Ennui Condition in Challaria | World Anvil


Write about a mental illness in your world and how people respond to this.

Has the world lost it's sparkle? Does life no longer give you the interest it once did? Are your friends finding you a dull old toad? You, my friend, are suffering from Ennui. Don't let this debilitating condition drag you down. Take "Pitkin's Powders" a miraculous curative and preventative that will maintain your mind and character, restoring any damage done! One a day for prevention, two a day for cure - a snip at only a duke a dozen.
— fly posted advert seen in Mariv-thip
A growing sense of boredom and world weariness is one of the major mental health issues that beset the empire in it's decadent phase. Politicians, ministers, emperors even fell under its dread shadow, loosing interest in their families, rivalries and business interests. If they'd caught religion, or philosophy well, these things happen but they do at least give one an interest even if it is incoherent to ones familiy, friends and colleagues. Ennui just saps the character leaving an inert shell without motivation.


Opinions on the cause remain divided. Some say that the cosmopolitan lifestyle of the later empire was fundamentally unsatisfying to the human condition and that this created a vacuum in the spirit which gradually sucked out the soul. Others laid the blame on diet with refined Sweetroot being a particular suspect following the increased consumption of this is the main cities of the empire as The Vale of Arabour's exports of marmalade surged.


In the early stages there is inertia - one wakes up feeling rested but has no inclination to rise and be about ones business. When at it one questions the point of it. As the condition progresses an ever increasing number of increasingly important things cease to be felt to be worth doing, culminating in a disinclination to eat or drink even when suffering from starvation and with food to hand.


Advertisements such as the one above not withstanding, there is no evidence for any effective drug treatments for the condition. Noting that those with active lifestyles are less prone, some believe that strenuous exercise is efficacious; and they may be right. But getting someone with a serious case of ennui on their feet and keeping them moving for several hours is no mean feat. The great thinker and empiricist Hieron Nollerute suspecting some of the early symptoms in himself took to walking 5 leagues a day and encouraged others to likewise as a prophylactic.


Mild cases can stabilise but this is rare and the sufferer gradually becomes more and more withdrawn. In the most advanced cases the sufferer falls victim to diseases typical of malnutrition and may even starve to death. Good care and nursing help put this off but this relies on wealth and/or an uncommonly supportive family or friends. Where cases have been cured or gone into remission there is a significant chance of repeat episodes.
Not known
Contagion risk
No evidence of contagion
Danger to life
Moderate, chronic
At its height, recognisable symptoms in 5% of city dwellers with life changing impact on around 1%.

Ennui and the Truthful

By the latter stages of the empire a small number of followers of Truth had begun to spread into the main cities of the empire although there was much that they found offensive in the culture of these cities. They were one of the few groups to take an interest in the sufferers of Ennui owing to it so clearly being at odds with the Second That. Though themselves widely disdained by the powerful of the empire and its cities they did have some success at rehabilitation of sufferers through a combination of conversation (usually one sided in the early stages), nursing and a device the details of which have been lost that triggered the movements of walking without the conscious volition of the wearer.

Society's Reaction

Like many mental health issues peoples' reaction to sufferers of ennui depends very much on their relationship with the sufferer. Those with personal experience of it in family and close friends are more forgiving of it and tend to make a conscious effort to support the sufferer but many still see sufferers as "lazy B~&&*^~" and refuse to support them. Sufferers are particularly likely to become homeless due to failure to maintain their business or trade and can deteriorate rapidly. Unlike some others in this group they are not violent or offensive and therefore tend to barely register on peoples consciousness as they pass the slumped figures, often taking them for drunks sleeping off the excess.


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