When I call myself a patient and a doctor, they seem like two opposites, two sides of the same table. In mental illness they are often perceived very differently – one with knowledge and power, one suffering and in need of help. They don’t join together well. They make a whole with an empty centre, … Continue reading Lived experience of mental illness
I think I have always experienced anxiety. Not all the time, in that I’m not always anxious, but it has always lurked in the background, waiting to spoil things. I don’t know how much anxiety is normal though, and perhaps mine is a sensible and healthy amount. No anxiety at all would be quite a … Continue reading The worried doctor
Psychiatry and psychiatrist are powerful words. They stop conversations, and create awkward gaps. I try not to say I am a psychiatrist in social settings, sometimes muttering something about being a doctor, and usually wriggling out of anything further. Conversely, in a clinical setting, I always tell patients that I am a psychiatrist, probably because … Continue reading The word “psychiatry”
This is a question frequently asked, and unsatisfactorily answered. I don’t know the answers, and I won’t pretend to, but I find it quite a difficult dichotomy – along with many others in the field of mental illness. I once worked for a psychiatrist, years ago, who took the trouble to reassure me that he … Continue reading Biology or psychology?
We all have a personality, but, when you move into the realms of psychiatry and mental health, this term can take on a rather different meaning. It is often also very difficult to discuss, something which is hardly surprising, given the fact that personality disorder can be seen as a punitive diagnosis, one of exclusion … Continue reading Personality
How did I make that leap from them to us, or us to them? I was a patient, a not very active patient, but I had become part of that community. It was better than being part of nothing, and I was no longer working as a doctor, with no obvious prospect of returning. My … Continue reading Patient to psychiatrist
My brain has been somewhat exercised of late, both by my own internal wrangles about psychiatric treatments and by various online debates, particularly about ECT. These debates often seem to be moral and emotional in nature, making it particularly hard to contribute or indeed come to any conclusions. I am someone with a very precarious … Continue reading The problem with treatment