Gen Psych – A Gathering of Idiots

February 24, 2009 at 5:05 pm (Life, School) (, , )

I sometimes get the impression that General Psychology (Psych 102) brings out the innermost idiots in people. There is one girl in particular who irks me to no end. She’s one of the skinny blonde-types, incredibly arrogant and spoiled; all of this is topped off with a really annoying voice and a dialect I can’t quite place.

Dr. W handed us an article on Ms. Elyn Saks, who published a book dealing with her life back in August. An autobiography is nothing special; Ms. Saks’ is because she has suffered schizophrenia since she was sixteen. Unlike (sadly) many others, she did not turn out to be the screaming, raving woman hudling on the street corner. Instead, she is a very successful woman with a Ph. D. who is now the assistant dean in charge of research at USC. Schizophrenia is a mental illness that will probably never cease fascinating people.

At some point, the conversation in class turns to the stigma associated with schizophrenia and any other mental illness. Those who are mentally ill typically keep their diagnosis to themselves because it can drastically alter someone’s perception of them. I understand this and am aware of this. My object of annoyance goes off on how it’s not fair and everyone should be treated equally, those with mental illnesses shouldn’t be discriminated against.

I mostly agree with this, except for this: I think there are certain job fields that those with severe mental illnesses should not be in. These are usually high-level stress jobs such as working for the police, FBI, CIA, Secret Service, Army, Navy, Air Force, whatever. I politely told her there are certain job fields I would not want to see someone mentally ill in.

She, however, does not let me make my point. The military actually has a policy on not letting anyone with a history of mental illness in; they have been less strict with it in the past few years because the number of voluntary enlistment is at a real low. “NO. There are many people with depression in the military! Why shouldn’t they be able to hold those jobs?!”

Frankly, my dear, I don’t think you’re seeing what I was trying to point out. The military has an incredibly high suicide rate. Anyone with a mental illness, especially bipolar, unipolar or borderline disorder, should not be in the military, not even on medication. Basic training is brutal, as is the culture of manliness and macho that is perpetuated among military ranks. Lack of sleep, hard physical activity and drill sergeants will break you down and trigger off any mental disorder you may have at the time.

Next, let’s get to this: Imagine you’re mentally ill and sent to the front lines. Enlisting and being E5 and below means you get to see the front lines, period. Enlisting at all, even at a higher rank, will always mean you could end up in a warzone, so don’t give me that shitty “But surely they could be enrolled if they only hold office jobs!” argument. Do you think anyone who has a history of severe depression could handle that? What about someone with schizophrenia? Do you SERIOUSLY want an officer who might have psychotic episodes despite his or her medication in charge of thousands of soldiers’ lives?

Finally, give me numbers. Honest to God tell me what statistics you have to back up your “lots of people in the military have depression!” argument. Lots of people in the military do have depression or PTSD, I will give you that – however, they do not have these conditions inherently, but instead they are caused by a witnessed situation. These conditions of depression are, in most people, temporary. Anyone suffering severe PTSD is discharged.

My mom works with this kind of shit. Don’t you try and out-smart a military brat, bitch. I will cut you if you open your mouth again without being able to argue properly.

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2 Comments

  1. Britni said,

    The psych electives gather all of the crazies. I hated the beginning/basic/intro psych classes because people from all majors took them as easy ‘A’ electives. It drove me nuts, some of the ignorance that spewed from people’s mouths. However, even as someone in a master’s program in the mental health field, I hate to tell you that it doesn’t get much better. Psych is one of those fields that attracts people that are a) truly interested in the psyche and exploring it; b) people that want to help others; and c) those that are too dumb to make it through a major that involves lots of math and science and things of that nature.

    I took a domestic violence education training class this weekend and was baffled by some of the stupidity that came out of the mouths of people that claimed to be in graduate programs for mental health. ONE OF THE GIRLS ACTUALLY REFERRED TO NON-MENTALLY ILL PEOPLE AS “NORMAL MINDED PEOPLE.” I wanted to turn around and be like, “Is that a clinical term you’re using there?”

    The mind, it boggles.

    Also, re: your post, you don’t want people with a history of suicide/homicidality, antisocial personality disorders, or other kinds of personality traits or tendencies with easy access to firearms. It is just not smart. So yes, your point is valid.

    • Nate D. said,

      Britni,

      The laziness/stupidity of certain psych students has always been incredible to me. Worse yet are those who don’t wish to do the real work of science (what, the psyche doesn’t exist within the natural universe?), and still wish to be held to the same level of respect (and funding) as other sciences. Of course it never works that way. Respect for sciences seems to go in the following descending order:

      1. Physics
      2. Chemistry
      3. Social Sciences
      4. Palm reading
      5. Meteorology
      6. Psychology

      Which is a shame. It makes everybody look bad.

      Which is why you should just tack on ‘neuro-‘ every time you use an adjective about yourself. Works every time. Trust me.

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