Working Life

Wearing my disability with pride

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Science  15 Jul 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6296, pp. 318
DOI: 10.1126/science.353.6296.318

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  • RE: Mental Disability Matters to Society

    Thank you for your upbeat article.

    As a research physicist once employed in a large organization in the American Southwest, I acquired a work-stress related mental disability in the 1989-1990 time-frame. The condition recurred twice. All three times, I sought out and availed myself of medical intervention. Only since late 2005 have I been able to interact productively once again with other scientists, even doing important, cutting edge research. Presently I am retired, with income from a retirement pension. Before onset of the condition, I was self-centered in my goals at work and outside of work. After the last recurrence ended well enough in 2005 to get back to work (though now unpaid), I have been increasingly other-centered, caring much more for the needs and aspirations of those met in daily life, both offline and online. Thus, no matter how negative a non-disabled or 'abled' person might think a depressive's or other mentally ill colleague's symptoms are, it matters to offer a non-judgmental, helping hand when one is down, as an ill person can not only become well again but also be transformed by the crucible experience of suffering into one who now serves others more than himself or herself. That can matter, one life at a time so helped.

    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • RE: Me too
    • Silvio Pitlik, Physician, Visiting Scientist, Weizmann Institute of Science

    Excellent article! As a 70 year old physician, I live a very happy and productive life and I plan to keep doing it for many years to come. I have a very long list of disabilities which could have easily resulted in depression and polypharmacy (both very ubiquitous conditions in our contemporary heavily medicalized world, especially in persons of my age). However, my so called disabilities are successfully neutralized by my positive attitudes. The former include obsessive compulsive as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorders, and a mild anti-social behavior which could have granted me with an honorable diagnosis and placed myself in the widening spectrum of autism. In addition, significant insomnia, and periods of extremely “up” elevated and energized behavior possibly linked to a family history of bipolar disease. I systematically have avoided taking medications dubbed as "quality of life improving drugs" with their not uncommon and occasionally serious adverse effects. Instead I have positively and assertively "canalized" my disabilities into productive, beneficial and happiness generating actions. For example waking up early to my most productive hours, routinely and meticulously performing "boring" home tasks such as washing dishes by hand, keeping places in strict order, learning constantly to be with myself, accepting my restricted needs of socialization, doing and finishing many tasks in parallel as well as many other benefic...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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