Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I'm not a bitch, I've got a histrionic personality disorder (and a boob job)!


Where do you draw the line between sincere mental illness and just plain poor behavior?

Maybe it's just because it's the holidays, time to swap news, office gossip, and smile politely while relatives act totally inappropriately, but I suddenly find myself questioning:

When do these symptoms:

"pervasive disregard for the law and the rights of others."
"a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and a lack of empathy"
"pervasive attention-seeking behavior including inappropriate sexual seductiveness and shallow or exaggerated emotions "

become A) antisocial personality disorder B)histrionic personality disorder or C) narcissistic personality disorder instead of pervasive Bitchiness disorder? Does a diagnosis excuse poor behavior? It probably does to the person who is so self-obsessed that they exhibit "an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the culture of the individual who exhibits it".

Who out there knows someone who behaves innappropriately and doesn't think anything at all is wrong with their actions?

I've had the pleasure of meeting several women with these issues, one actually diagnosed, excused from her job responsibilities, and now eligible for disability benefits. For being a class A bitch.

Thanks to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personality_disorder for the info.

Sure, this is mostly just me having an ax to grind, and grinding it even harder once I looked up the diagnosis of acquaintences past (currently gestating, Merry Christmas!).

But I'm curious what other inexcusable behavior we can describe with syndromes (genocidal tendencies, fetal gnoshing disorder, perenial tardiness?), and then whether or not it would be worthwhile to take the viewpoint of the patient, the person making the diagnosis, or maybe the people living with the consequences, and do some dramatic dialogues. DRAMAtic dialogues? Probably pretty bad, eh? But if you didn't know/secretly dream of watching get run over by garbage truck someone with the disorder, then maybe it would just be an opportunity for dark humor? Or maybe lots of people know people with the disorder (booger displacement anxiety) and they would sympathize with the loved one struggling to steer her spouse through the tumult of dealing with such a socially devastating problem?

Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Almost Complete Face Transplant



The first U.S. face transplant is the most complete one ever attempted. While it's nothing like what spy movies might have hopefuls thinking, that this is the ultimate plastic surgery or a better alternative to the witness protection program, for some folks who have been severely mauled or traumatized, this surgery may be the start of a new life.

To get more details follow links to article and photos:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/18/health/s18face.html?partner=permalink&exprod=permalink



The doctor in charge of the team of specialists who performed the surgery responded to some criticism that the surgery is dangerous and unnecessary. She spoke about people who couldn't live normal lives because their faces were so destroyed. The soundbite that really got me was, "You need the face to face the world."

I can't stop thinking about The Phantom of the Opera, and how underneath all the Andrew Lloyd Webber there is a story that validates Dr. Maria Siemionow's point. Can you imagine life severely disfigured? Getting a face transplant? Waking up with a new face?

I watched a bad Lifetime movie about a brain transplant...a model's brain ends up in a housewife's body. It sounds like a comedy, but it was actually sort of disturbing. How much does a person identify themselves as their body? Who do you become, what does your life become, not when your body is damaged, but when it is changed to an almost normal version of some one else?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thanks HFR Blog


The HFR blog recently hosted a holiday blog poem/fiction contest with several prize subscriptions to Hayden's Ferry Review, gift subscriptions for a friend or loved one, and a free back issue of my favorite issue, #42 The Grotesque.

Thanks to the intern judging the contest, I won! To read my Diwali poem, follow this link: http://haydensferryreview.blogspot.com/2008/holiday-blog-contestpoetry_12.html

A poetry contributor from issue 42 also won a place in the contest with her beautiful poem! Congrats to Lauren Berry.