January 24, 2010
On Being Sane in Insane Places
psuedopatient – a researcher who poses as a patient
aloofness - indifference by personal withdrawal; "emotional distance"
It was really interesting and slightly horrifying to witness what the hospital attendants and nurses would do to the patients- not that they did horrible things to them, but that they didn’t do much. The average amount of time spent with the patients was extraordinarily low, and when doctors did interract with the patients, it was brief and hardly personal at all. It seems to me that the patients are dehumanized and viewed as patients, not as people with mental disorders.
Another thing that really stood out was the fact that the bathrooms had no doors… these people are self-aware, despite having a mental problem. They can still feel embarrassed, but thanks to labelling, (as stated in the essay) “Eventually the patient himself accepts the diagnosis, with all of its surplus meanings and expectations, and behaves accordingly.” It’s a cyclical pattern of diagnosis and behavior.
The very last paragraph before the summary really got me to think about what makes people insane… the environment contributes a lot, and so the people admitted into a mental hospital who know their diagnosis will continue to learn to be those helpess “crazy” people.