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Sarah's Disability Explained

posted by Pride on - last edited - Viewed by 7.6K users

I mentioned I was a student of psychology in another thread and someone asked me to try and determine what exactly Sarah's disability was, so I did, because it's kinda cringe-worthy for me for people to assume Sarah was acting "stupid" because "she wanted to" and hate her because of it. Just take this post as some sort of trivia or interesting tidbit to know about her, or something.

Forgive me in advance for my English, since I am not a native.

She seems to have spectrums of anxiety disorder, in particular panic disorder and separation anxiety disorder.

She possesses a number of symptons:

Panic disorder:

  • How she freezes up at the sight of danger, has difficulty breathing, speaking and moving is consistent with panic disorder.
  • Her freezing up due to an intense fear of the consequences of "messing up" when she has to do a simple task such as picking berries by herself.
  • Her "flight or freeze" response to a traumatic events, to which she will either freeze up or develop an intense irrational desire to flee the place which the event has ocurred and get as far away from it as possible. This explains why she instantly fled from the scene and was "running through the woods like a maniac" as Luke put it after her dad died, and later on why she froze up when surrounded by walkers at the trailer park.

Separation disorder:

  • How she clings to Carlos, and seems to have a small fit every time she is separated from him.
  • How she's contantly paranoid about his safety and that he might not come back when he's away from her
  • How she feels ill when he's not around and keeps repeating "I'm not okay" or "I don't feel well"
  • How she will call for him whenever she feels scared or sad "I want my dad!"
  • How she sometimes ceases to function and retreats into a corner when her dad is not around [the whole holding her legs in fetal position thing], but is able to snap out of it if there's a person she trusts near her [which is why Clem is always able to snap her out of it: she really trusts Clementine]
  • An additional trivia to the two last points is that if you save her, she starts calling for Clementine when she's in danger, instead of her dad. It shows how much she appreciated and trusted Clementine, and how she was beginning to get over her father.

Both of these are treatable through therapy only [medicine is not mandatory,if they're not available], while the latter could have most certainly been entirely Carlos' fault for coddling and sheltering her too much. Excessively coddled / sheltered children and teens often develop separation anxiety. Sarah could indeed have become a functioning member of the group. Her dad was the biggest idiot in this story.

I don't believe she is intellectualy challenged , given how she has enough perception to be completely aware and upset over how her dad shelters her,how she knows whether Clementine was forced to watch her in the forest, how she realizes Luke and Jane were going to leave her to die, and how she's also sharp enough to tell whether Clementine is lying to her when being comforted. She is also not as oblivous to how the world is out there as Carlos says, since she is aware that she must start learning how to protect herself if she wants to survive and asks Clementine to help her,and that she must not tell Carlos about it. Quoting Sarah herself : "Everything is dangerous. I need to learn how to protect myself someday."

Her behaving like a 12/13 year old instead of 15 is simply the result of her father's intense sheltering ever since the apocalypse started, which would have been her age when it happened. As a result she never "grew" past that age.

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    CrazyGeorge BANNED

    I thought she was just a kid so i never gave her that hard of a time.

  • I agree with this completely.

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      CrazyGeorge BANNED

      I felt bad when i slapped her, but it WAS the only way i could get her to listen to me, i'm no Rick Rice i swear.

      • Yep. I slapped her to save her. Felt kinda bad about it, but unlike so many others, I did it because I WANTED her to make it.

        Was very disappointed to have TTG pull the rug out from under us just a few moments later... As with many other characters this season, felt like they wasted the chance to do something interesting with her character. Instead, Carver's "survival of the fittest" and Jane's "lone wolf" bullshit prevailed and being an uncaring asshole is the best way to live seems to be what TTG wants us to take away from this season... =/

        The major difference between how Carol treated Lizzie in the TV show and how TTG treats Sarah in this season is that, at least in Carol's case, she did EVERYTHING (and more) that she could do to try to help Lizzie. When it finally came time for Lizzie to "look at the flowers," you could tell it tore Carol (and Tyreese) up inside to have to give up on her. In contrast, TTG's characters only acted annoyed by Sarah and seemed not to give two shits about her once she was finally out of their hair.

  • Ha and you thought you were going to be down voted to hell. 7 up votes already.

  • Sarah was naive and had anxiety issues, to say the least.

  • Yep yep yep. I related so intrinsically to Sarah for these reasons. Having lived with anxiety and panic disorders since 6th grade, I can tell you it is hell enough in the real world, and takes a lot of strength to work through. It has literally nothing to do with your intelligence and is all about brain chemicals, genetics and the environment you were raised in. It's even worse when you're young and dealing with the emotional struggles of puberty on top of it.

    I can't imagine what the few years Sarah spent in the ZA leading up to meeting Clem must have been like. I really wish she could have had a chance to prove she was strong in her own way, prove that she could learn to survive like she stated she wanted to. That even being disabled she is still as important to the group and worthy of being there as any other character was. Instead we get her killed in extremely unsatisfying ways, with a bonus "people wanted to slap her, so you get to slap her but you'll be stuck with her for a bit longer" bullshit option.

  • I feel sadder about her death now ;-;

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    InfiniteDawn BANNED

    I looked at it as her being neurodivergent, having anxiety, being naive and being highly sheltered by Carlos.

  • Thanks for taking the time to explain this to us. I just thought she was autistic and hidden from the real world.

    Thumbs up!:)

  • I like how whenever a character has a 'flaw' so to speak, it always has to be linked to some kind of disability, I always saw Sarah as simply having Anxiety issues due to social withdrawal (if we're to assume Carlos was extremely protective of her before the apocalypse) and the her having the mindset of a younger child, is just a bi-product of Carlos constantly coddling her (I reference you to the scene where Sarah tell Clem what her dad does when she's in trouble) and seeming to treat her like a 7 year old (as opposed to a 15 year old).

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