Monday, September 12, 2016

Mental illness IS irrational

That is the point!

Mentally healthy people are rational and reasonable (within the bounds of human fallibility!).
They are not driven or paralysed by amplified anxieties, phobias, mood swings, suicidal thoughts, depression, "black clouds", ...

Yet, often people struggle to understand and/or be empathetic with someone suffering from mental illness because they are not thinking and/or acting in a "rational" manner.

This dismissal or diminishing of what is going on can even be done by a sufferer themself, "I know I am having all these crazy thoughts and feelings, but I know they are crazy so it does not matter.... I don't need to get help."
The person is so far gone that they actually think that their irrational thoughts are rational. It is everyone else who is crazy...

Here two good recent articles about mental health by physicists.

The plight of the postdocs: Academia and mental health

There’s an awful cost to getting a PhD that no one talks about


  1. I suppose a salient question to ask would be:
    is there a reason to believe it is better outside? If so, on what foundation does this belief rest?

  2. On that thread, here is another link from Quartz:

    For a 40-year old, this is not good news for the jobs market for the remainder of their working life (plus some, assuming the retirement age does not go to 75 by then).

  3. BTW, I think there's some room to dispute the opening sentence. :-)

  4. The grass is always greener elsewhere -but I think that too is a symptom of the illness.

    Ross, I applaud you for pointing at these issues, not once, but repeatedly, and with a what I consider to be proper attitude.
    Maybe the readers for which this is most applicable do not respond often, but I do think those readers benefit from this.

    Keep up the good work - both in good science (I do not see a "PRB-only CV" as necessarily indicating this is not a good scientist, possibly on the contrary!) and paying attention to the human beings that try to do good science.
    Thank you.