- The “patient” has an incentive to overestimate the extent of his illness, since he can “get away” with certain things by claiming to be more sick than he is
- People around the patient have an incentive to underestimate the extent of illness. They think the person is claiming illness only to extract sympathy and get away with things that would be otherwise not permissible
- The second point here leads to internal conflict in the patient, as he can’t express himself fully (since others tend to underestimate). Feelings of self-doubt begin to creep in, and only make the problem worse
- There are no laboratory tests in order to detect most kinds of “mental illness”. Diagnosis is “clinical” (eg. if 8 out of following 10 check boxes are ticked, patient suffers from XYZ). This leads to errors in diagnosis
- The method of diagnosis also leads to a lot of people in believing that psychiatry is unscientific and some reduce it to quackery. So there is little the medical profession can do to help either the patient or people around him
- That diagnosis is subjective means patients have incentive to claim they’re under-diagnosed and people around are incentivized to say they’re over-diagnosed
- I don’t think the effect of a lot of medicines to cure mental illness have been studied very rigorously. There are various side effects (some cause you to sleep more, others cause you to sleep less, some cause impotence, others increase your mojo, and so on ), and these medicines are slow to act making it tough to figure out their efficacy.
- There is a sort of stigma associated with admitting to mental illness. Even if one were to “come out” to people close to him/her, those people might dissuade the patient from “coming out” to a larger section of people
- If you were to be brave and admit to mental illness, people are likely to regard you as a loser, and someone who gives up too soon. That’s the last thing you need! And again, the underestimate-overestimate bias kicks in.
- Some recent studies, though, show a positive correlation between mental illness and leadership and being able to see the big picture. So there is some hope, at least.
Back when I was in school (11th/12th) I think I was an awesome coder. I think I was especially good at what they called as “logic coding”, i.e. coming up with algos. I used to experiment quite a bit (as much was possible with TurboC) and had a lot of fun too. I remember doing graphics in TurboC, making a “pong” game, brick breaker, and a lot of other cool stuff. For our 12th standard project, Hareesh and I built this totally awesome cricket scoring program, which we unfortunately didn’t take forward (and went to college instead).
It was my love for coding that meant I fought with my parents (who wanted me to study Electrical) and decided to study Computer Science at IIT Madras. And then I lost it. Somewhere along the way. I didn’t enjoy coding any more. Soon, I began to hate coding. I would love coding when I would write the odd program in “pure” C, or when I would participate in contests such as BITWise. But I’d completely lost it.
So over the last six to seven years (after I graduated from IIT) there have been occasions when I have thought I’ve regained my coding mojo, only to lose it again very soon. I’m still very proud of that Excel+VBA model that I had written in the very first week of my third job. But a couple of months later, I was hating coding again. And so it was while debugging a complicated piece of code at work this morning that I realize why I have this love-hate relationship with coding.
It’s simple – basically I hate coding for others. I hate writing code that others will read or use. I don’t mind writing code that others would use as a black box, of course. But I think writing code that others will read or use puts too many constraints on the way you code. My instinct is always to stop doing something when I’m personally satisfied with it, and with code it seems like I’m satisfied sooner than others would be satisfied with my code.
At a fundamental level, I like coding and I think I’m pretty good at it, so it isn’t something I want to give up. But then the formal processes and endless testing involved with writing code for others really kills joy (as does GUI, and Java). Code saves a lot of time, and helps “studdize” what might be otherwise fighter work, so I like doing it.
In an ideal world, I would be writing code that I would alone be using, AND profiting from it (I never intend to sell code; I intend to sell the results of the said code, however; that would mean no one else would read/use my code per se, so I can write it the way I want). Hopefully I’ll get there, sometime.