Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Goodbye, Shrink Rap

When Clinkshrink, Roy, and I started Shrink Rap in April of 2006, I had no idea of the places that blogging would lead me.  We started blogging, and I became a tad obsessed.  We all loved the blog, the people we met, and the stimulating discussions and interactions we had with people from all over the world about mental health issues.  My thoughts were constantly bombarded with "I have to write a blog post about that!" And write, I did.

ClinkShrink was a little more hesitant.  "You're going to get me fired!"she insisted.  Roy worried, too, and in fact, he called himself Deep Cover Roy and swore us to secrecy about his identity.  

We blogged and we blogged.  Then Roy insisted we needed a podcast, and 70 episodes of My Three Shrinks went up on iTunes (they are still there).  There was chili and beer and guests who came to be interviewed at our dining room tables.  

One night, I was at a psychiatric society dinner, and Roy proudly told someone sitting at our table, "I have a blog!"  His secret was out.  ClinkShrink decided that it couldn't really be a secret when we were presenting at the American Psychiatric Society's annual meeting.  No one got fired.

We wrote two books, Shrink Rap: Three Psychiatrists Explain Their Work, and Committed: The Battle Over Involuntary Psychiatric Care, winner of the APA's Carol Davis ethics award this year. We were on national and local radio, we've been grand rounds and CME speakers for psychiatric societies around the country, and we've given a course on how to blog, podcast and write books.  As a direct result of Shrink Rap, we've become columnists for Clinical Psychiatry News and members of their editorial board.  We've blogged on Psychology Today, and you know, it's all been good.

The writing has been wonderful, but the people have been the absolute best. We met people who became our real life friends, and we shared in the virtual lives of so many wonderful people, both mental health professionals and tremendous human beings who happened to suffer from psychiatric disorders.

As the years passed, Anne (aka Clink) became busy with so many other projects, and with running the forensic fellowship program for the University of Maryland.  Steve (Roy) has changed lives a number of times and now works for SAMHSA.  He lost his password to the blog, and while we still get together for crabcakes at Koko's Pub or to hang out in one of our backyards,  I've been the only one who has posted on Shrink Rap for quite a long time now.  Still, we hold on to our identities as Shrink Rappers, and my friends don't know it yet, but I've reserved us three adjacent rooms  (entry set for May, 2053) at a very nice nursing home where they'll let Roy bring his homemade sangria. 

I've held on to Shrink Rap.  For the longest time it was my forum to express my frustrations with the bureaucracy of medicine, with the inconsistencies and unfairness of a constantly changing world that seemed to create mindless hurdles for both psychiatrists and patients.  Sometimes I shared the fiction I wrote, other times I just shared whatever I was thinking about, psychiatry or not.   And Shrink Rap opened my mind to all sorts of other viewpoints about psychiatric issues.  It became a gateway to discussing controversies and it was a reason to keep current with  the mental health advocacy world.  My relationship with blogger Pete Earley blossomed into a sweet friendship.  TigerMom also remains a friend and my Philly resource.  And just last night, Anne and I went to the movies with our beloved (and now retired) book editor, Jackie Wehmueller.  There are so many more people who have touched my life in such meaningful ways that I can't even begin to create a list. And there were the selfless people I met here who gave so much of their stories so we could write Committed, and the many other people who contributed to all we learned about the good and bad of involuntary treatments. 

Over the last couple of years, I've also been spread a bit thinner, and I've had more places to express my thoughts.  Instead of feeling like I couldn't wait to get home to write a Shrink Rap post, it's become something I tell myself I should do once a month or so.   When I do post, the comment section remains quiet, and it was probably time to say good bye long ago. 

Psychiatry can be an isolating career.  My career has not been isolated or lonely and the connection that came with Shrink Rap has truly been a gift. It's been a fabulous experience, and to all our friends and adversaries, colleagues, advocates, commenters, readers, and all the amazing souls I've been so blessed to share this wonderful journey with, I can't thank you enough. 
Please note that there are over 2200 posts on Shrink Rap about psychiatry in all shapes and sizes.  They will remain available and you can use the search box to find our musings on any topic.