I always find APA a bit overwhelming. There's so much going on at once, so many people to catch up with. Invariably all the stuff I want to go happens at the same time and invariably it's the same stuff everyone else wants to go to so I end up sitting on the floor in the backs of rooms-- I can't find who or what I'm looking for, and I stay out late every night and eat and drink more than I normally do. I always find it fun to give a presentation or two, but even if I'm only talking for a few minutes, there's something very draining about public speaking. Monday morning I ended up in the hotel gym and by late afternoon, I thought maybe I'd go home at lunch on Tuesday.
Fortunately, I did remember that I was presenting on a panel on Tuesday afternoon, so I didn't leave until after our workshop! We did a four-hour seminar on Sunday morning (Thank You to those who came out at 8 AM to hear us!), went straight to a book signing, and then Tuesday we did a new media workshop with Steve from Thought Broadcast and Dr. Bob. It was a lot of fun and it was great to meet some or our blog commenters, including William, Synergysta, and Tigermom! My one regret was that I didn't go to see Dianne Wiest, the actress who plays the psychiatrist on In Treatment.
The protesters were their own story. On Saturday, there were people with signs that said things like "Human Emotions aren't Diseases." I tweeted out: "Is it a problem that I agree with most of the protesters?" From what I could tell, they were calm and pleasant. On Sunday, the crew was more aggressive. They were chanting, "Stop Drugging and Shocking Our Children." As we walked through this line of chanting protesters, thrusting pamphlets at us, one man followed us screaming. My friend said she felt like she was walking into an abortion clinic. On Monday I didn't see any protesters, but there was a giant jumbo-tron set up blaring out information about the DSM, interviews with people saying it wasn't scientific. I only watched for a few moments, but I just thought, "yup." The sign about the Psychiatry drugging our troops caught my attention because we hear so much in psychiatry about how their aren't enough psychiatrists to treat the troops and especially the returning vets. While the suicide rates and use of psychotropics have both risen, their is nothing about the sign that indicates that the soldiers taking the medicines are the ones committing suicide, and I wondered how the troops feel about protesters picketing on their behalf.
Some pics: The protesters of course. One of Clink's slides as she explains "What is Twitter," the Hopkins Press sign from our booksigning (The duck is bigger than ever!), Dr. Steven Hyman, former director of NIMH, giving a very thoughtful talk on the pros and cons of the DSM and his thoughts about the DSM-V.