Saturday, January 21, 2012

Follow Up on Sam and Our Survey

Remember Sam, the student who applied for a competitive internship and didn't know whether to check yes or no for the question about whether he has a psychiatric disorder?  If you forgot the discussion, you can read it here:

I thought I would let you know that Sam checked yes on the box that asked if he had a psychiatric disorder.  I thought I would also let you know that Sam was chosen for the competitive internship.  
Last week we asked readers who have been certified to psychiatric units if they would want to be involuntarily hospitalized again if they became ill and imminently dangerous again.  63 responses, one person hit submit without answering, and here is the final tally:

Summary See complete responses
If you became psychiatrically ill again and presented an imminent danger to yourself or others, would you want to be involuntarily hospitalized again?


Anonymous said...

Just have to comment - a bit of minor anxiety really hardly calls for qualification as a psychiatric disorder. A bit of anxiety is often viewed as beneficial in high level execs. An edge, if you will. I really hope that readers reading this do not think it wise to disclose real psychiatric disorder.

Sorry, but it just doesn't count. If he was disclosing a genuine psychiatric disorder, one that really impairs rather then just a twitchy notice here or there, it's really not as clear cut as far as being selected, etc.

I know Dinah will jump all over this. Whatever....

Anonymous said...

I am glad that Dinah's kid, or friend's kid got into the program.

Dinah said...

I believe the question was a yes/no radio button with no place to elaborate the details.

I am probably in the camp that a) it's none of their business and that it's wrong to ask about psychiatric disorders in this waY: a question should have asked if the applicant had any conditions (medical/psych or otherwise) that would require accommodation, and b) the spirit of the question is about disability/accommodation/risk.

Sam is a top student at a top university with many interests and accomplishments. My guess is that those things outweighed the "Do you have any mental health problems?" (or whatever the wording was) question. I don't think many institutions would turn Kaye Jamison away because she has bipolar disorder.

I think my answer qualifies as a "Yes, and...."

Anonymous said...

They might turn away Kaye Jamison. What has she done to redeem her good name and atone for having bipolar?
As for Kay jamison, no most places would not turn her away.

Anonymous said...

1st Anon-at which point does an acorn become a tree? And how impairing does an emotional problem have to be before the sufferer is deemed worthy of help and treatment? The DSM doesn't recognize it (yet), but psych problems lie on a continuum.

Last Anon-Obviously DInah meant Kay Jamison. Do you really have nothing better to do with your life than mock people who make simple typing errors?

Anonymous said...

Going forward, I will focus on complex typing errors.

T said...

Oh, I don't know. Anxiety disorder NOS is an entirely different fish then Major Depressive Disorder, Severe, Recurrent.

The DSM wasn't at all in question here. In question was a competitive internship, not to mention the description of Sam as someone very minorly impaired who is able to function at a very high level regardless of his minor, sporadic, feelings of anxiety. Doesn't mean that he doesn't deserve treatment, just means that his result is not typical of someone who recorded, say, major depressive disorder. or bipolar disorder. or CERTAINLY any of the psychotic disorders. And a person who might think otherwise from Dinah's post is setting himself up for disaster.

rob lindeman said...

I'll paraphrase what I said in the original post: They never should have asked and Sam shouldn't have answered.

wv = deryne; a dull opiate dumped to the drains while waiting for decisions on internship applications

Anonymous said...

I agree that they should not have asked. I think it's quite possible that they didn't notice he checked yes to that question.

Anonymous said...

Life is strange.We do not ask our shrinks about their mental health, anxiety disorders etc yet we then go on to entrust them with our our secrets, we become so vulnerable to these people who may be quite screwed up themselves. So why should Sam or anyone else have to disclose a bloody thing?Anyway, this is an old post, its all bee done before.

Anon8 said...

Rob and anonymous are right. Agreed that they shouldn't ask, and no one should have to disclose.

But that's a theoretical world that doesn't exist. I seem to recall a point being that disclosing could result in prejudice, at best. It concerns me greatly that in this post, Dinah implies that disclosing mental illness does not have negative results. That is simply not reality. Sam's illness is vague and minor and not impairing at all, in her initial own words. That is not the same as disclosing mental illness that is incapacitating at times. Again, Rob and last anon are completely right - the question should not be asked. But given that it is, I really hope readers are not fooled by Dinah's rose-colored absurdity of an implication that disclosing will not matter negatively at all.

letsgetstinko said...


