could not beat without blood. They had to deliver the baby and sew up the bleeders. refill me with blood before they could restart my heart so, like, at least 12 minutes gone."


Through the Walls

"My spouse was dead for a couple of minutes one miserable night. She maintains that she saw nothing, but only heard people talking about her like through a wall. The only thing she remembers for absolute certain was begging an ER nurse that she didn't want to die."

"She's quite alive and well today."


Well let's all be happy to be alive.

It seems to be all we have.

Man's waist line
Santhosh Vaithiyanathan/Unsplash

Trying to lose weight is a struggle understood by many people regardless of size.

The goal of reaching a healthy weight may seem unattainable, but with diet and exercise, it can pay off through persistence and discipline.

Seeing the pounds gradually drop off can also be a great motivator and incentivize people to stay the course.

Those who've achieved their respective weight goals shared their experiences when Redditor apprenti8455 asked:

"People who lost a lot of weight, what surprises you the most now?"

Redditors didn't see these coming.

Shiver Me Timbers

"I’m always cold now!"

– Telrom_1

"I had a coworker lose over 130 pounds five or six years ago. I’ve never seen him without a jacket on since."

– r7ndom

"140 lbs lost here starting just before COVID, I feel like that little old lady that's always cold, damn this top comment was on point lmao."

– mr_remy

Drawing Concern

"I lost 100 pounds over a year and a half but since I’m old(70’s) it seems few people comment on it because (I think) they think I’m wasting away from some terminal illness."

– dee-fondy

"Congrats on the weight loss! It’s honestly a real accomplishment 🙂"

"Working in oncology, I can never comment on someone’s weight loss unless I specifically know it was on purpose, regardless of their age. I think it kind of ruffles feathers at times, but like I don’t want to congratulate someone for having cancer or something. It’s a weird place to be in."

– LizardofDeath

Unleashing Insults

"I remember when I lost the first big chunk of weight (around 50 lbs) it was like it gave some people license to talk sh*t about the 'old' me. Old coworkers, friends, made a lot of not just negative, but harsh comments about what I used to look like. One person I met after the big loss saw a picture of me prior and said, 'Wow, we wouldn’t even be friends!'”

"It wasn’t extremely common, but I was a little alarmed by some of the attention. My weight has been up and down since then, but every time I gain a little it gets me a little down thinking about those things people said."

– alanamablamaspama

Not Everything Goes After Losing Weight

"The loose skin is a bit unexpected."

– KeltarCentauri

"I haven’t experienced it myself, but surgery to remove skin takes a long time to recover. Longer than bariatric surgery and usually isn’t covered by insurance unless you have both."

– KatMagic1977

"It definitely does take a long time to recover. My Dad dropped a little over 200 pounds a few years back and decided to go through with skin removal surgery to deal with the excess. His procedure was extensive, as in he had skin taken from just about every part of his body excluding his head, and he went through hell for weeks in recovery, and he was bedridden for a lot of it."

– Jaew96

These Redditors shared their pleasantly surprising experiences.


"I can buy clothes in any store I want."

– WaySavvyD

"When I lost weight I was dying to go find cute, smaller clothes and I really struggled. As someone who had always been restricted to one or two stores that catered to plus-sized clothing, a full mall of shops with items in my size was daunting. Too many options and not enough knowledge of brands that were good vs cheap. I usually went home pretty frustrated."

– ganache98012

No More Symptoms

"Lost about 80 pounds in the past year and a half, biggest thing that I’ve noticed that I haven’t seen mentioned on here yet is my acid reflux and heartburn are basically gone. I used to be popping tums every couple hours and now they just sit in the medicine cabinet collecting dust."

– colleennicole93

Expanding Capabilities

"I'm all for not judging people by their appearance and I recognise that there are unhealthy, unachievable beauty standards, but one thing that is undeniable is that I can just do stuff now. Just stamina and flexibility alone are worth it, appearance is tertiary at best."

– Ramblonius

People Change Their Tune

"How much nicer people are to you."

"My feet weren't 'wide' they were 'fat.'"

– LiZZygsu

"Have to agree. Lost 220 lbs, people make eye contact and hold open doors and stuff"

"And on the foot thing, I also lost a full shoe size numerically and also wear regular width now 😅"

– awholedamngarden

It's gonna take some getting used to.

Bones Everywhere

"Having bones. Collarbones, wrist bones, knee bones, hip bones, ribs. I have so many bones sticking out everywhere and it’s weird as hell."

– Princess-Pancake-97

"I noticed the shadow of my ribs the other day and it threw me, there’s a whole skeleton in here."

– bekastrange

Knee Pillow

"Right?! And they’re so … pointy! Now I get why people sleep with pillows between their legs - the knee bones laying on top of each other (side sleeper here) is weird and jarring."

– snic2030

"I lost only 40 pounds within the last year or so. I’m struggling to relate to most of these comments as I feel like I just 'slimmed down' rather than dropped a ton. But wow, the pillow between the knees at night. YES! I can relate to this. I think a lot of my weight was in my thighs. I never needed to do this up until recently."

– Strongbad23

More Mobility

"I’ve lost 100 lbs since 2020. It’s a collection of little things that surprise me. For at least 10 years I couldn’t put on socks, or tie my shoes. I couldn’t bend over and pick something up. I couldn’t climb a ladder to fix something. Simple things like that I can do now that fascinate me."

"Edit: Some additional little things are sitting in a chair with arms, sitting in a booth in a restaurant, being able to shop in a normal store AND not needing to buy the biggest size there, being able to easily wipe my butt, and looking down and being able to see my penis."

– dma1965

People making significant changes, whether for mental or physical health, can surely find a newfound perspective on life.

But they can also discover different issues they never saw coming.

That being said, overcoming any challenge in life is laudable, especially if it leads to gaining confidence and ditching insecurities.