Thoughts from Andrew

Illness

Our notion of what constitutes an illness is in constant flux. Defining something as an illness paves the way to good treatment and ensures that research gets funded.

But the term illness can be dangerously stigmatizing. Some people seek reparative treatments or cures, while others eschew them and find the very idea of illness anathema.

Everyone is flawed and strange; most people are valiant, too. The reasonable corollary to the queer experience is that everyone has a defect, that everyone…

"I was in the elevator at Johns Hopkins hospital for one of my daughter’s treatments. I was carrying her on the elevator. This other mother got…

"I sometimes wonder which has had a bigger effect on my life—my dwarfism, or my depression and all the other depression around me. The dwarfism…

In 1968, the ethicist Joseph Fletcher wrote in the Atlantic Monthly that there was "no reason to feel guilty about putting a Down’s syndrome baby…

A psychiatrist I met described a patient who was a math genius, IQ 140, fully verbal, but very socially disabled. When the pretty woman at the counter…

"My husband will sometimes say, 'Would you marry me again?’ I say, 'Yeah, but not with the kids.’ Had we known what we know now, we wouldn't…

"I’d like nothing more than for my daughter to develop the kind of consciousness that would allow her to join the neurodiversity movement. If Anna…

The betrayal of schizophrenia is its irrational juxtaposition of things that vanish and things that don’t.

Paul and Freda, who now have two sons, live in terror of seeing them develop schizophrenia. They considered using a sperm donor, but couldn’t bring…

And when I tried to find the lover to show her how much I loved her, all I found was emptiness and frenzy with that loud sound in the background drowning…

"It's almost as if in our social order we've learned to mask and hide. Schizophrenics cut right through that. For all of her contentiousness and…

When they finally interred her son Sam’s ashes, Sara Hadden said, "Let me bury here the rage I feel to have been twice robbed: once of the child…

"I don't believe that we'll have an empty-nest problem. I think that would have been very different with a normal child, so I get sad about not being…

"From the age of three until the age of twelve, three times a week, women who were older than I was, who were more powerful than I was, who had more…

"Genius is an abnormality, and abnormalities do not come one at a time. Many gifted kids have ADD or OCD or Asperger’s. When the parents are confronted…

Marina James said she related to veterans returning from Iraq. "They've seen horrific things that they could never express. They come home and they…

"I named my daughter Eliza. Sad news is she was born dead." Six months later, she gave up Marcus; he was placed with a foster family that was…

Mirveta was 20 and illiterate; her husband had abandoned her because of the pregnancy. "He was a healthy little boy and Mirveta had produced him,"…

A man killed her family, including her husband and three children, took her in sexual slavery for the duration of the genocide, and then fled. She gave…

"This is the absolute worst thing you could have possibly done. I couldn’t have imagined anything this bad, and I can’t imagine anything worse.…

In California’s juvenile facilities, "Youths in solitary confinement are often fed what officials call 'blender meals,’ in which a bologna sandwich,…

Spending time with criminals, I have been struck by the fact that some have poor impulse control and some are weak or stupid or destructive, but many…

When I asked the Klebolds what they would want to ask Dylan if he were in the room with us, Tom said, "I’d ask him what the hell he was thinking…

"He’s my daughter," one mother explained to me as she introduced her transgender son.

"A male child who says, 'I must be a girl because only girls want to do these things,’ is not showing evidence of being transgender; he’s showing…

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