Saturday, June 13, 2009

OMG!!! That's What They Said!

First, how did I ever start reading so much about depression, medication and the brain, the topics of Prozac Monologues?  Well, it was after I took two antidepressants that made me crazy and one that made me sad.  Then I was back in a psychiatrist's office, and she said, You have to weigh the costs and benefits.  And I took her seriously. 

But the information she gave me and that I found on the prescription information sheet wasn't very much information at all, not the kind that would have helped me when I was taking the antidepressants that made me crazy.  I knew this because I had read them, and they didn't help me.  I will write more about this some other time. 

The Language Of Doctors And Scientists 

So then I started looking for the information that is written for doctors.  I discovered this other language, the language used by scientists when they communicate with other scientists, when they publish and build their reputations.  And in this language, they are not talking to me; they are talking ABOUT me. 

This information is much more informative.  When I am not so sick that I am too desperate to process it, it does help me weigh the costs and benefits.  And because I know I need to get this information before I am too desperate, I read as much as I can find while I am relatively healthy.  The real information, the research, not the sales brochures.

But it is, what shall I call it, disorienting, like OMG! to read what scientists say ABOUT me.  I presume they have their reasons to maintain an emotional distance from their subjects.  It makes them more scientific.  At least it makes them sound more scientific.  At least they think so.  It's really just my problem that I am reading stuff that was not written for me.

Nevertheless I am. 

Reframing Offensive Language 

In order to protect myself while I dabble in thoughts that my therapist wishes I would not, I have established the OMGThat'sWhatTheySaid Award.  I am confident of my subject -- there will be enough material for a monthly award.  Maybe we can hold a contest once a year and let readers vote on their favorites.

To start us off, drum roll please, the first OMG!! Award goes to David Dunner, Major Depressive Disorder, The Medical Basis of Psychiatry, (3rd edition) S. Hossein Fatemi, Paula J. Clayton, Norman (FRW) Sartorius, editors, (Humana Press, 2008) page 74, and I quote: 

Suicide and suicide attempts are unfortunate complications of MDD -- David Dunner 

Now there is good information in this chapter about epidemiology, clinical picture, biological theories, lab studies, presentation, principles of treatment, pharmacotherapy, though not near enough information to weigh the costs and benefits of Electro-Convulsive Therapy.  So it's a starting point.

But still.  When somebody reads that statement who is at risk of suicide and suicide attempts, the thought process goes something like: 

Suicide Is Complicated 

Complicated for whom? For the victim, aren't the complications pretty much over?  Granted, those who manage to survive a self-injury find that the act creates many complications, some of which will be the source of another OMG!! Award at a later date.  But The Medical Basis of Psychiatry is written for the professional.  So I take it to mean that suicide creates complications for the professional whose patient has disrupted the professional's life by bringing up (whether by words or deed) an issue about which the professional has some issues.  Complicated issues. 

Suicide Is Unfortunate 

Unfortunate is the only adjective used in the entire chapter that is not neutral, even clinical.  This is the one word that indicates the author has feelings about his subject.  And that's the word he chose to describe suicide, unfortunate.  It's that one word that is jarring, suggesting that even scientists have feelings.  For example, they find suicide to be unfortunate.

Okay, so he wasn't writing for me. He was writing for the people who take care of me when I am at risk of suicide.  He was reminding them how unfortunate my suicide would be.

Like I said, I need an interpretive frame to protect me while I dabble in thoughts that my therapist would just as soon I would not.  So there it is, the OMGThat'sWhatTheySaid Award. 

Send Your Nominations Via Comments 

Thanks to the reader of Prozac Monologues who brought this quote to my attention.  Do please send me your own nominations for future awards!

flair from Facebook

reformatted 11/29/10 

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