Ok, so here's my situation: EDIT: Small note, at the beginning the character is eight. I finished writing the first draft of my story (small victory, the re-write is seeing many changes), and had to change something big. You see, the male MC (I say male because I also have a female MC) at first, when his village is massacred starts hallucinating badly, and then begins a regimen that involves supernaturally suppressing his hallucinations and his negative emotions. At the end of the second story (very end, like the last few paragraphs of the second story to be exact) drops the regimen (it has dark connections to the death of his people) and he snaps, completely. He starts hallucinating again, unable to snap himself to reality sometimes, and becomes hateful, even of his companions that he later starts to irrationally think are conspiring against him. Small note: he drops the regimen eight years later when he's sixteen. Firstly, I cut the hallucinating at the start because I don't believe I can sell that he's hallucinating (out of trauma) merely seconds/minutes after the murder of his friend (not unless he's psychotic). With hallucinations beginning to go lite, I'm finding it hard to sell that he'd crack so bad by the end of the second story. When I wrote up the beginning the first time (when he's seeing things like crazy), he also came off as a wuss (my friend pointed out how weak the character comes off), so I changed it around and now while he comes off stronger, it seems less plausible that he'd start hallucinating or that the hallucinations would be that bad. To add some context however, a fey-like creature projects the vision of the death of his (the MC's) people into his mind to convince him to run. My problem? The character going off the deep end (and staying off the deep end) at the end of the second story and making it seem plausible that he'd only descend into worse territory, especially when the beginning had to be less melodramatic. I also need tips on how to keep the character sympathetic to the reader when he does crack. The fey-like creature projecting the images into his mind I feel makes this somewhat easier, though how do I do hallucinations well? So far I have a brief glimpse of a dead friend, and the whisper of another. Later (and I may end up cutting this), the environment around him fades from view and he's standing next to two dead friends and he's partially believing he's there. When he's smacked awake, he forgets he just had that hallucination. At night he hallucinates that one of his dead friends is with him in the room and he's trying to protect her.