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Disconnected Mind Syndrome, or “Michelle Syndrome”, is one of the most dangerous illnesses to biological life currently. It can lead to injury, stunted psionic growth, unusable psionic power, weakness, other symptoms, life-threatening symptoms, and death.
A Little History
Michelle Syndrome was first discovered by Lumi Faraday, after her sister, Michelle, suffered a really bad attack from it. At the time, she didn’t know what it was, but after the creation of the New World, Lumi’s research lead to her finding out.
Research into Michelle Syndrome became one of Lumi’s priorities, as it turned out, the mechanisms for it run more deeply than she imagined. She eventually figured it out, but realised it can’t be “cured” only “helped”. If someone was suffering from a bad case of Michelle Syndrome, using psionics, even at Lumi’s level, to cure it, could actually make it much worse in an instant.
After officially calling it the “Uncontrolled Psionic Power Growth and Correction Syndrome”, Lumi then named it after her sister.
Michelle Syndrome is a broad terms for similar symptoms from three different roots; Growth-based Michelle Syndrome and Correction-based Michelle Syndrome; (both culminating in Full Michelle Syndrome), and finally General Michelle Syndrome. Before we get onto the symptoms of Michelle Syndrome, the fundamental mechanic, the three forms, and the “Mental Cushion” need to be understood:
The fundamental mechanic for Michelle Syndrome is a complicated affair. It's when the psionic mind and biological brain are "distanced" from each other in an individual. It's uncertain how this "distance" occurs, but what it leads to is complications within the mind, including, but not limited to, distorted, jammed, or delayed nerve signals, slows thought processes, and fluctuating psionic power.
It's important to note that this mental "distancing" is worsened when any psionic force is applied to the individuals mind- which is greater than the user's own psionic power. If the "distance" becomes too great, the symptoms will become worse, and could lead to death. Even at the level of power of Lumi and Filicia, applying that power will worsen the condition. It's also believed Nita's anti-psionic power will greatly worse the condition.
Lumi believes that people have suffered Michelle Syndrome throughout history, but because psionics forces weren't nearly as common in the past, it's only recently that it's grown in danger.
General Michelle Syndrome
General Michelle Syndrome, or GMS, is the most common form of Michelle Syndrome, as psychics and nonpsychics alike can suffer from it, and it's the most basic form of Michelle Syndrome too. There aren't any additional mechanics to this other than the fundamental distance. GMS has a basic set of symptoms that might not be easily identifiable:
- Appearance of daydreaming often,
- Headaches maybe once or twice a day,
- Inability to focus properly,
- Inability to run or exert body in sports and other physical activity,
- Slower general movement- from limbs to eyes, than what is normal,
- Slower to react to prompts, danger, or pain than what is normal,
- Some dizziness,
- Some instability when walking,
- Some memory loss,
These symptoms are the basic symptoms of Michelle Syndrome, and carry on through more advanced forms of it. Continuing on with GMS however. The condition will stay like this for some time, unless it wither progresses by itself, which is very rare, or is acted upon by psionic force. Further symptoms and complications of GMS include:
- Complications with internal organs and immune system,
- Inability to exert their body beyond walking, writing, painting, e.t.c.,
- Inability to focus without great effort,
- Instability when walking,
- Memory loss, be it short or long term,
- Slow body movement, from limbs to eyes,
- Slow to react to prompts, danger, or pain
At the most dangerous end of the scale:
- A comatose state
- Internal organ functions stop often enough to become ineffective through malfunctioning nerve signals,
- Can lead to death,
- Muscles cease to move properly through malfunctioning nerve signals,
- Brain ceases to function properly, or completely, leading to death.
The “Mental Cushion” is the psionic term for the resilience the mind has to training and growth. When a psychic pushes their mind to its limits, they then enter the “Mental Cushion”. The Mental Cushion is a mental safety mechanism that allows for safe and controlled growth, even when the mind is straining itself; It softens the hit of a psychic reaching their limits, and allows the psychic to safely push past them for a limited time before it becomes dangerous.
Like a runner running full-pelt at a wall, but in place of that wall is a really big wall of pillows, expanding in front of and behind where the wall should be. It allows them to hit the limit safely, and push through. The exact mechanics of the Mental Cushion aren’t yet fully understood.
Each psychic’s Mental Cushion is different, and it’s notoriously difficult to measure without a skilled telepath.
