Monday, July 8, 2013

We're All a Little Bit Crazy

We’re All a Little Bit Crazy: Removing the Stigma of Mental Illness
Stuart A. Ross

Whether it’s midterm season, taking care of the family, or the stresses of the workplace, haven’t we all wondered at some point if we’re just a little bit crazy? Dr. Stuart A. Ross explores this very topic in his book We’re All A Little Bit Crazy. Fortunately, the book is written for the non-specialist, casual reader who is interested in learning about this fascinating and relevant subject.

Dr. Ross’s hypothesis is that no one is really intrinsically crazier than anyone else and that it is our formative environments and experiences that largely shape our mental health. Instead of seeing those struggling with mental health as outcasts, we should realize that such patients could have been any one of us under different circumstances. Some of us—whether through a healthy upbringing or sheer genetics—are fortunate enough to achieve more optimal mental health. Others, traumatized by childhood abuse and difficulties, are far more likely to develop psychological disorders. This is a simple yet powerful message that Dr. Ross supports with his own observations based on his years of experience with many patients and the latest research in mental health.

We’re All A Little Crazy highlights that there should be no stigma associated with mental health. Mental health problems are very real and present issues and the victim should not be blamed. Dr. Ross describes many horrific cases of individuals who have endured trauma while growing up and the psychological problems that they have developed as a result. One realizes that anyone who has undergone such trauma would have enormous difficulty achieving mental health. As Dr. Ross notes at the outset of the book, he includes some descriptions of situations and experiences that may be disturbing. Nevertheless, this is a succinct and eye-opening look into the horrors that many people around us must live and cope with.

Written in a refreshingly simple, honest, yet considered manner, Dr. Ross bridges the gap between the general public and the enigmatic profession of mental health treatment. Reading this book has personally helped me realize how fortunate I am to have had a relatively healthy upbringing. By the same token, after reading this book, I am also more comfortable coming to terms with the darker moments of my life, which have had an equally valid impact in shaping who I am today. Ultimately, I think that Dr. Ross’s book is such a valuable read because it reinforces our shared humanity, a sufficient reason to argue against judging one another based on any criteria.

- Mike Fan

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