Monday, November 13, 2006

Shrinks on The Big Screen

[posted by dinah]

Last week, I saw Martin Scorsese’s The Departed. It was in every respect an excellent, riveting movie where the action never paused and 150 minutes simply flew. Excellent in every respect, that is, but that I left the theatre unsettled by the film portrayal of yet another disturbed psychiatrist.

Vera Farmiga plays the smoldering Dr. Madolyn Madden (why aren’t psychiatrists ever named Dr. Sanity?) who works for the state of Massachusetts treating traumatized police officers. She quickly becomes involved with good-guy/really bad-guy Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) after a chance elevator meeting where sparks instantly flew. She then sees Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) the bad-guy/really good-guy as her patient in psychotherapy. In their discussions about truth and deception, Billy quickly turns the tables and manages to unnerve Madolyn, after which he demands Valium. She chases him down to give him a prescription, hands it to him saying she’s referring his case to another clinician, and moments thereafter ends up in bed with him which she deems fine because he isn’t her patient. Oy. Here we go again.

Why is it that the shrink is always either part of the problem—think of Dressed to Kill where the cross-dressed psychiatrist kills his patients or Silence of the Lambs where Dr. Lechter doesn’t just kill them, he sautĂ©s and eats them as well—or consumed with problems of her own? Even The Soprano’s Jennifer Melfi (Lorraine Bracco) who gets my vote for conducting the media’s most realistic portrayal of psychotherapy, is kind of screwed up. She does okay inside the consulting room, but after hours, her marriage has failed, her son is a mess, she confesses to her own psychiatrist that she drinks to deal with all the stress.

But, wait, you say, what about Judd Hirsch in Ordinary People? He played a good psychiatrist, he helped the kid. He was everyone’s ideal doctor, available at 3 AM for therapeutic breakthroughs, engaged and engaging, insightful, and even kind of normal—a role model for psychiatrists every where. Can I point out that Ordinary People, still sited and remembered for the Judd Hirsch portrayal, was released in 1980, nearly twenty-seven years ago?

So does it matter? Do these media images of psychiatrists as disturbed, if not dangerous, individuals who sleep with, kill, and even eat their patients because of their own psychopathology influence the real man’s decision about whether to seek help when his distress gets to be too much? Does it add to the stigma that still permeates the world of mental illness? Or is it all simply entertainment, obviously distorted and exaggerated to meet the needs of the big screen?

Who knows? I believe it leaves both psychiatrists and psychiatric patients a bit ill at ease. I hope, however, that the benefits of psychiatric care speak for themselves. Psychiatric treatments change people’s lives, usually for the better, even when administered by morally conscious, ordinary psychiatrists. Unfortunately, that’s not entertainment.

30 comments:

Fat Doctor said...

Dinah, I just bought Monday at the Charm. It should arrive in five to seven business days. I'll have you know that I don't read much, so this is a huuuuuuuuge deal for me. I must heart you muchly to buy your book! I may give it a little review over at my site when I've finished it.

By the way, I, too, have noticed that shrinks in movies are always crazy. Do you think that's the way people want to see them? Like people want to see all surgeons as pretty people like on Gray's Anatomy? Hmmm...

ClinkShrink said...

OK, here's one other normal media psychiatrist:

On the old TV series Oz there was a woman character who was a normal mental health professional. They couldn't seem to decide if she was a psychologist or a psychiatrist (they referred to her as a psychologist, but she also made med recommendations), but she was also a nun. Go figure. Anyway, she didn't kill, eat or sleep with any of her patients.

Maybe that's why the series got cancelled.

Congrats on the book sale.

Dinah said...

Wow, Fat Doctor's going to read Monday At The Charm! Please be forewarned that the language is a bit, ummm, graphic... and the mental health professionals are a bit...disturbed? I hope you enjoy, FD!

Midwife with a Knife said...

Maybe it's just that ordinary people aren't that interesting. How exciting is it to watch a movie about someone who chats with people all day long and doesn't sleep with or eat their patients? A movie like that would require real character development to be interesting, and sometimes I think that character development as entertainment went out of style a long time ago.

Sarebear said...

You know, I felt kinda silly about this when I entered therapy, but I had NO Idea of what to expect beyond what I had seen/read in the media.

Scary, I know, but since I'm frightened of the unknown, I tend to cast around almost frantically in my mind for a framework of some previous thing to apply to the situation, or a "script" (not like a movie script, but you know the psychological term) to help me out.