Growth-based Michelle Syndrome
Growth-based Michelle Syndrome, or GBMS, is when a psychic’s mind will begin to raise its power and expand it capabilities by itself. Though this seems useful, it doesn’t stop, and will keep going through and beyond the mental cushion, passively pushing the mind of the psychic to dangerous levels.
The mental cushion will freak out and send signals to the mind to stop, but the mind won't stop, and when the mental cushion is passed, the mind will become incredibly strained, all the while the mental cushion is trying to force the mind to stop, all leading to various symptoms. If the rate of growth is low, it isn't too much of a problem, but if the growth rate is too high, it can lead to the mind passively straining itself to destruction.
There are a few theories as to why GBMS occurs, typically it’s when a psychic has trained strenuously for a great period and the mind doesn’t settle again afterwards, though it can trigger if the psychic has never done any training at all.
There are various stages to GBMS, as it typically starts mild, before growing in potency:
- Stage 1 GBMS: <=5% growth per day.
- Stage 2 GBMS: <=15% growth per day.
- Stage 3 GBMS: <=35% growth per day.
- Stage 4 GBMS: <=65% growth per day.
- Stage 5 GBMS: >=100% growth per day. Ultimately leads to a coma or death.
Correction-based Michelle Syndrome
Correction-based Michelle Syndrome, or CBMS, is when the psychic has pushed past their limits, and has grown, even if it’s safely, but after they’ve let their mind relax, there’s some disconnect in the mind, where it considers the growth of the psychic to be dangerous, and will drag it down, undoing the growth. This can happen gradually or immediately.
CBMS is considered less dangerous than GBMS, but if not treated, it can stunt the growth of the psychic, or lead to a psychic pushing themselves to the point it becomes dangerous.
If the correction rate is too fast, or immediate, it can lead to various symptoms. The correction is called a "spring back" among the medical and psionic community. The speed of spring backs can increase with each successive spring back.
Another possible factor of CBMS is the “Mental Cushion Danger Signal Nullification Factor”, or having a “Super Soft Mental Cushion”. This factor can lead to the mental cushion giving no danger signals to the mind to say it’s about to be passed, or has been passed. This can give way for the psychic going way past their mental cushion without even noticing until they stop training, leading to harmful symptoms when it springs back.
“Super Soft CBMS”, or “SSCBMS” is considered to be as life-threatening as GBMS.
Unlike GBMS, the mechanics of CBMS are easier to pin down; it occurs due to disconnects and faults in the mind, though the reasons for the disconnects and faults in the mind are unknown.
There are various stages to CBMS, as the spring backs can have differing rates per person, and can also increase over successive spring backs. The rate of the spring back relates to the decrease of the power grained before the it occurs:
- Stage 1 GMS: <=0.1% correction per minute.
- Stage 2 GMS: <=1% correction per minute.
- Stage 3 GMS: <=10% correction per minute.
- Stage 4 GMS: <=100% correction per minute.
- Stage 5 GMS: >=Immediate.
Full Michelle Syndrome
Full Michelle Syndrome, or FMS, is the most threatening form of Michelle Syndrome, and is highly likely to lead to death if not spotted early, or a completely useless power and constant symptoms. Full Michelle Syndrome is where the patient suffers both GMS and CMS/SSCMS simultaneously.
FMS is a combination of GMS and CMS, and causes the mind to not only grow by itself, but spring back at random intervals based on danger signals from the mental cushion. It leads to the psychic having no control over their power, and likely no power to use, as it fluctuates in power and capability against their will. FMS usually leads to regular bursts of pain and symptoms.
Super Soft FMS, or SSFMS, is a combination of GMS and SSCMS, and causes the mind to grow by itself. SSFMS is the worst-case scenario for Michelle Syndrome, as the mind will grow by itself, but never receive danger signals from the mental cushion, leading to the mind uncontrollably growing way past its limits.
SSFMS is relatively safe in its groth phase- even though the growth alone can be life-threatening, the psychic will be able to use and control their powers as normal. The real danger is the correction phase- the spring back. This might seem similar to FMS, but the difference is that the growth phase of SSFMS can last for years of growth, instead of anything up to a month or two like FMS.
When SSFMS springs back, it can cause massive damage to the psychic’s body and mind, and likely lead to a suddenly, unexplained death after an enormous drop in power.
SSFMS is what Michelle Faraday suffered from, and it built up over her entire life before springing back at the age of 16. If it wasn’t for her power limiting the damage of a 10-11 year spring back, she would have died.
There are no stages of FMS, and are simply read of GMS and CMS stages individually.