Spring is coming, flowers are blooming and the days are getting longer. What better way to celebrate than a critical analysis of the mental health system! My original draft of the Physics World article (I will shut up about it eventually, I swear!) joins a list of weird and wonderful blog posts I have planned for the next few months. Here are their previews.
Why has no one taken any measurements of my brain?
The original draft of the Physics World article that I sent to the editor. In it, I compare my experience as a PhD physicist and my treatment from psychiatrists. I shine a light on the unscientific nature of the psychiatric system and how it affected me personally. I posit a way in which it could be made more scientific.
Physics World article context #3 – the problem with rating scales
I am quite critical of rating scales in the article. To back up these criticisms I tell the story of when I had to fill them in, and why they are completely inadequate as a measurement tool
The quasi-Sisyphean mountain of belief
A significant part of my struggle with mental illness was determining what was a delusion and what was real. After years of identifying delusions, I came up with a simple diagram to describe what connects belief, delusion and objective reality. I then gave it a name: the quasi-Sisyphean mountain of belief.
Physics World article context #4 – why I didn’t put Venlafaxine in the article
In this blog post I tell the rather long story of why I chose not to include the fact I took the SNRI Venlafaxine during my PhD. It involves a misunderstanding of binding affinities, resulting in my inadvertent poisoning by the drug. At the dose I was taking, Venlafaxine was actually a weaker version of an SSRI, the antidepressant type that caused my severe reaction.
A short poem like thing that popped into my head during the worst of my illness.
Misconceptions about mental illness
During the editing and proofing process of the Physics World article, a few misconceptions slipped in. Most I believed too before I became mentally ill. Along with all the anguish that comes with mental illness, there was also surprise, as I slowly realised how wrong most of the common assumptions on mental health conditions were.
Why not use bodycams for experimental work?
During my experimental physics PhD, I conducted many experiments. There was a fine balance between doing the experiment and writing down all the stuff that was happening during it to ensure rigour. If I spent all the time taking notes, the experiment wouldn’t ever be completed. And if I didn’t take notes, then I would forget possible key settings that might be needed to publish the data. To save time, I thought, why not use a body cam? Like the ones police use. In this blog post, I tell the story of how that went.