I had no clue, and I wish the therapy process had been discussed; it wasn't until about 6 months into it, when I got and read the book, In Session, by Deborah Lott, that I felt like I was empowered, as the therapee (made up my own word again, lol), and realized I didn't just have to passively sit there, rambling on and responding to questions.

I got SO MUCH MORE out of that book than it might seem there is, and one needs to get halfway through it, before it starts pulling together and/or applying stuff she lays out in the first half, before stuff really started clicking! I mean it opened my eyes, it didn't "make" me think or feel any particular method of therapy or whatnot was the "one" for me, but it helped me SO much open my eyes to the therapeutic relationship being something that was almost like a, well, it's hard to describe, but something that needs addressing and looked at and talked about whenever I feel various things about it, and other things.

Also, I am SO grateful I have a therapist who is completely open to discussing and working the therapeutic relationship, especially any issues or problems I might be having with him, and we can discuss them and really work it in a way that leads to growth for me. It and he are cool in that way.

Anyway, absent any experience with therapy, the media, sadly, is where people, consciously or, more likely, subconsciously, form their ideas about it.

There was a really positive portrayal in the last coupla months I saw, of a mental health professional, that when I remember it (if? lol) I'll mention it here.

Cause YEAH they seem to show many messed-up ones and stuff.

As far as shrinks on the little screen, I'm completely torn on Help Me Help You. Yeah, I laugh, but some of it I feel is genuinely harmlessly funny, and some, that I don't laugh at, I feel might be stereotyping or stigmatizing; then again, the behaviors they show really are problems for people out there . . .

I wondered if they'd show actual growth and change in any of the people, and they did, in Inger, so I was happy to see that, and that it wasn't just a she's a butt for jokes all the time kind of thing, and occasionally the therapist (iatrist? or is he an ologist?) has a real moment, although his ego is something else.

Actually, the funniest part, I find, is the group therapy for group therapists, when there all in there together. Since that's not "me" or "like me" or ever "potentially me" then I guess that makes it easier for me to laugh, altho now I'm thinking maybe that's not so great, either (then again, this is sitcom, not theater, lol).

Still, as therapy and mental illness/other problems in that arena are portrayed, even a sitcom, especially a sitcom I guess, can increase or decrease stigma, or both, or none, at various times I guess.

Anyway! I'm drawn to the show, because I guess I want to see a professional caring about his patients (one wonders about this one, though . . .), and helping them, and see them improve. And see therapy portrayed, because I find it really interesting.

Anyway. I'm torn on that show, because I think they've made some not so good choices, but I also see where they seem to have treated some things with the right edge of humor mixed w/being sensitive to the issue.

SEE? Here I go being of two completely opposed opinions about something, again. I'm like that in many areas. No wonder I end up tug of warring inside and just sitting on the couch or laying in bed all day, lol.

That's funny, fat doctor (if you're still reading!) I've been intending on buying that lately, too.

I can accept graphic language if it isn't just extraneous, if it fits the context, situation, character, etc. Altho I appreciate your forewarning of it, too.

jw said...

Is this not an example of Campbell's "Power of Myth?" The public believe you must be a bit nuts to deal with mental illness, so the movies & TV present psychiatrists as a bit nuts!

Plus, some of the 'studies' apparently done by mental health professionals have as much to do with reality as road kill does with dinner; the public at some level know this, which reinforces the myth.

Sarebear said...

Hey, JW, Dr. Helen recently did a post about Dr. Phil's misandry. When I read it, I thought of you! And was good to see her pointing out the misandry and the problem that it is and stuff.

Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled thread.

hiding from the Org said...

Billy Crystal played a fairly normal psychiatrist in Analyze This, who attempted to extricate himself from the whole mob-guy-at-my-wedding thing. Okay, he went a bit far, pretending to be a consigliari at the big mob-vs-mob meeting, but what do you expect for a comedy?

Bob Newhart, of course, played an excellent psychologist in that old show from the '60s.

So, Dinah, you fell prey to following in the same mold by writing about disturbed mental health professionals?! WTF?

Okay, here's what I think. You know how Hollywood has a heavy concentration of Scientologists (see Scientollywood for examples and factnet.org for the history around Hubbard's marketing decision to recruit show biz people and make it the "in" thing to do). Well, I think they have influenced movie people into portraying psychiatrists, particularly, as oversexed, crazed, deviant, sociopathic, cannibalistic, and just downright not nice.

