Did you know vampires are real? No, we don’t mean the Twilight-franchise kind of vampires, or the one with perfect skin presented in The Vampire Diaries.
Researchers inform us there are people out there sleeping in coffins and drinking blood because they self-identify as vampires. People who need psychotherapy and, from time to time, medical and emotional help.
The study was co-authored by D.J. Williams, chief of social work at Idaho State University, and Emily E. Prior, researcher at the College of the Canyons and published this month in the journal Critical Social Work. They had the rare occasion of interviewing 11 self-identified vampires from the United States and South Africa.
Unsurprisingly, the subjects said they were reluctant to make their identity public as they feared they would be labeled as having psychopathological tendencies or being incompetent in performing typical social roles, such as parenting.
However, according to Williams’ notes, the people he interviewed didn’t seem to fall out of the ordinary, functioning normally within appropriate communities. They were also rather ordinary from the psychiatric history point of view, with some of them achieving considerable success in their careers.
Williams’ opinion on vampirism is that it’s no different than the alternative identities adopted by other people, such as furries – fans of anthropromorphic animals – goths – fans of the darker side of things – or otherkin – those who think they are the reincarnation of mythic creatures.
He also believes that the highly digitalized social environment we live in is the perfect medium for people to develop such unconventional and unique identities, and vampirism is no exception; Williams wrote there’s more to come in the near future in terms of nontraditional identities, and clinicians should be prepared to deal with them.
What Williams emphasized the most in the study’s article is that mental health professionals – social workers, therapists or psychiatrists – who might come in contact with such people need to remember that self-identified vampires are just people who need help.
It might be a different kind of help than what those with mainstream identities need, but what they don’t need is people treating them like they are freaks of nature.
Vampire-people have normal jobs and perform various social roles. Just like regular people, they may deal with stress, health issues, relationship hiccups, or career transitions and they might need some help getting along the way.
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