“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.
I had a really depressed patient. She had just had one leg amputated below the knee because of advanced diabetes. Of course, I prescribed some antidepressants, and made sure the medical stuff (medical causes of diabetes) had been eliminated. I asked her why she couldn’t dance. “I can’t walk and you want me to dance?” she asked, as if holding back tears.
He was just 18. He had been followed by child psychiatry with a diagnosis of depression. He had long refused to take any pills. As far as this poor, agricultural county was concerned, I was just seeing him so I could bill MediCal and fatten up the county coffers. The previous psychiatrists had simply noted he was depressed, was not suicidal, and refused any participation in his own treatment.
He was a young man of few words, with a common Hispanic name. He sat there and twirled one of his lush curls. It became pretty obvious he wasn’t going to give me a complete history. He said he would never take pills, not ever. To his credit, he did say I could talk to his mother, if I wanted to, but he had to be in the room and hear what she said. Someone brought her to me, from the waiting room. She spoke only Spanish; fine with me. I learned my Spanish mostly from my patients, who in that time and place could rarely communicate well in either Spanish or English. His mother was charming, really grateful that I wanted to talk to her. She kept complimenting my clothes and elegance. I told her it was all thrift shop. I doubt she believed me. Read more on Diagnosis From The Guts…
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…
Only 16% of all murder victims are members of the defendant’s family?
That’s according to the PDF file that pops open (or opens in your browser) when you click this link – and you must have the free Adobe Acrobat reader to see it. (Fortunately, it is included with most computers nowadays).
Actually, I am surprised to see the number is so small.
I am a little bit heartened to learn that only 20% are strangers.
This leaves 64 % that are friends and acquaintances. Read more on Your Family Really Can Kill You…
This story found me in the headlines: “Colts’ Jim Irsay discusses addiction.” I had never heard of and would not have been able to cite the name of the owner of the Baltimore Colts. I certainly am no fan of professional football. I have reviewed recent problems in other posts. It seems to me that football — seemingly more than other sports — breaks brains, heads, bones and lives and may foster drug addiction to boot. Read more on Baltimore Colts Owner Jim Irsay – Too Rich To Need Help?…
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…