I mean, with all that influence and their campaign against Psychiatry, why wouldn't they?

DrivingMissMolly said...

In my opinion, the final frontier isn't space or the ocean, but is closer than we think; our brain.

We don't know nearly enough about our own brain, let alone what would motivate someone to want to deal with the incoherent babbling sometimes frightening brain diseased patient.

What we don't know, we fill in, sometimes letting our imaginations get the best of us.

I once read that we need to think of psychiatry as being where cardiology was 200 years ago. I try to keep that in mind!

The thing is, we still know that there are psychiatrists who behave inappropriately with patients such as in a sexual manner, and considering that the people they are exploiting are already damaged, that is particularly heinous.

There is so much mystery attached to what the psychiatrist does. There isn't a blood test for depression or bipolar disorder. Diagnoses can be fluid and subjective.

When you go to your PCP you know what is going to happen and they tell you, here's a steroid shot for your asthma, an antibiotic for your ear infection, etc. With a psychiatrist you don't know what the hell is going on!

I am on my 7th psychiatrist. This is it. He is a professor and trains residents. I figure if I don't get better with him then it ain't gonna happen.

He is calm and friendly and SEEMS normal, however, I have wondered, does he yell at his wife? Kick the dog? Is there a price that has to be paid for his eternal calm at our apointments?

I can't think of another doc-pt relationship where there is as much face-time as psychiatry. Maybe that contributes to the mystique. You spend so much time with them, yet, you don't know them at all.

I cringe when I read about storylines like Basic Instict that involve inappropriate relationships with patients.

Maybe the APA needs to do a little marketing about "Your friendly neighborhood shrink," akin to the marketing the ABA did when polls unsurprisingly revealed how reviled attorneys were. Still, I have noticed that some medical student blogs refer to psychiatrists as "crazy" so part of the problem starts during the process of educating new physicians.

I have come to believe that the American identity does not allow for mental illness. We are supposed to be self-sufficient. We are supposed to keep our personal problems personal and pretend to be OK. Most of all we are supposed to feed the machine work and consume, work and consume.

If you don't, if you can't you're an outsider and no one wants to be an outsider, so why would anyone want to be a doc that treats outsiders and misanthropes?

Sarebear said...

I remember watching an episode of Growing Pains, once (inane sitcom, but hey, I was young, and had a crush on Alan Thicke (gag!)).

They didn't really use the father's shrink profession much at all, but there was ONE episode where there was a girl and she was leaving the house, and he goes outside and starts a conversation with her, and she seems to be going to leave to go LEAVE this world, for good. The conversation he had with her was the first time I remember ever seeing something like this portrayed, and I think it also touched me deeply because alot of the things the teenage girl's character was saying were things I felt inside, but hadn't been able to put words to. So it felt like he was talking to me, too.

The writers were VERY careful with that one; it was one of the few serious sitcom episodes I ever saw.

Dr. Pill said...

I'm surprised no one's mentioned Good Will Hunting. I can't tell you how many of my outpatients asked for a hug after that movie came out. Funny how many other boundry violations popped up in this flick. I must admit that I still fantisize about grabbing some of my patients by the throat while telling them to cut the shit.

Daniel Haszard said...

My issue is Zyprexa which is only FDA approved for schizophrenia (.5-1% of pop) and some bipolar (2% pop) and then an even smaller percentage of theses two groups.
So how does Zyprexa get to be the 7th largest drug sale in the world?

Eli Lilly is in deep trouble for using their drug reps to 'encourage' doctors to write zyprexa for non-FDA approved 'off label' uses.

The drug causes increased diabetes risk,and medicare picks up all the expensive fallout.There are now 7 states (and counting) going after Lilly for fraud and restitution.

--
Daniel Haszard

Sarebear said...

What about Antwone Fisher? I've only seen the TV14 version, cleaned up for FX or TBS, but I thought it was good.

Although the fact that the psychiatrist and patient were in the Navy, and the psychiatrist of course far outranked the patient, came into play at times, which is different than for civilians. Although I bet iatrists sometimes wish they could pull rank!

I could see Denzel Washington's shrink character cringe some at the boundary blurring that happened some in the movie, although he dealt with it.

I thought he was very "tough love" with Antwone, but sincere there were alot of discipline problems, that was probably what was needed anyway. I could see in Denzel's portrayal that he wished he could let the boundaries down some that he didn't (mostly) that were necessary; by this I mean, I could see that he did grow to a great respect, and even love for (platonic/fatherly/brotherly type) Antwone. It came across in Denzel's performance in sometimes unspoken ways.

