Could Marta have Schizoaffective Disorder?
The doctor who questions Marta at the end of the book suggests that Marta may have Schizoaffective Disorder.
‘Perhaps early misdiagnosis of depression – depressive and psychotic symptoms could suggest Schizoaffective Disorder?’
Symptoms that suggest Schizoaffective Disorder:
- Depressive symptoms
According to Hector, Marta was seriously depressed when he found her on his doorstep. Her parents had recently died, she was suffering from an eating disorder, and may or may not have been on medication. When she ceases taking her pills, Marta tells us that she suffers from depression and feelings of hopelessness:
- Manic symptoms
Manic symptoms can include increased energy, decreased sleep (or decreased need for sleep), distractibility, fast (“pressured”) speech, and increased impulsive behaviours. It could be argued that Marta’s behaviour in the second half of the book exhibits these symptoms: pacing the house, sleeping outside on the front step, leaving the house to drive to the city.
After she arrives in the city, her symptoms become even more erratic: she escapes Kylan’s house to look for her old family and she tries to steal a young girl from the street. It isn’t hard to understand why Kylan is concerned about her.
The second half of the book has a much faster pace than the first half.
- Delusions and hallucinations
Depending on your interpretation, Marta’s ‘flashbacks’ could also be defined as hallucinations, caused by the fact she has stopped taking her medication. Do you believe that the things Marta sees are memories from her past returning, or is she suffering from Schizoaffective Disorder?
If Marta is suffering from misdiagnosed Schizoaffective Disorder, she has been taking pills to subdue the depressive aspects of her condition. The medication in the book is fictional, but may be similar to an anti-depressant or anti-psychotic drug.
Read more about Marta’s little pink pills