Evil Eyes by Gloria Garfunkel

 

Once upon a time, in Woody Allen’s heyday, everyone was neurotic to different degrees. No one is neurotic anymore. You either have Attention Deficit or Bipolar Disorder, or maybe fall on the Autistic/Asperger’s Spectrum. You also might have once had an Anxiety Disorder like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that is looking more and more like Bipolar, too.

If you had Split Personalities thirty years ago, you had Multiple Personalities twenty years ago, Dissociative Identity Disorder ten years ago, and a spectrum of Bipolar Mood Disorders now. No one is just depressed.

Schizophrenia has nothing to do with Split Personalities and has always been much more complicated than that. Schizophrenia specialties are Word Salads which sound very poetic.

Your great-grandfather came back from World Wars I and II with shell shock. Your grandfather returned from Viet Nam with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. And your father returned from Iraq with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, unless he got it from playing football in the NFL.

Nervous breakdown covers all of the above.

Eating Disorders and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders are types of addictions but are never treated in the same programs. Addicts are notoriously non-compliant.

To lawyers, you can be declared sane or insane, and the latter are excused from responsibility for committing heinous crimes. Lawyers also consider temporary insanity as an excuse, even though it doesn’t exist as a real psychiatric diagnosis.

Psychiatrists hate lawyers because of malpractice lawsuits. Psychiatrists do not recognize sanity, insanity or temporary insanity in their encyclopedia of diagnoses, the DSM. They scoff at such distinctions and tell lawyer jokes around the coffee maker. They say things to each other like “It’s been a crazy day.”

Psychopathy is a more severe form of sociopathy and psychopaths are incapable of empathy or remorse, with neurological underpinnings for these deficits. Psychopaths are emotionally numb, except for the pleasure they get in harming others. They are the little children who torture and kill the missing pets in the neighborhood. They can pass lie detector tests because they have no conscience. They can grow up to be sadistic dictators of nations. Psychiatrists consider psychopathy a diagnosis but untreatable because it is simply a code word for evil, so psychopaths belong in prisons, not in hospitals, and literally get away with murder.

A friend of mine discovered she had Panic Attacks. Then it turned out to be Manic Episodes, so she joined the growing army of Bipolars, though she remains in the slim ranks of the unconvinced.

So if you see a psychiatrist, you are most likely to be diagnosed on the spectrum of Bipolar, Anxiety, Attention-Deficit, Autism, Addictions, or some sort of psychotic relative of Schizophrenia. If you are diagnosed with a Personality Disorder, like Narcissistic Personality Disorder or Psychopathy, you are basically considered hopelessly untreatable. Borderline Personality Disorder has recently been given some hope, but probably because it increasingly seems to overlap with Bipolar Disorder for which many medications are helpful. There are also some very structured psychotherapy manuals that help Borderlines think and act more rationally. These are your choices if you seek mental health care in the U.S.

In many other cultures, crazy people still remain possessed, so they see shamans and don’t really need mental health insurance. Be sure to spit three times when you find the possessed in the presence of your children.

 

About Gloria Garfunkel

Gloria Garfunkel has a Ph.D. in Psychology and Social Relations from Harvard University and was a psychotherapist for 35 years, listening to others' stories. She is now a writer of flash fiction and memoir, telling her own tales.
This entry was posted in Essays. Bookmark the permalink.