It was a very moving movie, although disturbing in parts, in flashbacks of his growing up.

So I think that was a rather good portrayal of a psychiatrist.

And he's durn cute, too. Lol. EASY on the eyes and ears.

Gerbil said...

Dr. George Huang, on SVU, should also get points for being a normal psychiatrist character. The only abnormal things about him seem to be (1) that he works for the FBI but is always chumming about with local law enforcement; and (2) that he only speaks when he has something really profound to say. (Wait a minute, that's not all that abnormal!) Although I have to admit that his very first appearance was soooo very creepy.

I may be giving myself away as a total nut, but... well, one of my favorite movies is Benny & Joon, and Mary Stuart Masterson's short-lived psychiatrist/ex-cop character on SVU was eerily reminiscent of disorganized, psychotic Joon. I heart Mary Stuart Masterson, but I'm not sure I heart twitchy psychiatrist characters who look like they're responding to the same internal stimuli as their patients!

NeoNurseChic said...

I was going to mention Good Will Hunting as another movie where the psychiatrist has major issues. What was the one thriller recently where Halle Berry played a psychiatrist and ended up becoming a patient and seeing things from a different perspective. Very twisted, and done so for the purposes of the thriller, but I actually liked that movie - and I hate scary movies. Huff is a show on Showtime that actually plays on the psychiatrist's personal problems after a patient commits suicide in his office. Just recently watched Prime, starring Meryl Streep and Uma Thurman...Meryl is Uma's psychologist (I think?) and Uma begins dating the therapist's son - but just at random, and the therapist knows it before Uma knows that her boyfriend is the shrink's son. Cute movie!

I'm trying to think of a few other examples - a few minutes ago, I had a whole list, but now I can't remember!

Hiding from the org's comment about scientologists in tv/movie business does ring true. Also - I can really identify with Driving Miss Molly's comment about how we're supposed to keep our personal problems personal and pretend to be okay - just keep working and feeding the system. How true... I was an extreme optimist as a child - and I think that made me fall harder...a LOT harder...as a young adult. When I ask someone how they are doing, I genuinely want to know. But how many other people really want to know? Most just want to hear "fine" and cringe when the response is something other. There is one statement there that I have to sort of address. I wasn't sure if the "brain diseased" and "damaged" adjectives were referring to all mentally ill - no matter what place on the spectrum, or just those who have truly been "damaged" by some sort of extremely bad experiences in life or have severe brain diseases in the form of schizophrenia, or other such things. I know that I have pretty wicked depression and also my pain system seems to be all jumbled up since it has switched on and won't turn off, but I don't really think of myself as brain diseased - and definitely not "damaged."

Some people will use the phrase "damaged goods" or other such things. I dunno... Maybe it's just the wording. Damaged sounds like the person should be returned for a better model. And while I do joke about that all the time with all the things I've been through (my dad has said that he wants to return me under the lemon law...he does say it in jest!) - I still wouldn't consider myself damaged - even though I know I have a lot of issues and things going on. I guess if I were to call myself damaged, I would feel as though I were not whole. And I'm whole all right. Just working on the parts, I suppose!

I know I took one little thing and went off on a tangent on it. I tend to do that. My psychiatrist does not use the word "fantasy" in my appts. I have to say that I'm impressed that since I told him that the word "fantasy" has an extremely negative connotation in my brain and I could not tolerate hearing him talk about fantasies without connecting it to some really awful things - he has never used the word once since. It was a word he said all the time before that. I bet he says it all the time with other patients. I don't know how he keeps a common word completely out of our sessions 100% of the time - that takes amazing work! Remember all the little words and things your patients don't like for whatever reason and completely avoid them. Impressive...! That just explains why I attach on to some things like the words damaged and brain diseased - when I hear or think about certain words, I have really strong assocations with them. No idea why...probably the overactive imagination. ;)

Dinah - I plan to read your book at some point! First going to read one I saw on OmniBrain about a neuroscientist who had a stroke and fully recovered from it based on her knowledge of the wiring of the brain. Veryyyyyy neat. And for the moment, I'm reading "Something Borrowed" by Emily Griffin - just read another book very similar to this...the main characters in these books are people I can seriously identify with! :)

Take care,
Carrie :)

DrivingMissMolly said...

