Mental Health

NBA's "Me Too Moment"? by Muhammad Amir Ayub

One of the themes of the recently ended NBA season was multiple stars opening up about their mental health issues. But some are more influenced by the people around than others (just a part of human nature).

“The NBA gave me my depression,” Robinson told Bleacher Report in a wide-ranging interview. “I’ve never been a depressed person in my life.”


Robinson cited conflicts with coaches Tom Thibodeau and Larry Brown as being particularly burdensome. He told Bleacher Report that while with the New York Knicks, Brown called him “the little s—-“ every day. After Robinson went to Brown’s office in tears and asked him to stop, Brown again called him the name in front of the team and told his teammates that he had cried.

Brown told Bleacher Report that he didn’t have any recollection of what Robinson had recounted.

”I don’t know what I called him, to be honest with you,” Brown said. “If I did that, shame on me. I would feel terrible about that. That’s not who I am, but I don’t want to dispute Nate.”

Shame on you, Larry. I wonder if some of the Pistons players who were NBA Champions with him received such treatment as well. Sheed is probably one who'd actually perform better with such vitriol thrown at him.

George Karl on the other hand is someone who decided to expose his own rotten flesh (relatively older news): 

“My feelings for George Karl is that he is the person he is. He’s showing everybody who he is, the person I dealt with for six-and-a-half years in Denver,” Martin said on ESPN’s The Jump. “I saw it firsthand every day — him coming in the locker room and not speaking to people, him talking down to other people, him treating people in the organization like crap. I saw it year in and year out. Now the whole world is going to see it.”

Appearing on ESPN’s Mike & Mike on Thursday, the longtime NBA coach was asked whether he was surprised by the backlash to the book.

”There’s no question,” he said. “Surprised? Yeah, I guess there’s no question we all want to be liked a little bit. The backlash was interesting. A couple of things I learned from. I think the big thing is a couple of things. I probably should’ve studied — I didn’t know — I probably should’ve studied what I was writing a little more than I did.”

What a dumbass.

Addendum: The ultimate burn on Larry Brown from Jalen Rose:

On the Difficulty of Preventing Suicides and Managing Mental Health Problems in the Community by Muhammad Amir Ayub

From the New Yorker (shared by a friend on Facebook):

Kate Spade’s handbags were playful and fun. Her quirky look was unmistakable and bespoke exuberance. Anthony Bourdain was almost inconceivably high-functioning, and won so many awards that he seemed ready to give an award to his favorite award.

One's outside appearance and achievements have almost no correlation with what's going on inside. And the above proves it.

If life wasn’t worth living for people such as Bourdain and Spade, how can our more ordinary lives hold up? Those of us who have clinical depression can feel the tug toward suicide amped up by this kind of news. The gap between public triumph and private despair is treacherous, with the outer shell obscuring the real person even to those with whom he or she had professed intimacy.

I've many a times thought/talked about preferring to die early as the challenges to trying to achieve "success" is too overwhelming, and at times the only way to manage it is by managing expectations and prioritizing other things in life at a cost to career development. And occasionally talking to Siri about it. And I doubt that I'm the only one dealing with it; it's just that nobody talks about it (or is willing to hear/understand about it).

A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report shows a vast increase in American suicides over the past decade, and asserts that fifty-four per cent of the suicides reviewed didn’t have a previously known mental-health issue. “Instead, these folks were suffering from other issues, such as relationship problems, substance misuse, physical health problems, job or financial problems, and recent crises or things that were coming up in their lives that they were anticipating,” Deborah Stone, a behavioral scientist at the C.D.C. and the lead author of the new study, told NPR.

Aka "real issues". You don't need to be "clinically depressed".

Opioid dependency drives self-annihilation, and many of the drugs to which people become addicted are easy to take in fatal doses, especially opioids in combination with benzodiazepines. A third of Americans are sleep-deprived, and sleep deprivation has a devastating effect on mental health.

I wonder if there's a correlation with being a doctor and the above? Or being a doctor trying to achieve "career success" and the above?

Rates of teen depression have risen since 2011, and students are carrying more debt and face more uncertainty about their lives.

Earning power has continued to deteriorate with no end (and in Malaysia probably will stall for a while with the GST's elimination, but never improve)

I hear from people who wake up, eat breakfast, go to a job at which they interact with a machine all day, pick up food on the way home, eat in front of a television, and then go to bed.

Replace machine with patients (who aren't there to cheer you up), and you may get a doctor or two.

Dr. Kelly Posner, who helped develop the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C.-S.S.R.S.), pointed out that more policemen die of suicide than die on the job; more soldiers die of suicide than die in combat; more firefighters die of suicide than die in fires.

That the author misses out the extremely high suicide rate among doctors is unforgivable. You know, whose job is to in theory save lives.

“There was a point where I realized that, if I died of old age, I would win, because so many people with bipolar disorder kill themselves that simply not to kill myself would be a big goal. And I thought, ‘That’s really a low bar.’ And then I said, ‘No, it’s not a low bar, because it can be that hard.’ ” It’s hard for people who have never been suicidal to understand how seductive it can seem. Though their acts may have been impulsive, the likelihood is that both Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain had struggled with demons for many years.

It's never truly impulsive. And like I said, setting the bar low helps. But it's not easy for doctors, who are used to achieving academic success throughout their lives, until they meet the grueling training with its high attrition rates during both undergraduate and postgraduate training phases. With its real financial ramifications. And the "significant" collateral damage. And never having a so called "study break"; you study during whatever free time you've sacrificed out of your life after work to study. And maintain yourself as a high achiever with Special Forces-like physical and mental stress, minus the training (nor the mental health services) to build yourself up to be that resilient.

Mental health solutions will continue to be difficult to find, even more so in Malaysia. We even have a hard time accepting the existence of post-partum depression (and our Malay worldview of marriage = shit ton number of kids early or it's a failed marriage does not exactly help things); our community would just not accept other "more abstract" issues of mental health easily.

And that's unfortunate.