’Tis the Season, Unfortunately

It’s been a hard week for the pathologically self-involved. In a cruel and  obsessive-compulsive burst of house cleaning, the American Psychiatric Association announced the elimination of five perfectly good mental disorders for the next edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. But while the loss of schizoid, paranoid, dependent and histrionic disorders are causing some discomfort among New Yorkers, it is the grave loss of Narcissistic Personality Disorder from the list that is cutting deepest of all.

One psychiatrist told The Times, “They have little appreciation for the damage they could be doing.” Indeed, could there be a worse time of year for the APA to sweep in and remove a disorder that handily encompasses so many holiday pathologies? I mean, what are we to do with grandiosity, the need for excessive praise or a heightened sensitivity to perceived slights? 

In order to give some comfort (if not joy) and, of course, in the seasonal spirit of giving, here are some useful replacements:


Chanukosis: A candle-like meltdown often observed after parents have been through eight nights of gift giving.

Ornamentia: An advanced stage of Delusional Hospitality Disorder (DHO), characterized by hosts’ shaming guests into coming with tree decorations to outer-borough parties.

Pay Saks Disease: A mania for gift buying and abusing credit lines followed by a compulsive urge to carry 10 shopping bags at once.

Mulling: A mild catatonic state similar to sleepwalking that makes people consume warm red wine that is sweetened enough to precipitate an onset of diabetes.

Gingervitis: A hypyer-manic, Martha Stewart-like state of perfectionism manifested when building elaborate gingerbread homes.

Repressed Mammary Syndrome: Uncontrollably kittenish urges of middle-aged single women to wear tight mohair sweaters to large family gatherings.

PDD: Party Deficit Disorder, or a pattern of relentless and hyperactive obsession with hopping from one event to the next while texting and tweeting.

Gift-aphasia: Loss of memory that causes the accidental recycling of gifts back to the same people who gave them last year.

SAD: Seasonal Affection Disorder, an exaggerated emotional response (typically shrieking and air-kissing) triggered by seeing insignificant acquaintances at annual parties.

Rental Illness: Aggressive and constant expression of disappointment with luxury properties while vacationing on Caribbean islands.

Champain: An acute sense of displeasure on New Year’s Eve. ’Tis the Season, Unfortunately