“I don’t like other women. They gossip. I hate gossip. I think they should all go pound sand.” No, it is not a patient who said this. It was my (Great-) aunt Etta, who wore her hair like “Bride of Frankenstein.” She had been militant about her disdain for “gossip,” and certainly wore a bitter expression on her face most of the time. But she would not tell the little girl I was then any more of her story.
My husband will drive me a bit to go see a patient, closer to his home. I may nod off briefly, although I have had enough sleep. Only to wake up again briskly when he slams on the brakes, which he will a few times, at least. I continue to be shocked by the total lack of empathy drivers have for each other.
It is hard for me to digest the events of July 14 in Nice, France, as I feel especially close to them.
I was present at seven such annual patriotic ceremonies during my tenure as a student of medicine in a French government facility. I loved the street-fair atmosphere, where I sang at the top of my lungs and danced with a whole heart.
As a medical student in government service, a terrorist attack would have mobilized me into service of France, a nation I can only love, which gave me a medical education essentially free of charge, asking only for me to prove on an exam that I had what it takes.
I wear a tiny Eiffel Tower around my neck — I stroke it as I write. Read more on Terrorism In Nice…
Every honest and complete psychiatric evaluation includes screening for delusions. A delusion is a strongly held belief that is totally without basis in the factual reality that we all use to live our daily lives. I have taken care of several people, institutionalized and not, who have had such beliefs. Medications known as “antipsychotics” can be very effective on the hallucinations — the hearing voices and seeing things and such — that are the hallmark of a lack of mental “normalcy” as is generally expected and accepted in the community. The same medications may be less effective on these delusions, these beliefs. Sometimes, in a particular kind of delusion, a kind that hits folks somewhere between 18 and 90 (average age 40) where there are no hallucinations, just beliefs. They are less frequent. They are also hard to treat, with antipsychotic medicines working maybe about half the time — in those who can actually be convinced to take them. Read more on Screening For Delusions…
Maybe if it’s “all in your head,” it’s in your brain chemistry
We women have spent so long and worked so hard for equality in rights, in education, and at work, that it may actually be hard to talk about how we are different.
The World Health Organization has been working on this, and knows a lot about what is going on. Illnesses of the mind, problems with thinking and feeling and living, are only identified by doctors less than half the time. Three out of five people who have this kind of problem wait less than a year before seeing a doctor. This is true of both sexes. Read more on Mental Health In Women…
The person who walks into a psychiatrist’s office looking for help is not necessarily the patient.
Often, they are simply the family of the patient.
Sometimes, they themselves have something – possibly a disorder, but maybe just an emotional or attitude problem — that would seem somehow lesser in magnitude than the psychiatric diagnosis the person who is or should be the patient has actually got. Read more on Families Often Indicate Psychiatric Problems…
I remember a supervisor from the past whom I never thought had the right personality to be a psychiatrist. I mean, he was a little angry and domineering for my taste. But heck — I gave him a “bye” since he worked in a prison context.
I was never attacked by a prison patient through my tours-of-duty through four (all-male) California state penal institutions. I had a couple who ended up on their knees, crying, stroking my hands, or even asking permission to kiss me (denied, of course).
They said I was “nice” to them. I guess I treated them like human beings — something pitifully lacking in the prison system where everything seems oppressive and depersonalizing. Read more on Assaults On Psychiatrists…
There are rich stories of human suffering all around us couched in terms of financial crisis – stories we encounter in our news media, in the streets and even in our own families.
Nevertheless things are getting worse all the time and I have been in the middle of the battle on the same losing side as the mental health patients.
I have been in the middle of mass human suffering which nobody seems to have the power to alleviate. For many years, as the situation worsens, I have done what I could. I have been on every front of the battle known to me and accessible to me – in community mental health centers, the VA, state prisons and private, for-profit, insurance-driven treatment centers. Read more on The Cost Of Not Caring…
It gets pretty evident pretty fast, to any psychiatrist who deals with the general public, that depression is daily bread. I mean, with current estimates at 19 million patients per year coming down with a depression — even with less than one half of them seeking treatment — it is a pretty sure bet that depressed people are common.
This in no way diminishes the anguish I have seen in patients having that disease. The anguish is real and dramatic.
I remember one of my earlier newspaper columns written for the Wichita Eagle-Beacon — the largest daily newspaper in Kansas — asking this simple question:
Why — when someone broke their leg — a salt-of-the-earth next-door neighbor would never fail to bake a pie. But when someone had a depression, nobody would bake anything.
The depressed person was basically treated like someone with a contagious disease. Read more on Why Some Get Depressed And Some Do Not…