Are you shy? Maybe you're mentally ill

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    Sep 21, 2007 12:20 PM GMT
    There have been quite a few discussions here about shyness and introversion. This morning's NY Times includes a great opinion piece on so-called "social anxiety disorder," now the third-most-diagnosed mental illness in America.

    It's an example of the way psychiatry and psychology can turn normal behavior into a (profitable) pathology. The field has a long history of declaring behavior that doesn't comply strictly with social standards as illness.

    The most obvious is homosexuality, but there are plenty of other examples, like (misogynistic) "hysteria" among women, over-diagnosed ADD and ADHD, etc. One of my favorites was an official diagnostic category of mental illness for slaves who ran away from their masters. Apparently you had to be insane to object to being a slave. Ten years ago, teenagers who rebelled against their parents were being hospitalized in droves. And then there was the epidemic of recovered memory of sexual abuse (much of which turned out never to have happened).

    Here's the link for the NY Times piece. It's well worth reading, especially if shyness is an issue for you:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/21/opinion/21lane.html?ref=opinion

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    Sep 21, 2007 12:36 PM GMT
    Thanks for the article. I am currently re-reading Foucault's History of Sexuality and boy can we talk about using lables. It is extremly upsetting that to this day we are still labeling that which we are afraid of or dont understand as sickness or disease or something that must be fixed. yet crack -whore mothers , abusive parents and power hungry people walk around us like nothing is wrong,cause they are normal.
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    Sep 21, 2007 12:56 PM GMT
    It all begins with Foucault. An even sharper ongoing critique is offered by Thomas Szasz. Unfortunately, he has become lionized by the loonies with the Church of Scientology, whose critique of psychiatry is absurdly absolutist.

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    Sep 21, 2007 1:12 PM GMT
    I love the statistic that circa 50% of grad students are shy or introverted.

    The desire to become a grad student is a disorder in of itself!
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    Sep 21, 2007 1:22 PM GMT
    LOL! Isn't that the damn truth?
  • Salubrious

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    Sep 21, 2007 1:28 PM GMT
    Psh, the crazy ones have more fun anyways.
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    Sep 21, 2007 2:04 PM GMT
    You're in denial, Salubrious
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    Sep 21, 2007 2:26 PM GMT
    I'm too shy to click that link. They might see my IP address.
  • iHavok

    Posts: 1477

    Sep 21, 2007 2:36 PM GMT
    I'm just waiting for them to name my condition...

    Symptoms?
    I generally feel happy and well adjusted. I sleep well at night, I work out and try to eat healthily, and my poop is regular.
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    Sep 21, 2007 2:44 PM GMT
    Vive le panopticon!!!!


    Yikes, another Foucauldian.

    Actually the question of art and depression was raised in depth in Peter Kramer's book, "Listening to Prozac." He makes the point that much of what we now immediately pathologize as depression was once called "melancholia" and was considered a personality style. (It's probably close to what we call dysthymia -- low grade, chronic depression -- now.)

    The question is whether to deny someone a medication that may make life more pleasant even though it means a loss of a artistic sensibility. Kramer concludes that it would be unethical to deny the medication.

    Still, the cultural underpinings of the situation deserve scrutiny. It's clear that SSRI drugs like Prozac, which are energizing, help people comply with our emphasis on productivity, extroversion, etc. They just keep giving the failure to be a smooth cog in the capitalist wheel a new name.
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    Sep 21, 2007 2:47 PM GMT
    "I'm too shy to click that link. They might see my IP address."

    I wouldn't worry. It's still illegal for the staff at Bellevue's psychiatric center to disclose patient names.
  • iHavok

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    Sep 21, 2007 2:48 PM GMT
    "The Traveler" and "The Dark River" by John Twelve Hawks uses Foucault's concepts in an interesting SciFi setting.
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    Sep 21, 2007 2:50 PM GMT
    "I generally feel happy and well adjusted. I sleep well at night, I work out and try to eat healthily, and my poop is regular.'

    Mania
    Narcolepsy
    Body dysmorphic disorder
    Anal fixation
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    Sep 21, 2007 2:50 PM GMT
    I am no longer housed at Bellevue. I'm staying at the posh "Institute for the Very Very Nervous" under the treatment of Dr. Papshmear.
  • iHavok

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    Sep 21, 2007 2:55 PM GMT
    that's better than I was expecting OW...i was waiting for denial...LOL
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    Sep 21, 2007 2:55 PM GMT
    LOL! You just made me laugh embarassingly loudly at Starbucks. People are looking at one another nervously.
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    Sep 21, 2007 2:57 PM GMT
    that's better than I was expecting OW...i was waiting for denial...LOL

    I started to say that, but "denial" is really a pop-psychological term for various unconscious defense mechanisms. Let's just say you are very messed up and need help urgently, mkay?
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    Sep 21, 2007 2:57 PM GMT
    obscenewishTen years ago, teenagers who rebelled against their parents were being hospitalized in droves.


    well apparently the parents didn't have the right treatment .. here is a from a t-shirt of my favorite church

    http://www.cafepress.com/landoverbaptist.13594593


    On another note, I wonder if the ADD thing is always over diagnosed. Mine was under diagnosed. I was diagnosed back in the 60's as a child but it was kind of forgotten until I had problems in college after which I was rediagnosed. College maybe would have been easier for me if I understood the problem earlier.
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    Sep 21, 2007 2:58 PM GMT
    I was a "slow to warm up child" and never really grew out of it.

    www.childsday.com/ParentingExchange/PE2004-09.pdf
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    Sep 21, 2007 3:02 PM GMT
    If you're at Starbucks, you should be embarrassed, or locked up in an insane asylum. There's gotta be a pill for this.
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    Sep 21, 2007 3:04 PM GMT
    A&F (love your department store initials): I love Landover.

    I didn't mean to suggest that ADD is nonexistent; it certainly is not. I'm pretty high on that scale myself and I doubt I would have gotten through my doctoral dissertation without some aid in that respect.

    But children bored in school or with family-related behavioral problems are being medicated into compliance too often. I was terminally bored in school myself and acted out a lot until I got enrolled in the right program. (No, McGay, not the Atlanta School of Charm and Tap Dancing.)
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    Sep 21, 2007 3:04 PM GMT
    ruck_uswas a "slow to warm up child" and never really grew out of it.

    If you need warming up, I volunteer.
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    Sep 21, 2007 3:05 PM GMT
    "If you're at Starbucks, you should be embarrassed, or locked up in an insane asylum. There's gotta be a pill for this."

    Yeah, it's pathetic. I won't even drink their coffee, it's so horrible. But I know lots of people here. You know -- it's Floyd's Barbershop for middle-aged gay men.
  • iHavok

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    Sep 21, 2007 3:07 PM GMT
    LOL That M'Kay brought to mind the Penelope video Can_duathlete was posting last nite in Chat. LOL...

    I'm made of gingerbread...okay and when I was born I was a cartoon...ok....
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    Sep 21, 2007 3:07 PM GMT
    "
    If you need warming up, I volunteer."


    He's wearing Under Armour. You'll be quickly, um, drained of heat.