“I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell” — a DSM for bloggers

I’ve been a regular blogger for several years, I think that by now I’ve got a relatively decent feel for some of the many disorders that manifest in the blogosphere. This post attempts to collect and classify a few of the more salient mental blog disorders — a DSM of the blogosphere, so to speak.

Bipolar / manic-depressive. This is the blogger who posts five items and changes his template three times in four hours, then neglects his blog completely for a week and a half. Rinse and repeat.

Schizophrenic. This blogger-commenter maintains multiple personalities in different venues: When commenting at Volokh, he’s a vocal liberal; when commenting at Leiter, he’s a hardline libertarian. (Variation: This diagnosis also applies to someone who is not just a commenter but blogs at various blogs himself, and who displays multiple blogging personalities across them).

Passive Aggressive. “Dan, I doubt you’ll respond to this post, but I think that ____. ” Then, get mad when Dan doesn’t respond.

Tourette’s. This is the blogger who drops unnecessary bursts of profanity into otherwise innocuous posts. No shit, Sherlock.

OCD. I must check my blog. I must moderate comments. I must clean out the spam folder. In ten minutes, I will do this all again.

ADD/ADHD. This blogger writes several posts per day. None of them are more than a few lines long; none of them contain more than half of one coherent . . .

Oh, the Diamondbacks will be great this season. I liked the video for that James Blunt song. And, did you see this cool article about invisible planetary rings?

Blog bulimic. Blog blog blog blog blog. Delete delete delete delete delete.

Sociopath. Doesn’t comply with social norms; deceitful; aggressive; lack of remorse — and all those terms really out of the (real) DSM! Clearly, this is the category for comment trolls.

Delusional. Bloggers who exhibit any of the following symptoms: Belief that blogging counts as actual scholarship; belief that blogging makes them sexy or desirable; belief that Glenn Reynolds actually reads their blog; belief that blogging is an acceptable substitute for a social life. Surefire diagnosis: Bloggers observed making repeated, insistent statements that “blogging is not a waste of time.”

This concludes this brief tour through the blogosphere DSM. And as for self-diagnosis . . . well, I’ll take the Fifth on that one. Besides, I didn’t see any category for “all of the above.”


First, this list is not exhaustive. Remember, Wenger’s Law: “The number of blog mental disorders is roughly equivalent to the number of bloggers.”

Second, this information should not be viewed as a diagnosis in anyone’s particular case. (Except for you, Dave Hoffman!) I’m not a psychiatrist, in blog-land or otherwise, and I can’t really diagnose anyone.

But I will say that, if you’ve read this far, you probably need therapy.

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10 Responses

  1. Lynn says:

    funny – but you forgot stalkers (otherwise regarded as consistent readers …

  2. Frank says:

    I do think it is bizarre how thin the line can be between some DSM-able diseases and ordinary behavior (note, for example, the compulsive shopping disorder, social anxiety disorder, and others entertaining described in Critser’s Generation Rx). Does it go to show that norms of proper behavior are increasingly narrow? Or that more and more people are unhinged?

    In any event, very funny post, and let’s have more Matchbox 20 inspired titles!

  3. Anonymous says:

    While I realize that you are “not a psychiatrist,” I think it should be pointed out that you are confusing the symptoms of schizophrenia with multiple personality syndrome. I understand that you most likely meant no harm by your categorization, but this type of misconception leads to stigmatization of the disease within the public consciousness. Thank you.

  4. anon says:

    It’s a clever post, but insulting to those of us who struggle with mental illness (and I’m not just talking about institutionalized types, but lawyers, doctors, politicians, even law profs!). Would you make a joke like that about cancer, AIDS, or Hep. C? I didn’t think so. It’s posts like these that contribute to the stigmatization of mental illness.

  5. Lynn says:

    No intention to offend sensitive readers, but the last two comments – while worthy arguments – also represent the death of humor by the American obsession with political correctness.

    It was a joke … a well-written one, in fact. I (who am a member of the legal community, and diagnosed with one, *gasp,* or more of the illnesses) laughed loudest at my own symptoms.

    This is not to argue that stigmatization is not a serious issue, or disrespect of the maladies condonable … but sometimes life is dramatically not what Hollywood portrays, and humor helps.

  6. Nate Oman says:

    “Would you make a joke like that about cancer, AIDS, or Hep. C?”

    I would certainly hope so. I doubt that there are any sufferers of cancer, AIDS, or Hep. C who couldn’t do with a good laugh.

  7. annegb says:

    Hell, I use blogging as my damn therapy. It’s cheaper.

  8. FXKLM says:

    I read this a couple of hours ago, and I still can’t get that damned “I’m not crazy” song out of my head. I hate that song. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the entire song. I’ve just a heard a two-second clip of it from a television commercial. If I wasn’t crazy before reading this post, I’m rapidly getting there.

  9. annegb says:

    This made me laugh again. Kaimi, I’m stealing your title. I don’t know, for sometime, maybe a greeting card: I’m not crazy, just a little unwell.

    Oh, it’s a song??? OY. I’m too old.

    I struggle with serious mental illness (you guys figure out which one)and I think this is a riot. Also totally astute.

    I, too, am all of the above. Well, not bulemic.

  10. terrim says:

    First comment I’ve ever posted; this page is obviously a “gateway” to blogging!

    I believe that in many cases (although not all), mental illness is in the eyes of the beholder, only.

    I was shocked, however, to read anon’s note that there are “lawyers, doctors, politicians, even law profs” afflicted with mental illness … oh my! Wow, who’da thunk, huh???