Carrie,

You're right about my use of the word "damaged."

I consider myself damaged so I guess I feel like I can toss that word around.

Sorry. I did not mean to offend. I have reflected that my comments say more about *me* than what I'm actually saying.

Lily

Anonymous said...

Lily,

You didn't offend me! Just was sort of voicing my thoughts on it, I guess. For the record - even though I don't know you - I don't see you as damaged. I guess I just don't see people that way... Sure - some of us have been through some pretty awful things - but still, you're still a whole person - still trying to do the best you can to get by and to get better. Not damaged in my eyes. :)

Take care,
Carrie :) (posting as anon because I don't want to sign in to blogger at the moment while at the university...but this is NeoNurseChic)

Murky Thoughts said...

At least Hollywood gets it right for everybody else. If they ever perniciously stereotyped women or gays or cowboys or scientists, I can't imagine the kind of world we'd be living in.

Dinah said...

yet another way the blog has changed my life: I watched Prime, suggested by Carrie. I didn't like it as much as she did, but I definately look like that Uma person.

NeoNurseChic said...

I didn't like it all THAT much - but I did think it was a cute movie! And for some reason, it kept reminding me of you...! I don't know why...just I guess the way you write and my own mental image I have of you. (Don't we do that of all the bloggers we know but haven't seen a picture of? I know I do!)

This is off-topic, but I think I found something tonight that might actually change my life... I went to Borders to get an address book and I went into the psychology department to find a book on anxiety....didn't find one that I wanted, but I DID find this book called "Too loud, too bright, too fast, too tight" by Dr. Sharon Heller - and it's about sensory defensive people in an overstimulating world. The foreward is written by a woman who is the chair of Temple's OT department - she largely studies adults and children with sensory processing disorders. I just sent her this whole email - I honestly think this might explain a LOT about me...and I mean - everything. If I could find out the true extent of my own sensory processing issues, then perhaps I could learn to adapt my life and improve some of these major issues - both in the emotional/psychological and physical sense. If someone has a sensory processing disorder and yet they are in an environment that is constantly overstimulating, then their body will eventually adapt and manifest the stress in the physical.

I know that probably sounds like I'm buying into some snake oil, money draining hocus pocus, but this woman - Dr. Moya Kinnealey who is the chair of OT at Temple and studies this stuff - also has a whole lab where researchers work with adults with SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) and if this is done in the research sense, then perhaps it won't be as expensive as I imagine it could be. I won't go on and on here as to why this fits perfectly. I'm not just reaading something and thinking, "Oh! That's what I have!" I'm darn near positive that this is it for me - and I only found this book like 3 hours ago.

Maybe I'll post about it - I'm just really hopeful that this might be something for me. I emailed that woman at Temple a little bit ago. Fingers crossed! I could really use a way out of the darkness, so to speak!

Take care,
Carrie :)

Sarebear said...

Fingers crossed, Carrie! I think SPD is another term for Sensory Integration Dysfunction. I might be the more modern term maybe? Or maybe they are related.

My daughter has this, with her autism. She's HF, very. She's extremely bright, although there are a couple of trouble areas there. Not sure if/that IQ tests have too much weight, but when they said some of her scores were the equivalent of a highschooler, I thought that was cool. And yet I don't put that expectation on her, though. She's got a mind like a trap! I've been told that recently during SEP w/her teachers. She was tested during the evaluation process last year when we were trying to figure out what was up with her.

Anyway, if you ever want to talk sensory stuff (lol) I'm game. Apparently I'm/I've been really good at seeing how she processes/doesn't process/or has trouble/ things, and so I guess maybe I'm just a natural at seeing/feeling/thinking about this stuff.

They told me that most often, by the time kids are the age she was when we had her evaluated, most of em have developed anxiety disorders along with it; my dd has not, and they credited that to us. Altho the lack of an anxiety diagnosis meant she wouldn't be able to get most if any ins. co's to pay for anything.

Anyway, sorry to ramble OT too; I just have experience with my own daughter in the sensory processing department, lol.

Sara

Sarebear said...

oh, and another note to Carrie; It was actually me first hearing about sensory disorder that made me think HEY this TOTALLY sounds like dd, mebbe I can go ask the doc about this. I'm sad that it turned out there was autism as well (not that I wanted her to have anything, but I hoped for JUST the sensory processing disorder), but at least we have the diagnosis. That's all we have, we haven't done anything medically or therapy for her in any way about or with those, because this kind of stuff isn't covered, the psychologist assessing her told me. It's sad; we have a diagnosis, but really we're about in the same boat we were before we had it. Which is nowhere.

