“…a working mother who is competent and controlled at her job but explodes at home when small things go wrong or a computer programmer who is the ultimate loner, sitting hunched over his terminal night and day.
One woman could never see long projects through to their end. Instead of setting reasonable goals and meeting them, she would jump into a project with both feet only to find her initial energy and enthusiasm fading before she completed it when a new project captured her attention…”
You may have ‘shadow syndrome,’ a mild form of a more severe mental disorder. The DeputyHeadmistress first read an article about this sometime back in the late ’90s, probably ’97, when the book on shadow syndrome was published. She read that people who start projects but do not finish them, people who keep their desks messy and have trouble finding things sometimes, people who dive into projects but seldom complete them probably are mentally ill. She showed it to the Headmaster, who only raised his eyebrows and said that he’d always said the DHM was crazy for marrying him, and was there a slot for that form of disorder.
The DHM said that no, she wasn’t crazy for marrying him, she was only crazy about him, and she did not think she needed to take a pill for that. The DHM carefully cut out the article and filed it, although she’s never been sure exactly where. She continued her disorganized, messy, but creative life, suspecting that eventually, every personality type will have its corresponding psychological label and treatment.
A few months later, her suspicions were confirmed when she read about the disability of being shy. Yes, being shy is often a hindrance, but so is being extroverted at times. So, the DHM thought to herself, “Aha. We are on to something here.” But the DHM was late to the party. Freud, of course, had already said that nobody is normal.
In the early 1900s John Dewey opined that independence could be a form of insanity, and that the purpose of school was to socialize children into dependence. (Democracy and Education, chapter four)”
IN 1973 a psychiatrist publicly admitted that he believed: “Every child in America entering school at the age of five is mentally ill because he comes to school with certain allegiances to our founding fathers, toward our elected officials, toward his parents, toward a belief in a
supernatural being, and toward the sovereignty of this nation as a separate entity. It’s up to you as teachers to make all these sick children well by creating the international child of the future.” (Harvard psychiatrist Chester M. Pierce, speaking as an expert in public education at the 1973 International Education Seminar)
In the ’90s the DHM had opportunity to learn about the Parents As Teachers program in Missouri (PAT is in other states, too, although sometimes under a different name). Although it says ‘parents as teachers’ it is really another program whereby the local government undertakes to gently interfere with the parent child relationship. The people who are to work with the parents are called ‘parent facilitators.’ Parent Facilitators are given a form with a list of criteria which the Facilitator is supposed to check off indicating the child’s needs for services. There is no place for ‘normal.’ The final checklist item is ‘other,’ which the DHM’s source told her is referred to in private meetings as “that wonderful catch-all.”
By February of 2000, the WaPo reporting on a study published in JAMA, said that “as many as 1.5 per cent of children 2 to 4 years old were receiving stimulants, antidepressants or antipsychotic drugs – a group that includes “major tranquillizers” such as thorazine” (stimulants include drugs like Ritalin, tranquillisers include drugs like Prozac).
And yesterday I read these two articles:
Mental Illness is the new Normal
According to a new government-sponsored survey, most Americans qualify for a psychiatric diagnosis at some point in their lives. Trying to explain how so many of us became mentally ill, The New York Times offered a history lesson that reminded me of an old Saturday Night Live sketch.
The SNL sketch is funny (I think I remember this one), but the subject is not. Some of us are old enough to remember when political dissidents were diagnosed as ‘mentally ill’ and imprisoned in mental institutions in the old USSR.
For some time now, guilt and sin have been mental illnesses, and instead of repentance and absolution, we have pills and therapy. I prefer forgiveness.
Nation of Victims is a review of Tana Dineen’s book Manufacturing Victims: What the Psychology Industry is Doing to People
Somehow, it is now the norm that after every school shooting, car crash or airline disaster, psychologists are brought in who, Moses-like, are expected to lead survivors of tragedy, or even tragedy’s witnesses, back to the promised land of “wellness.” Somehow western man has come to believe that a stranger with a few initials behind his or her name is a necessary aide if a witness to either violence or death is ever to be healed.
There’s simple explanation for why mental illness in this society is supposedly on the increase. It need not be deliberate, but it is due to a natural tendency to do what benefits us most without even consciously making that choice. It is the same explanation for why Teacher’s Unions (though not so much teachers) are agitating for schools which have birth to graduation care. It is why social workers have tended to keep kids in foster care longer than they need to be there (and sometimes when they have never needed to be there at all). It’s about job creation.
“Indeed, the diagnoses and prescriptions offered by psychologists largely amount to little more that job creation, she argues. Therapists need patients, so they create disorders with which to label prospective customers. Eventually, everybody can be described as abnormal and in need of treatment.”
Psychotherapy has political consequences. Individuals freed from moral responsibility are no longer citizens, but patients or victims who need someone else to manage their lives. As Ms. Dineen writes: “The psychology industry considers and treats people as children who, regardless of age, experience or status, must be protected, guided, sheltered and disciplined.” But by smothering individual responsibility for the sake of self-esteem, psychotherapy creates a depoliticized society of contented creatures who need only to be organized and pacified.
And that is a form of tyranny. It may produce a lifestyle that looks and feels nicer than life under the governments of North Korea or mainland China. But it is no less tyrannical. Ms. Dineen’s book exposes the threat to freedom posed by all those trauma counsellors rushing to rescue modern man’s poor, shivering psyche.
Oh Brave New World- how soon will we all be taking Soma?
(The JAMA report is here, authorization required.
I blogged about this previously here.