First, I just want to make something extremely clear. I may not have any personal experience with some of these illnesses and I am aware that as a result I am speaking from a position of privilege. I will do my best to treat this article with the delicacy and sensitivity it deserves. Please
let me know if anything comes out as offensive and know that it was most certainly not intentional. Another thing to note: I am not a professional and do not have the ability to actually diagnose these illnesses, everything in this article is entirely speculation and hypothesizing on my behalf.
I will start by discussing an illness that I am personally familiar with: depression. Every now and again in the show characters seem to show symptoms of depression. Milah is the character I feel this comes across most strongly. People often criticize me or even just wonder about my sympathy for Milah. Honestly, a lot of it comes from my own experience with depression and the fact that Milah's actions were quite similar to how I expressed my unhappiness and the symptoms of my own depression. Drinking heavily, neglecting responsibilities, acting very bitter and sarcastic, and leaving the house frequently because I felt I was suffocating when inside - these were all things I did. I suppose I understand personally how trapped she felt and how the desperation to escape the source of your unhappiness - in her case her marriage and the stigma that came with being married to a coward - can make you just that: desperate. People do irrational, hurtful and irresponsible things when they're desperate. Milah left her son and husband, was it the right thing to do? Of course not, and she does have to be held accountable for that. But it is also not right to say she was a terrible person and leave it at that, especially when the situation is just not that simple. Depression is one of the few things that can overwhelm the motherly instinct and it's not something that can be rationalized away. It was cowardly and she hurt those around her but there was still the need to escape, the need to protect herself in any way possible. I also feel I need to point out that it worked - when we see Milah in the bar, meeting Killian for the first time, she looks exhausted and worn. Yet, after escaping her marriage and travelling with Hook for years she looks so much better, healthier. The types of depression she would have suffered from are either link
Depression also links in with another illness or disorder called link
which is the inability to feel any sort of pleasure. Anhedonia is often a symptom of depression. This all ties in with the phenomenon of having a heart ripped out. Both Cora and Graham said in one form or another that they were unable to feel anything. Cora even ripped out her own heart because she knew this would be the result. Anhedonia doesn't quite fit but it's the closest diagnoses I could find.
Speaking about hearts being ripped out leads me on to someone else who may suffer from a disorder: Hook. It was actually Hook who inspired me into researching and writing this article as I wondered if there was a name for someone's actual [i]need[i/] for revenge and I came across something I had never come across before: link
. Basically, this disorder describes a state of mind where someone has become so bitter they can barely function. This is what occurs when someone has experienced something deeply traumatic and cannot let go how unfair it all was. I think being tied to a mast and being forced to see someone you love deeply having her heart ripped from her chest and crushed to ash as she died in your arms would count. The injustice of it all and his fury and desire for revenge were great enough to still be going strong after 300 years. As far as we know now, he spent 300 years doing nothing but looking for a way to get revenge. Was he incapable of putting aside his thirst for vengeance all those years? I think he must have been as I can't imagine the drive necessary to only have one goal for three centuries.
Lastly, there's one more person who suffers from an illness and that is Emma. From what I can gather she suffers from link
. As with Anhedonia the diagnoses isn't perfect but it's as close as I could find. Emotional Detachment is what it sounds like: an inability to connect with other people on an emotional level. and for ten years, Emma might well have has this. The ten years before the series starts Emma had no real emotional connection with anybody. She never contacted anyone after moving to Storybrooke and she did just up and move without so much as a by-your-leave. In Storybrooke she connects with Henry, Mary Margaret, and Graham to an extent but she never fully opens up to them or lets down her walls completely. After Neal's betrayal she chose to put up those walls and those walls prevent her really connecting with anybody on a meaningful level.
There may be more to add to this and I'll probably make some edits to it another time. Let me know if you think I've missed something and I'll do some research on it and add it to the article.