Swamp56

5+ Year Member
Jul 26, 2009
72
0
Boston, MA
Status
Pre-Psychology
Ok, I'm a psych student (as you can see below my avatar lol), and I also suffer from chronic mental illness. I was just wondering if there are any other psych students out there who plan to specialize in abnormal psychology that suffer from a chronic, or disabling mental illness.

The way I see it, I'll have a better understanding of where patients would come from since I have suffered from a few different illnesses myself, and I would be able to give them advice based upon personal experience.

It's funny, because I have yet to start my freshman year (classes being on Sept. 1st), and last time I was in the ER for psych reasons, the doctors were all amazed at my understanding of what was going on in my mind, and how I was basically able to tell them what was wrong not only down to a category of illness, but to the illness itself.
 

Mulsum

7+ Year Member
Apr 24, 2009
24
0
Status
Psychology Student
Wow, what a can of worms. This is probably one of the more controversial questions in the field, I imagine.

It's pretty well known how many people are drawn to a psych major after being in therapy for a serious disorder themselves. This is great, but of course there's some caveats..

For one, and most importantly, I think you should be honest with yourself and really, truly try to find out if you want to help others, or if you want to figure out yourself. You have a lot of time to do this, being a freshman, but you'd be better off finding this out now, rather than when you're graduating. You don't need a psychology BA to learn more about yourself.

The other caution, I think, is to ensure that you're at a level of mental healthiness which isn't hindering your ability to work. I don't know if there are any legal restrictions, but naturally there are some really serious moral questions here. For the same reason you wouldn't want your bartender to be drunk; you don't want the person helping you to be in great need of help themselves.

But that isn't to say that psychologists never have psychological problems - it's merely a thing to keep in mind.
 
OP
Swamp56

Swamp56

5+ Year Member
Jul 26, 2009
72
0
Boston, MA
Status
Pre-Psychology
Wow, what a can of worms. This is probably one of the more controversial questions in the field, I imagine.

It's pretty well known how many people are drawn to a psych major after being in therapy for a serious disorder themselves. This is great, but of course there's some caveats..

For one, and most importantly, I think you should be honest with yourself and really, truly try to find out if you want to help others, or if you want to figure out yourself. You have a lot of time to do this, being a freshman, but you'd be better off finding this out now, rather than when you're graduating. You don't need a psychology BA to learn more about yourself.

The other caution, I think, is to ensure that you're at a level of mental healthiness which isn't hindering your ability to work. I don't know if there are any legal restrictions, but naturally there are some really serious moral questions here. For the same reason you wouldn't want your bartender to be drunk; you don't want the person helping you to be in great need of help themselves.

But that isn't to say that psychologists never have psychological problems - it's merely a thing to keep in mind.
I have been interested with psychology since before the onset of my illness; most of my life I've been fascinated how the human mind works, always watching people's behavior and actions.

I'm not just doing psychology to find myself, but rather to go into a major that I truly love and find interesting. I've been enrolled as a psych major since before I became ill.
 

erg923

Regional Clinical Officer, Centene Corporation
10+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2007
9,798
3,490
Louisville, KY
Status
Psychologist
All this is fine, but noone wants a medically or mentally compromised physician or psychologist, so I would recommend keeping this to yourself if you deciede to pursue med school or graduate education in psych. Professor and admission committes will find this off puttting, and will question your ability to make sound judgments if they know you have a history of major psychaitric illness.
 
OP
Swamp56

Swamp56

5+ Year Member
Jul 26, 2009
72
0
Boston, MA
Status
Pre-Psychology
All this is fine, but noone wants a medically or mentally compromised physician or psychologist, so I would recommend keeping this to yourself if you deciede to pursue med school or graduate education in psych. Professor and admission committes will find this off puttting, and will question your ability to make sound judgments if they know you have a history of major psychaitric illness.
The only people who know about my illness are my doctors, parents/friends, and the health people at my university. I have to let them know in case I relapse (my thinking becomes impaired when relapsing).

I would never let my patients know that I had mental illness; I mean, I am mentally stable as long as I'm on my meds (and I never forget to take them), so it's not like I"m mentally compromised.

The way I look at it is that I can relate with patients and how they feel.
 

erg923

Regional Clinical Officer, Centene Corporation
10+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2007
9,798
3,490
Louisville, KY
Status
Psychologist
The way I look at it is that I can relate with patients and how they feel.
This is also a dangerous assumption to make. In fact, this can sometimes be even worse than a total disconnect. You would never tell a patient "I know how you feel" either, because, well..,you dont. Each feeling is unique to that persons life experience. Although there are basic emotions that the field agrees exist universally, conducting therapy based upon your perceptions/point of view rather than the patient's (even if you dont say it explictly) shows, and patients more often than not will feel that you are denying their individuality.

"Relating" to a patient is not neccasary. You are always gonna have patients who come from different walks of life than you, and you are not gonna be able to relate to all of them, or most of them frankly. What is important is that you are making an effort to put yourself in their shoes (ie., empathy), treating them as an individual, and not making assumptions that they way you felt when X happened is the way they felt when it X happened. Not "relating" is often good because you are forced to expand your mind, test against your preconconcieved notions and/or hypotheses (ie., the foundation of science) and reconsider/reevaluate your conceptualization of the clinical picture.
 
Last edited: