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Author Topic: Stupid Mental Illness lists!
Tyrone Slothrop
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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I don't know if any of you have seen these, but there are these lists out there (some long, some short) of historical and famous figures who have been "diagnosed" with a mental illness.

Disregarding the logical fallacy of diagnosing a historical figure with a mental disorder (can you do that anyway? Is that really a fallacy?), the intent of these lists is to show that, hey, you may have a mental illness, but so did these people and damnit you can make it too! Plus, look how many artists/historical figures/actors/famous people have mental illness! Mental illness creates creativity!

I hate these damn things.

Lists like these provide a false statement that if you have a mental disorder, you're in the category of all these famous people. Not to mention that most of these lists are false in the first place, intended to be empowering but subvert any empowerment by displacing the disorder, making it a "reason" for the talent/artistry rather than innate talent. In other words, they downplay the seriousness of mental illness showing the "wonderous things those with a mental illness can do."

For every John Nash, there are over 100 other people struggling just to survive.

Bah, stupid lists.

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"The universe works on a math equation that never even ever really even ends in the end"

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danascully
"Repaint and thin no more!"


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I remember when I was in graduate school studying the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSMIIIr at the time). My professor warned us not to diagnose ourselves with every mental illness in the book. He often discussed the context of our behavior, where it might be approriate in some situations but not in others. This is one of the problems with the "diagnosis" of historical figures. There is also the problem of those afflicted wanting to claim a famous person as one of their own.
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JFB
Jingle Bell Hock


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I've never seen anyone use such lists to categorically compare accomplished victims of any disease to all others who suffer the same. I've only seen them used inspire those who see their disease as an impassible barrier.

Whether or not they actually inspire anyone is debatable, but I see nothing wrong with the intent behind them.

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Sara at home
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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I can't wait until they stop calling physiological conditions which are often but not always neurobiological in origin "mental illness".

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Assume that all my posts will be edited at least once. Dyslexic -- can't spell, can't type, can't proofread.

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Christie
The Bills of St. Mary's


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Pah. I have the same problem with the lists of famous peope who had/have dyslexia. I know this is meant to be reassuring to young peope (and their parents) that "all is not lost" which would be fine, but all too often it is used to say that having dyslexia is A Very Good Thing and it "proves" that those with dyslexia are *all* somehow better than everyone else.

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If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it's just possible you haven't grasped the situation. - Jean Kerr

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1958Fury
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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quote:
Originally posted by Christie:
Pah. I have the same problem with the lists of famous peope who had/have dyslexia. I know this is meant to be reassuring to young peope (and their parents) that "all is not lost" which would be fine, but all too often it is used to say that having dyslexia is A Very Good Thing and it "proves" that those with dyslexia are *all* somehow better than everyone else.

Yep.

Different people need different kinds of affirmation. But often I see the wrong kids receiving this validation. There's a lot of learning methods geared toward building a child's self-esteem, which is great... except when they're used on kids who have too much already.

From what I've seen, young people with disorders get twice as much esteem-building feedback as other kids. The idea being that other kids make fun of them all day, so they need a few extra compliments.

Such a balance, though. Too much doting or not enough, and you end up with either an egomaniac or a shrinking violet.

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Tyrone Slothrop
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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quote:
Originally posted by Sara Claus at home:
I can't wait until they stop calling physiological conditions which are often but not always neurobiological in origin "mental illness".

Can't agree more (sorry for my usage of the terms in my OP)

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"The universe works on a math equation that never even ever really even ends in the end"

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TrishDaDish
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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I get a kick out of that too. "Look! Van Gogh was Bipolar, just like you!" Yeah, and he drank a lot, hung out at brothels, couldn't hold a job, sold one whole painting in his life, mutilated part of his ear, and finally shot himself! And he didn't even die right away when he did that! What a great role model!

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Sara at home
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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No...no...no...Van Gogh had a form of temporal lobe epilepsy called Geschwind's syndrome,.

Does van Gogh show up on every list? Seems like he's been diagnosed with everything. Everyone wants to claim him as their own.

