Recently, I have been reminded of a list I saw posted on a bulletin board about 15-20 years ago. I really wish I had copied it back then!
It was a list of (I believe ten) traits common to people with mental illness. This was not a list that would be considered technical or authoritative (i.e., not out of DSM - any edition !). In fact, it was quasi-folklorish in nature.
At the time I read it, I was struck by the fact that the person whom I believed to have posted it displayed many of the traits on the list. I also realized, to my regret, that I could see some of the same traits in myself, and that awareness helped me to expand my horizons and start examining my thought processes in a new and - I hope - more mature way.
I would love to find that list again, and I wonder whether anyone who is reading this has any idea of what I am talking about? I have conducted a Yahoo! search, so far without results.
Among the items that I recall was the tendency to blame others for one's own mistakes. I do recall a few other items even more fuzzily, but I will refrain from listing them here, lest I appear to start pointing fingers.
I hope some of you interesting, intelligent, creative thinkers in Hubberland will offer some suggestions here. Now that I have posted this, I will have to be away for a while.
But.... "Ahee'll be beggkk." [Turns around confidently and menacingly and exits, stage left.]
"Among the items that I recall was the tendency to blame others for one's own mistakes." Doesn't sound like mental illness to me.
"I also realized, to my regret, that I could see some of the same traits in myself,". Maybe you post a list to give us some context.
I wish I could remember the entire list! That is the reason for posting this - hoping someone else has seen it somewhere and can point me in the right direction. At the time I saw it, I was under the impression that it was one of those poster-type lists that were going the rounds and that everyone else (everyone but me up until that point) had seen. It may have appeared in a magazine originally.
There is not just one mental illness, each has it's own symptoms. Most of those symptom behaviors will also be shown by completely normal people some of the time.
Bottom line, the only person to diagnose a mental illness is a properly trained mental health professional--and even they will not always agree.
I'm very aware of this. I'm also aware that even among the more clearly defined mental illnesses, there is some overlapping of symptoms; and, as you say:
Absolutely, yes! [I know that my affirmation is meaningless - I'm merely saying that I am aware of what you are saying, and I realize that it is true.]
The list was not intended to be diagnostic in any way, shape or form. As I mentioned, it was not authoritative or technical, but more folklorish in nature. It appeared to me to be the type of list that someone would compile to help a person become aware that maybe they (or a loved one) might need some form of therapy or other treatment. The traits fell more in the area of neuroses than psychoses, from what I recall.
I think that the most comparable thing I have seen in recent years has been a list of traits that are common to abusers. I imagine you have seen the sort of thing I mean. The list is not intended for the professional, but for the person-on-the-street - so that if they see these traits in someone they know and love, they would have a form of support for their recognition that the traits taken altogether are not healthy. As you say, some of them can be found in many people at some point or another, and a professional must make the real diagnosis. But the list was intended as a tool to help the non-professional and to raise awareness.
In many cases there may be a fine line between mental illness and genius. Perhaps it depends upon the results produced by the bearer of such a mental state.
And yes, I think we do need to be aware, and to question-- without making a cut-and-dried assessment of what is which.
True - and sometimes there's not even a line between. There are and have been many geniuses who are/were mentally ill. I believe (but I haven't researched statistics) that may even be particularly true among creative geniuses.
The beauty of the list that I mentioned in the OP was that it can help people to look at themselves and question their own thought processes. "You mean other people may not think exactly the way I do? You mean other people can't read my mind? You mean my sister-in-law's rudeness does not necessarily mean that the world is going to hell?"
I can't help but think that someone's reaction may be closer to an addict, denial.. or "I'm not crazy, everyone else is!"
Isn't it Carl Jung who said that, "Show me a sane man and I will cure him ..."
Was it a list that may have showed up in the Ann Landers type articles?
I remember seeing that kind of list "everywhere". Maybe these days they're more careful about publishing that kind of thing. I know the list you mean. It used to show up in all kinds of places.
I do recall that not being able to maintain long-term relationships was one on the list. Having trouble making and keeping friends was in there. Generally not being able to get along with people (as opposed to having a person or two, here or there, with whom one can't get along very well) was one. Frequent run-ins with the law was another one.
