Truman Show Disorder: Is Reality TV Your Reality?
Shakespeare was right, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” But did the Bard of Avon know, 300 years ago, he’d be talking about the prying eye of reality TV?
Brace yourself for the mental health industry’s diagnosis du jour — “Truman Show Disorder,” the creeping, pervasive feeling that your every move, inside your home and out, is being filmed without your knowledge for a reality TV show.
Joel and Ian Gold, two Canadian psychiatrists, say it’s the signature mental illness of the YouTube age, and they’ve treated at least five patients — white men between the ages of 25 and 34, mostly college educated — all of whom believed cameras were trailing them, recording their every move.
Typically, the Truman Show Delusion is a combination of paranoia, grandiosity and ideas of reference, which means that patients believe they are receiving signals specifically meant for them from a newscast or something like that
For those of you who don’t recall the 1998 sci-fi comedy, Jim Carey starred as Truman Burbank, an affable suburbanite who slowly becomes aware that his every movement to voyeuristic viewers around the world.
Sadly, that movie probably couldn’t be made today. It’s no longer science fiction — and it accurately describes at least half a dozen shows currently on the air.