27 July 2012

So James Holmes, the Batman shooter, was seeing a psychiatrist. Epic fail. The New York Times reports that she was director of his school's student health program (the one at my school was terrible) and had an interest in the neurobiology of schizophrenia.

4 comments:

lostgander said...

Did it say if he was on medication? He was withdrawing from school, anyway, so he'd probably already given up on her. Regardless, I'm sure she feels horrible.

wrenna said...

It certainly looked like he was medicated at his hearing in court. He's 24, and mid-twenties is a common age of onset for schizophrenia. Usually before fully-fledged psychosis sets in the illness has something called a predrome, a period over which thinking begins to become more confused or difficult, which could lead to trouble in school and/or be mistaken for depression, as it was in my case. Going off of antipsychotic medication could lead to a more rapid onset of psychosis, but it sounds like he was an academic straight arrow up until quite recently. The article was about how he'd sent the psychiatrist a package of personal material, so maybe he was looking for some kind of final response from her? My university psychiatrist refused to treat me when I wouldn't take medication and I question how much she ever cared to go out of her way to engage me. If this kid struck most people who knew him as anonymous there's no reason to think it would be different with professionals.

lostgander said...

That's true. Perceived anonymity is often an effective cloak for all sorts of pain, maladjustment, and inner turmoil.

I've often toyed with the idea of entering the mental health field in some capacity but I fear the possible desensitization, disengagement, and/or burnout that seems endemic to the field. As I've already noticed in myself a tendency to lose my passion for something once I am in a position to practice it in a professional setting, I don't think I'd be a good candidate. While I enjoy talking to people in an informal capacity about personal issues and offering counsel, I would hate to lose my feelings of empathy toward them were I to be constrained by the bureaucracy of an institutional structure (be it physical or theoretical).

wrenna said...

There are always people who need help with things you can volunteer for, like crisis lines and helping people apply for social programs, here. I don't know how far that translates to what you have in the US. A truly empathetic and interested person such as yourself can change someone's life and their whole orientation towards society.