When I did my Hub on paranoid personality disorder it was clear that so many personality disorders often have many traits in common. Maybe these days, with so much more awareness of personality disorders, as opposed to the disorder that fall under psychosis (schizophrenic, paranoid-schizophrenic, etc.), people are just more careful not to lump the different types of mental illness than they once were.
Personality disorders may be the group most needing a list, that's the one most likely to leave people who know the person wondering, "What's with him?" I don't know if it's absolutely all, but most of the other types of disorders are fairly easily recognized by people around the person and/or by the person, himself. People with personality disorders don't recognize it in themselves. It's unfortunate, too, because some of those are said to be among the easier for doctors to help.
Anyway, I know this isn't the list you had in mind; but based on my own recollection of the list that used to be floating around in magazines, books, etc., it includes a lot of the same kinds of things in it:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/person … N=symptoms
It is the list of symptoms of the different types of personality disorders. (If this particular list is useless in your research disregard it, of course. )
This is VERY helpful, Lisa - thank you! I checked the link and was reminded of all kinds of people and situations I have encountered in the past. And thank you also for mentioning your recollection of the list. I have a very clear memory of where I read it, and it's nice to know that I really am not the only one who saw it (or others similar to it).
As I say, the link was very helpful, but when I tried to follow it, it didn't connect initially. It was kind of weird, in fact - probably a glitch with my browser. But I did get through eventually. Thanks again.
Aficionada, one thing I do know about that list is that it was around before 1992. Oddly enough, it was something I was glad to have been familiar with when I left my marriage and "certain people" () called the "authorities" to say they "were worried about me" (because, of course, I "must have been crazy" to take my three kids and leave my marriage ). Anyway, I had been picked up by the local police ( ), and as I was in the backseat of the car one policeman asked me to describe what I "thought" good mental health was. Having seen that list time and again, I was able to name off a good number of those things. It made me far less scared-to-death because I knew I could easily prove to "anyone" that I had lots of long-term friends, a reputation for getting along well with even difficult people at work, etc. etc.
So, unrelated to your thread as my unpleasant little story is, the moral to the story is: "It doesn't hurt to learn what the signs of good mental health are. You never know when - out of the blue - you may find yourself being picked up by the police because someone called and said they were worried about you." (Today I can, as they say, "look back on it and laugh". ) (well, sort of )
Wow, that is a terrific and amazing story!! Thank you so much for sharing it.
It is so true that some people can use or threaten with the label of mental illness for their own ends. What a relief to have a good foundational awareness of what it means to have good mental health!
That is so interesting that you mentioned that date. In trying to pin it down myself, based on my own memories, I came up with some time between 1988 and 1995, leaning more towards the earlier part of that range.
Other than knowing it was 1992 when I referred to something that was really old and familiar to me, I'm trying to think of the circumstances under which I was doing that kind of reading. If I think of something more certain I'll post, but I'm even wondering if it may have been in the late 1970's (when I was reading a lot of psychology books and magazines like Psychology Today). I'm thinking there's a chance it could have been out there in the mid 1970's or maybe earlier. Maybe it came from some old reference books. Maybe it came from the self-help era. What was that - 1960's/early 1970's? (I was kind of too young to be interested in that kind of reading at the time, but I remember all self-help people showing up on TV.)
Then again, I was into a lot of reading and research in the late 80's (1988 on); so if that list wasn't something dug up from a previous time, I'm leaning toward the late 80's. I just know hold old, old, it was to me by the time there was the 1992 incident.
Self-help gurus could very well have been the source of this. I may end up getting motivated to do some research at the local library! That may be easier than the internet, where periodicals are concerned.
Thanks for all your input. Let me know if any more details come to mind. I'm heading off to bed now, but I'll check this thread some time tomorrow.
I do know it's 100% safe to rule out 1992 and later. Absolutely certain about that, anyway.
This certainly isn't the list you have in mind, but I went looking for it before signing off. I ran into this list of traits that differential what would be considered "eccentric" (and a "happy eccentric") from what would be considered mental illness (in which happiness is generally not one of the traits).
Anyway, here's the happy-eccentric list. (It kind of made me want to meet a "happy eccentric" ):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eccentrici … ehavior%29
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