Woops, sorry!

NeoNurseChic said...

Sarebear,

Thanks for the comments - sorry to hear that getting the diagnosis didn't mean much at this point. Just wanted to add a little insight to where I'm coming from...

Everybody knows I love being a neonatal nurse. It's no lie that I love what I do. But how did I get here? I didnt' always want to do this - I started nursing school planning to go into headache neurology. But I got swayed by the dim lighting and the attempts at keeping things mostly quiet in the NICU. I do love my job - but the environment is what got me there.

I often describe the feeling that my nervous system is on fire. I cannot go outside without already having dark sunglasses on. My mom calls my apartment the bat cave. I rarely open the blinds. I can't go out to the bars or to clubs. I get overwhelmed easily and actually even passed out in Disney World when I was 12 because my tolerance to activity is so low. I can't watch tv in the room with my dad and just today I finally got to the point where I was ready to come back to my apartment. Back to the quiet. Every word seemed to grate. Sound hurts me. I know that doesn't make sense - but sound is probably the worst stim for me...oddly enough, I was a music major. It's not so much expected sound...it's inconsistent and unexpected sound. I love white noise - blocks everything out. I dont' like silence - it is too loud for me. I don't like watching a movie where the sounds change constantly. I get too hot or too cold very easily - and when too hot become extremely irritable. I tend to dress in layers because the second I'm too hot, I want the minimal amount of clothes on - and around my apartment, I always wear shorts and a tank top - no matter what the weather. I don't wear shoes unless I have to. And if I can get away with it, I prefer flip flops to anything else on my feet. I do not like slippers. I do not like turtlenecks. I do not like anything touching my neck or feet. My mom sometimes gets annoyed because if she says my name while my back is turned and I'm doing something else, I will jump out of my skin and yell at her for startling me. But it's not just the usual, "You scared me." If I'm sitting with a chart in the NICU and somebody starts talking to me, I damn near drop the book. My startle reaction is like on overdrive.

Sometimes I feel like Tony. When he is in his attack mode, any movement I make sends him running for cover...because he thinks I'm trying to grab him. When he's like that, he is aware of every single sense.

And if being sensory overloaded didn't cause me any problems, then it wouldn't be so bad. But I seem like a total recluse. I would prefer to sit in my room and blast the hair dryer solely for the purpose of having white noise to study to. (That one drives my parents absolutely nuts...I don't do it when around them...they ought to buy me a white noise maker! My mom thinks I'm going to burn the house down...)

So that's me - in a nutshell. ("Help, I'm in a nutshell!" - Name that movie!) That's not all the stuff...but at least some of it. And I wonder if understanding the sensory overload could lead to adjusting for it more consistently or more accurately...and perhaps lead to me actually wanting to leave my apartment from time to time...especially to go out and be around other people. Sure, I'll take the occasional walk, but when I have a day off, I don't like to leave my apartment to do anything. Going food shopping is like way too much for me - I haven't done it in like 2 months at least. I ony go about 6 times a year...and I eat poorly or buy a lot of meals on the run because it pains me to go out into the world. Too much.

I know I haven't talked about...well....most of that ever before. I don't like people thinking I'm a total neurotic and social recluse. And I'm not entirely...I am able to have my job and I function just fine in that setting. My social interactions there are WNL as we say in our field. (Within normal limits...) Just kinda thought this stuff may actually mean something!

I hope that it does - and I hope that your daughter gets some help, too!

Take care,
Carrie :)

Dreaming again said...

Carrie and Sarebear ... I've been following your discussion with interest.

My son was diagnosed with PDD from the ages of 2 to 10. It turned out that he really had a severe case of Sensory Integration Dysfunction.

When we got him appropriate treatment for the SID .. his Autistic like characteristics started to disappear. We realized he'd been 'appropriately misdiagnosed'.

Even now ... if we don't stay on top of the sensory issues ...the autistic like characteristics can start to creep back in if we're not careful.

Carrie .. a lot of what you experience sounds like a day in the life of Benjamin ... some things he is a bit different ...like he MUST wear something on his feet at all times ... getting him to go barefoot ... um ... you'd sooner get him to eat a worm! ...well, no you wouldn't, it's the wrong texture ...
you'd get him to go a year without an allowance first ... there ya go ...

interesting ... I'll have to look for that book.

Sarebear said...

CARRIE! That thing about noise, and the types and everything else; that is SO SO SO my daughter! My in-laws were HURT and OFFENDED when I asked em to quit singing happy birthday off key on purpose.

They had started it in the months before this incident, and I knew it was hard for my daughter, but this was the awakening to me of the fact that sounds can cause PAIN (well we know extreme sounds can, but I'm talking ones people wouldn't blink at). Well, yeah, there's the joking that off key is pain . . .

Anyway, she went RIGID in my lap, RIGID as a board! And then was, well I knew she wasn't seizing (I'm not a doc but I just knew; I knew/felt that she was reacting to the environment; I have a kind of intuition this way I guess), but she was trembling in a wierd way, and yet stiff. I wanted to shout at the top of my lungs for everyone to shut the hell up.

But then, the familial repercussions of that stopped me and I sat thru it; I wish I'd had the guts, although my yelling would have also hurt my daughter, it would have been stopping the song and ending things sooner.

After that, we left the room whenever they did that (cause HELL NO why in tarnation should they consider a request on my part to go back to singing it normal; heaven forbid I should ask that!).

I just wish my shyness and fears didn't keep me from standing up for my daughter like that. I mean, I do stand up for her, but in a situation like that where I knew they'd be all unpleasant, I just couldn't face it. Plus, I was concentrating so hard on my daughter that I s'pose I wasn't aware of much else for awhile anyway.

As far as everything else, Carrie, sounds like the same types of ways and things that my daughter reacts to stuff. Differences, and yet one can see/feel that the brain is processing sensory information differently than the rest of the world does. It's funny, she sleeps with her knees up, I think it helps keep the pressure of the blankets to be less on her.

Oh and she just must cover her head at night, many nights. She's gotta chew on her sleeves or hair, no matter how much I tell her not to (but I don't be harsh with her, as I know the under-stimulation is something she can't help; I used to tell her to chew on a washcloth instead). She used to scream at the sensation of the shower sprayer on her, but that switched (thank goodness!). I'm SO totally with you , Dreaming, on stuff. Especially the texture thing w/food. Or anything the color of Velveeta shells and cheese (twas the first food she started gagging on in a wierd way, she used to love any kind of mac n cheese, even that one; since we didn't know about these problems yet, we tried to force her with it, and I cringe at the psychological damage we may have caused! I had instincts telling me something was up with her, she wasn't just being a picky eater, but then also I was afraid of being too easy on my child . . . this is one of the very very few times where the latter won out over my instincts.)

Woops, I went on and on, there, AGAIN! Us three oughtta chat about this stuff s'more, lol.

And I wonder if any of my dd's autistic stuff would disappear if/when the SI issues get treated . . .

Carrie, I don't think you're a recluse! I just think you've adapted to a way to interact and be in the world that protects you from overstimulation and stuff. feel free to email me, guys, my email's in my profile.

Carrie, I hope you find answers that help explain things. It isn't that I wanted to be bipolar, in fact, I hadn't really thought of it, but when I first heard it, I was like, OHMYGOSH . . . . and then, so it's not huge flaws in my character? It means there's something that they know how to treat and they know how I can work to overcome/work around, etc????

So I know EXACTLY what kind of good feeling there can be in finding out something going on about oneself.

There's even unpredictable visual things, that set my daughter off. For the longest time, as a toddler, this is pretty much the only other thing I came down on her for, when I sensed, after a couple times, that something else was going on. She was deathly afraid if there was a fly in the room, or in the car, or whatnot.

The unpredictableness of it, the random zigging and zagging.

Another visual, is the static on tv bothers her, altho there's an audio component to that too.

Thanks guys, esp. carrie, for your kind sentiments on my daughter. I hope we can access some OT at least, and maybe more, for her, too. I have no idea though about it.

Jennifer said...

For all of you talking about the "Too Loud, Too Bright..." book. It really is a good book. My mom bought it for my dad because it's scary how much it explains both of us. I recommend the book.

Back to the topic at hand....

"What about Bob?" How could you all forget about this movie??? hahaha!

Then there is also the portrayal of Dr. Molly Clock (Heather Graham) on Scrubs. Talk about a ditzy doctor! And no one mentioned the Crane brothers (Frasier). I find it interesting that the tv versions of psychiatrists are a lot funnier than their movie counterparts. I wonder why there is such a difference.

