|“||The most dangerous sicknesses are those that make us believe we are well.||”|
–Proverb 42, The Book of Shhh
Amor Deliria Nervosa (or just deliria) is a disease in the Delirium Trilogy. It literally translates into Love Delirium Nervous. In our world, we would simply refer to this as "love" and consider it a good thing. However, in the world of Delirium it is considered the most deadly disease of all.
The main safeguard against the deliria is known as the Cure, a mandatory procedure done to a person's brain which leaves them unable to experience strong desires or emotions. As the Cure only works on those over eighteen, younger people are subjected to segregation and curfews. Those over eighteen who have been cured are known as cureds and those under eighteen who have not received the procedure are known as the Uncureds.
- Main article: Timeline
Love was first considered a disease after the United States had fallen into a disarray and began to be led by a totalitarian government. Sixty-four years before Delirium began, the President and the Consortium first announced their belief that love, now termed as amor deliria nervosa, was a disease. A cure was immediately sought for and several years later, Cormac T. Holmes perfected it and made it mandatory for everyone over eighteen.
- Main article: The Great Sanitation
It seems that in the early years there was very little pushback on the cure. Most people accepted it or even eagerly sought it out. However, there were some communities that did refuse the cure and the idea that love was a disease at all. Though they were pressured to join the official communities, some still refused. Those that did not submit were eventually destroyed in an event called the Great Sanitation.
These people and eventually others who defected from the verified communities formed a larger resistance aimed to bring down the government and its belief that love is a disease.
On the other hand, organizations within the verified communities, such as the Deliria-Free America, push for the cure to be given to all, regardless of age as they believe that that is the only way they can all be safe.
- preoccupation; difficulty focusing dry mouth
- perspiration, sweaty palms fits of dizziness and disorientation
- reduced mental awareness; racing thoughts; impaired reasoning skills
- periods of euphoria; hysterical laughter and heightened energy
- periods of despair; lethargy
- changes in appetite; rapid weight loss or weight gain fixation
- loss of other interests
- compromised reasoning skills; distortion of reality
- disruption of sleep patterns; insomnia or constant fatigue
- obsessive thoughts and actions
- paranoia; insecurity
- difficulty breathing pain in the chest, throat, or stomach
- difficulty swallowing; refusal to eat
- complete breakdown of rational faculties; erratic behavior; violent thoughts and fantasies; hallucinations and delusions
- emotional or physical paralysis (partial or total)
Prevention and TreatmentEdit
- Main article: The Cure
The main treatment for deliria is the cure, an operation which results in the person unable to feel strong emotions. The person will still feel emotions but only muted and with less attachment. People note that after the procedure they notice things with far more clarity than before but also no longer care.
There are exceptions, however. Some people, especially if they receive the cure younger, will suffer brain damage or other side-effects. Some people may not be affected by the cure at all such as Annabel Haloway who could still feel love.
Those who are under eighteen and therefore cannot receive the procedure are segregated from the opposite sex, are taught to mute their emotions as best they can, and how to avoid the deliria. Despite this, some, if not most, do suffer from it at some point in their adolescence.
Impact on SocietyEdit
The belief that love is a disease had a huge impact on how society was run in the Delirium world. While some things remained relatively the same, many other things changed. For example, person's marriage partner (referred to as a "pair") is found by the government through a process known as evaluations. Another difference is that people mostly stay within their verified community for fear of contamination from elsewhere. As well, a border surrounds every verified community to keep sickness out and everyone else in.
Because of the constant fear of deliria, the idea of contamination and sickness has filtered into folklore and songs. See below for examples.
Excerpts and Related MediaEdit
- We must be constantly on guard against the Disease;
the health of our nation, our people, our families,
and our minds depends on constant vigilance.
- "Basic Health Measures," The Safety, Health, and Happiness Handbook, 12th edition
- The devil stole into the Garden of Eden. He carried with him the disease--amor deliria nervosa--in the form of a seed. It grew and flowered into a magnificent apple tree, which bore apples as bright as blood.
- From Genesis: A Complete History of the World and the Known Universe, by Steven Horace, PhD, Harvard University
- Step on a crack, you'll break your mama's back.
Step on a stone, you'll end up all alone.
Step on a stick, you're bound to get the Sick.
Watch where you tread, you'll bring out all the dead.
- A common children's playground chant, usually accompanied by jumping rope or clapping
- Mama, Mama, help me get home
I'm out in the woods, I am out on my own.
I found me a werewolf, a nasty old mutt
It showed me its teeth and went straight for my gut.
Mama, Mama, help me get home
I'm out in the woods, I am out on my own.
I was stopped by a vampire, a rotting old wreck
It showed me its teeth, and went straight for my neck.
Mama, Mama, put me to bed
I won't make it home, I'm already half-dead.
I met an Invalid, and fell for his art
He showed me his smile and went straight for my heart.
- From "A Child's Walk Home," Nursery Rhymes and Folk Tales, edited by Cory Levinson
- In the decades before the development of the cure, the disease had become so virulent and widespread it was extraordinarily rare for a person to reach adulthood without having contracted a significant case of amor deliria nervosa (please see "Statistics, Pre-Border Era")....Many historians have argued that pre-cure society was itself a reflection of the disease, characterized by fracture, instability....Almost half of all marriages ended in dissolution....Incidence of drug use skyrocketed, as did alcohol-related deaths.
People were so desperate for relief and protection from the disease they began widespread experimentation with makeshift folk remedies that were in themselves deadly, consuming concoctions of drugs assembled from common cold medications and synthesized into an extremely addictive and often fatal compound (please see "Folk Cures Through the Ages")....
The discovery of the procedure to cure deliria is typically credited to Cormac T. Holmes, a neuroscientist who was a member of the initial Consortium of New Scientists and one of the first disciples of the New Religion, which teaches the Holy Trinity of God, Science, and Order. Holmes was canonized several years after his death, and his body is preserved and displayed in the All-Saints' Monument in Washington, DC (see photographs on pp.210-212).
- From "Before the Border," A Brief History of the United States of America, by E.D. Thompson, p.121