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CHAT: conlangs and mental illness

From:Ed Heil <edheil@...>
Date:Thursday, May 13, 1999, 23:58
>===== Original Message From Constructed Languages List
<CONLANG@...> =====
>On Thu, 13 May 1999, Eli Naeher wrote: > >> It certainly does >> seem as if the incidence of mental illness is unusually high on this list, >> which makes me even more inclined to think that "mental illness" is simply >> societally legitimized prejudice. > >I think you may be right. The other possibility (that conlanging is a >symptom of mental disorder) doesn't appeal to me.
I think it's more likely that creativity correlates with some kinds of mental disorder, including the one most frequently cited on the list, mild to moderate depression.
>I've never been under treatment for mental illness (I know I'm not >unique, but we may be a minority), and it strikes me that nearly all >the *Americans* have - I read once that 80% of American adults and >60% of American teenagers have, sometime in their life, been treated >for mental disorder. Is it really a cultural thing, that is, is the >threshold for actually going to see a shrink so much lower in the >United States than in Europe, or is it that the absolute incidence of >mental illness is higher in the United States than in Europe?
I happen to be married to someone with some fairly serious mental illness, and having known her in times when she could and couldn't afford treatment, I have a fairly rosy picture of the value of competent, effective psychiatric care. (I also know how difficult it can be to find competent and effective care for a particular person.) (The time a couple years ago when I suffered from depression serious enough to seek treatement for was related to the stress of helping my wife, then girlfriend, during a very difficult period. I would not have thought of seeking treatment except that I was already familiar with the issues and possibilities from working with my wife. I had not yet discovered conlanging at the time, for what it's worth.) The only way I can imagine the 80%/60% statistics you mention being true, is if you count things like being prescribed tranquilizers for mild anxiety, which can be a fashionable thing for people to do, I guess. Valium and all that, Ritalin for the kids. But I think that's the sort of thing that you can write off to silly medical fads. On the other hand, people with serious mental illnesses in America often cannot get and hold jobs, which means they have no medical insurance, which means they don't get treated, which means that if they don't have a strong support system in the family they end up babbling on streetcorners and dying of frostbite in January. Ed -- Ed Heil * "When you get your Ph. D. How happy you will be When you get a job at Wendy's And are honored with 'Employee of the Month.'" -- Bare Naked Ladies, "Never Is Enough"