Sunday, December 30, 2007

Friends, Coffee, and of course, The New York Times Magazine

Happy New Year, everyone! As 2008 approaches, Roy, ClinkShrink and I will be meeting today (with the new & improved sound equipment) to record a podcast, and then I'm off to sip champagne on a warm and sunny beach. My friends, I trust, will hold the blog fort up.

So the other day, one of my kids asked me if I'd drive a bit and pick up one of their camp friends to spend the night. This child lives a fair distance and I've met only once, at a mall, when the two kids wanted to spend a little time together. This request was for me to pick the kid up, bring her home, and have her spend the night. A stranger to me, but a fellow camper to my child.

Some of my kids' friends see therapists and psychiatrists and take psychotropic medications. Some aren't so quiet it about it, I can be driving in a car and someone will pop out with "That's the building where my psychiatrist works!" Okay. But if they take medications while they're sleeping over my house, then I guess they do so quietly, no one's ever asked my assistance with any medication before. And a few, well, as they're jumping off my furniture in back flips, I just Know they must be taking Ritalin or something like it to get through the school day.

So I pick up the unknown camp kid and her mother hands me a bag of medications. I don't know mom, and I don't know the kid, and I don't imagine they know I'm a psychiatrist. "The instructions are on the bottles." Okay, I can do this.

The visit was uneventful, the child is lovely, patient with my kid who enlisted her help on an hours-long school project from Hell (don't ask, but if you're handy with a drill and have nothing better to do this afternoon, we could use your help here). As I handed the visitor her third mood stabilizer, I asked, "Do you feel differently if you don't take this?" "Not right away," she said.
And from today's Sunday New York Times Magazine and the recap of this year's The Lives They Lived Issue and some thoughts on mental illness:

Thomas F. Eagleton: The Running Mate Who Wasn't. Once his history of mental illness was revealed, his vice-presidential bid was over.
Marian Radke-Yarrow: The Anthropological Psychologist who studied the long-term effects of maternal unipolar and bipolar depression on the children of the afflicted.

and finally,
Allen Wheelis: A Neurotic's Neurotic a psychoanalyst writer who explored both his work and his own psyche. I'll give Dr. Wheelis, pictured above, the Shrink Rap quote of the day:

"I have not found in psychoanalysis the meaning I sought. I function as a guide to the lost, but do not myself know the way."