Dinah does not think the way that you did. This follow up about a kid with the psychiatric equivalent of post nasal drip was tossed out together with the results of a poll asking if people who have been incarcerated for mental illness would choose to be again. Sensitivity is not the order of the day.

Dinah said...

Rob, I agree with you on both counts. I was told the computer form wouldn't let Sam submit without checking a box and he really wanted the internship. I was also told the story after the fact and my input was not solicited.

Anon who is glad the kid got into the program: thank you. Nice to have a friendly commenter.

Anon who pointed out that I spelled Kay Jamison's name wrong, thank you, I am not a terribly good speller and when I'm in a hurry, I forget to check on such things. I think Kay will forgive me, she has always been very gracious to me.

Anon8: I reported what I was told. "Rose colored?" Did you want me to either not follow up and let readers know, or change the results? I did think it was nice that checking the 'yes' box didn't undo all the hard work the kid does and become one more example of discrimination against people who check yes in those boxes. I thought it was hopeful, but I do agree that it may used against people and either the wonders of Sam compensated, the committee didn't notice the box was checked (as another anon said) or the committee was enlightened, or had members with their own issues!

letsgetstinko: I wanted to ask if it was okay to put up the followup and happened to see Sam's relative the day before I went to do the follow up of the survey and figured they both constituted 'follow=up.' Honestly, it did not occur to me that people would read that as insensitive. Would it have been better to have put up two separate posts? I could have done that.

I am feeling like I can do no right by our readers lately.

Anonymous said...

For every pretend Sam who got in there is another Sam who did not get in so the follow up on that is meaningless to your readers who do not know or care about Sam. And a kid making it into some internship which really was only checking to be sure he did not have two heads (apologies to two headed people) is not at all as serious a topic as incarceration.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Tina and Angelina. I like how you your names rhyme.

Sunny CA said...

"I am feeling like I can do no right by our readers lately."

When I read the whole body of responses I see a fairly low percentage that would give the impression you "can do no right"

I used to get impatient waiting for a car in front of me to start to move when a red light would turn green. I started timing typical time to leave a red light by counting one-thousand one, one thousand-two, and I realized that many cars take 6 seconds to put their foot to the accelerator and move forward once a signal goes green. This knowledge allowed me to maintain my equanimity while waiting. I wonder if you could develop a similar attitude towards your blog responders? Why not start counting the actual percentage of offensive-to-you replies you see, then figure out what that percentage is. Maybe it is 5% or 10% or 15%. Then you could have the expectation that that percentage of responses will be offensive, and it might help prepare you for encountering them. Maybe you would feel better if you delete some posts, too. I don't think you will stop getting posts you dislike, but I think anticipating they will come might make it easier.

Anonymous said...

"Life is strange.We do not ask our shrinks about their mental health, anxiety disorders etc yet we then go on to entrust them with our our secrets, we become so vulnerable to these people who may be quite screwed up themselves. So why should Sam or anyone else have to disclose a bloody thing? Anyway, this is an old post, its all bee done before."

I agree. You or Sam shouldn't have to disclose anything to us. If that's what you choose (to not use our services) then I suggest not presenting to an emergency department with a psychiatric complaint. It's that simple.

Anonymous said...

Dinah, I think you are missing the point that the various anons are trying to make. many parents are in denial about their "fault" in the breakdown of a parent-child relationship. No relationship breaks down for no reason. Not all parents are mature enough to accept the pan and hurt that they have caused their children.

it worries me that you can so "objectively" say that the parents that you deal with are in another category. The fact is they are telling your their version of events and not necessarily the true reality of the situation.

A "conscious parent" would not deny any wrongdoing because we all know that all parents "unintentionally" hurt their children on some level.

What makes a relationship with a parent unbearable is if there is no taking of responsiblity or significant steps to change the offending behaviour.

The fact that you fail to see this makes me question whether or not you are guilty of it yourself.