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Assume that all my posts will be edited at least once. Dyslexic -- can't spell, can't type, can't proofread.

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Freshman
We Three Blings


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Uhm..I'd say that the assesment of Andy Warhol having asperger's sundrome is accurate: he did like repetion and from the entries of his diary from the large book about him I got for christmas, he did seem A little socially awkward (he once overreacted when someone called his decorations for studio 54 "decent")

I don't mind these lists because it shows that famous people are still humans no matter how god like they may seem to us.

Alsom I don't think they're promoting the idea that mental illness=creatvity. I think they're trying to show that even though a person can have a disorder, they can still pursue creative endevors

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franjava
Deck the Malls


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That really annoying guy from that "build people a new home in a week" show (Can't remember the show's name, but I think his name is Ty, or something.) has said that he has ADHD. I heard him say this and thought, "No, NFBSK! That wasn't obvious or anything!" Hijack over.

If a famous person has truly been diagnosed with something and has been treated for it, I can see how it is empowering to us normals. I do get annoyed with the posthumous diagnosing of people, though.

fran "Moses had a lisp" java

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Rebochan the Retail Reindeer
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I actually get annoyed when people try to "out" dead people as gay. As if the only way to be a happy, healthy homosexual is if some famous, dead person was gay too.

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"One original thought is worth a thousand mindless quotings." -- Diogenes

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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Tyrone Slothrop:
Disregarding the logical fallacy of diagnosing a historical figure with a mental disorder (can you do that anyway? Is that really a fallacy?)

I wouldn't call it a logical fallacy, but it's clearly impossible to diagnose the dead. Would any ethical doctor diagnose a living patient without an examination? What makes dead people different?

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Salamander
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by Lainie:
quote:
Originally posted by Tyrone Slothrop:
Disregarding the logical fallacy of diagnosing a historical figure with a mental disorder (can you do that anyway? Is that really a fallacy?)

I wouldn't call it a logical fallacy, but it's clearly impossible to diagnose the dead. Would any ethical doctor diagnose a living patient without an examination? What makes dead people different?
I'd also agree that it would be impossible to accurately diagnose the mental health of someone who is dead. I think you could make reasonable suggestions based on accounts of their life though.

I've not seen these lists but I could almost imagine them starting their life being very clearly labelled as conjecture based upon biographical/historical texts before being changed somewhere by some well-meaning twit to be factual instead.

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"victory thru self-deception"

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Tyrone Slothrop
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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They're kind of like Glurges for those with mental disorders.

You know, "This man struggled with manic/depression throughout his whole life only to produce some of the most beautiful music in the world. And this man turned out to be....Beethoven. And that's the rest of the story."

Tyrone "the puppy had ADD" Slothrop

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"The universe works on a math equation that never even ever really even ends in the end"

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TrishDaDish
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by Sara Claus at home:
No...no...no...Van Gogh had a form of temporal lobe epilepsy called Geschwind's syndrome,.

Does van Gogh show up on every list? Seems like he's been diagnosed with everything. Everyone wants to claim him as their own.

Yes. I've seen/heard/read him having everything from epilepsy to being bipolar to being gay...I'm surprised they haven't gotten around to him being a closet puppy killer. Yet.

quote:
Originally posted by Tyrone Slothrop:
They're kind of like Glurges for those with mental disorders.

You know, "This man struggled with manic/depression throughout his whole life only to produce some of the most beautiful music in the world. And this man turned out to be....Beethoven. And that's the rest of the story."

They already have a Beethoven glurge. Please don't encourage glurgers to write worse crap!

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I would prefer not to.
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Archie2K
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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I've noticed the "Mental illness = creativity" schtick coming predominently from people who don't have mental illness. Mental illness could make you creative in the same way that amphetamines could make you creative. That doesn't make it a good or positive thing. What good is creativity if your mental difficulties mean that you can't actually get down and sell your artwork or get a publishing deal for your books and poetry?

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Vox populi vox canem

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