And I admit...I was one of those who thought all psychiatrists were nuts and flat out refused to ever see one as a kid. It wasn't until I actually worked for one that I saw that there really were normal people who became psychiatrists. They may be few and far between, but they really do exist. ;-) haha!

Sarebear said...

I HATED What about Bob when I first saw it, and couldn't get past the first 5-10 minutes.

Then, a year or two later, I saw it, and LOVED it! As a farce/satire or whatever, but ohmygosh was it funny! WAY WAY over the boundaries, of course, for comedic value. I did think the deadly nature of the explosives/explosion was a bit over the top, and jarring both when the shrink has Bob strapped to them or something, and then when the house blows up.

What about Lost? Oy, is there a morass. There was a female character who SAID she was a psychologist, but who, through future flashbacks, I believe will be shown to be a compulsive liar. There was an episode where Claire asked her to help her recover some memories, though.

As well as shrink stuff in the flashbacks, especially Hugo.

And then there's the Others, on Lost . . . I suspect at least some of them are mental health professionals; I also suspect that Walt was autistic, highly functioning, but the questions the one other was asking his father were EXACTLY the first ones they asked us last year about my daughter, when evaluating her.

It has been shown know that psychological experiments were conducted on the island by this mysterious Dharma group. Some on animals, like the polar bears, and some on people, both those being observed, and on the observers in the Pearl (as it seems their reports were just being sent up a tube and out into a pile in the forest.) So I wonder what else was going on; there was a tank for experiments on sharks and dolphins, and they (the Others) are using all sorts of psychological things to do things to their captives.

That's probably WAY too much info, but hey, I like LOST.

Well, one more is Smallville (I did the first in a series of posts on it once, but no one was interested lol), and yeah, I know it's a show about Clark Kent, but I still think they don't need to show everybody who's different as a "meteor freak", who gets sent to a mental hospital, and sometimes have ECT done TO them. They ECT'd Lex Luthor, specifically to erase his memory (and cause him pain) by his father's order.

Actually, I think the series has alot of interesting stuff about Lex's development from having some goodness, to going down the darker path; I think that's fascinating. Anyway. But I still have a problem w/their depiction of mental health issues, personnel, patients, practices, and just about anything to do with it. They have had shrinks and related professionals as bad guys more than once.

Brain stuff, especially at the Summerholt institute, with experimental stuff done to people's brains.

ANYWAY! Far too long, but heck, I like this sort of thing. Wait, this isn't my blog . . .. eeeeeee!

(runs screaming from the room!)

Roy said...

Ok, Sare, you got me. Big Lost fan here, too. Can't wait til Feb.

I agree about the Others having some MH background, but hardly "professionals", if you get my drift. Seems more like they took a few college classes and got stuck on Milgram's line of experiments (where the duped "subject" keeps crankin' up the electrical juice despite painful screams on the other side of the divider).

Sarebear said...

Yeah, not very professional. Sort of a Lord of the Flies version of psychology. Lol!

Lost is one show where my hypervigilantism (made up another word! woohoo!) seems to stand me in good stead. I notice the small things and put them together. This happens w/alot of shows that drop tiny clues, and I have a pretty good track record of at least getting the direction it's going right, if not so much all the specifics. Sometimes the specifics, too, though.

I sure cheered when Jack didn't let Juliet (who'd shoot you if you looked at her cross eyed) manipulate him into doing things her way, although I'm not so sure what he is doing is a good idea (unless he can somehow convince Ben, if and when he recovers, that he did mean his promise to keep him alive, and that he was never in any danger since Jack knew what he was doing.)

Oh, another thing, is when Ben had his first "real" conversation w/Jack in the tank, where he gave his real name and stuff, one time he responds to Jack with, "Can you blame me?" for some kind of bad reaction to stuff that was done that naturally would get that kind of reaction from someone in Ben or the Others' position(s). The thing is, they NEVER EVER seem to see that in the survivors of the plane crash. That is another area where I think the Others are blind in, and where, perhaps, they might be surprised at some point by the reactions they never considered by the people they are manipulating/attempting to manipulate.

Course, I'm p.o'd it's gonna be til Feb 7th til there's new Losts again, but at least they will be ALL NEW w/no repeats through the end of the season.

After Prozac said...

I'm surprised noone mentioned the Prince of Tides and Barbra Streisand's psychiatrist character. She didn't play a murderer in that. Luckily.