Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Normal People

I was talking to my med school roommate last night. She's a regular doctor, and she was talking about how they need more psychiatrists where she works. They're getting a new one soon, but he scratches his chin and he sounds a little twitchy. Someone said something about psychiatrists being weird. My friend said, "I know a normal psychiatrist." I asked her who, and she said "You" meaning me. I'm normal? Roy likes that people say we sound like "normal people" when they listen to our My Three Shrinks podcast. Roy actually looks like a normal person. ClinkShrink looks like a nun. I don't want to know what I look like. There are moments when I think I'm normal. When patients ask me if they're normal, I generally respond "What's normal?" Actually, I think I equate Normal with Boring. Maybe Normal people equate Normal with Sane? Most days, I'm pretty sure I'm sane, I'm positive that ClinkShrink is sane, and Roy...oh, Roy is sane and he even looks like a normal person.

So does psychiatry make people abnormal or are abnormal people attracted to psychiatry?

Let's try a few, feel free to add some of your own thoughts:

--People are often attracted to fields relevant to their own lives, so they are more likely to be interested in psychiatry if they have a mental illness or know someone with a mental illness. With the lifetime incidence of mental illness above 50%, I'm not sure this accounts for "weird." And many of my patients easily meet criteria for "Normal Person." This is the obvious response to why shrinks are weird, so it's where I started.

---One gets a little bonkers listening to people's problems all day. Maybe. I still enjoy it.

---Everyone knows shrinks are weird, so weird people join the club. I'm not sure how this explains the nun amongst us.

---Psychiatrists analyze everything and all that introspection makes you relate strangely to other people. There are probably some variants on this theme. It may account for unusual interpersonal styles, but not for chin scratching and twitchy-ness.

---Twitchy people can't hold scalpels steadily so they have to be psychiatrists. Good point.

So do 'normal people' have blogs?
And I still have to comment on ClinkShrink's last post Coming soon.