Quote from mercyteapot
I facilitate a sibling support group and have run several different disability awareness workshops with hands on activities. It works for physical disabilities, because there are tangible barriers that people without disabilities can experience. Disorders of the psyche don't lend themselves to such activities, though. How do you simulate what it feels like to be so consumed with anxiety that you become inert? Or so incapacitated by depression that dying seems preferable to living?
Even if it were possible to design an activity to raise some awareness about how these disorders feel, I still find the concept of imagining having one of them "just for a while", until, presumably they serve their purpose offensive. You never hear anyone saying they'd like to have cancer for just long enough to lose 20 pounds, do you?
I'm sorry you were offended. I can only defend the classroom assignment based upon what I got from it. Basically, we researched various personality disorders and put on a skit that summarized our research. On the whole, I don't think it was the most useful time spent in nursing school, nor did it remotely compare to psych clinicals. I did learn some interesting things about the disorder we portrayed. I found a fascinating website by a man afflicted with narcissistic personality disorder--sorry, I don't recall the link, but it shouldn't be hard to Google. Truly, he did not seem to be having a lot of fun with it.
My intent, here, and I'll admit it was at least partly in jest, was to say that someone like me, dealing with my own minor neuroses, can see enviable attributes in the afflictions of others. Taken literally, you're right--it would be utterly ridiculous to say, "I wish I were agoraphobic."
I've experienced depression, and the only real advantage I can see to having done that is developing a degree of empathy with others going through it. I'll never tell someone they've just got to "snap out of it."
I might, if the circumstances seem appropriate, remark that the turning point for me seemed to be getting thoroughly pissed-off at the things that seemed to be depressing me, but I tend to think that might only be effective in a minority of milder cases. I might tell someone crippled with anxiety that talking your fears out with someone who understands can be therapeutic.
Again, I'm sorry my sense of humor seemed insensitive. That happens to me, sometimes, and it's ironic, because I'm actually very sensitive.
I do tend to find a lot of life funny; I thinks it's my way of coping, and it must be reasonably effective, since I'm generally pretty happy. I am often, but not always, the butt of my own humor--not because I hate myself, but simply because I'm most often there to catch myself doing funny things.
I don't mean this as a personal attack in any way--not to you or to Art Buchwald--but your sig line kind of depresses me. It seems like he's saying life has gotten so absurd that it isn't even funny, any more. I purely love to smile at the beauty of the "What is Love?" thread. I'm moved to tears by some of the posts on the "Male Nurse Crying" thread. I'm saddened, inspired, and outraged by some of the things I have seen in this world, but a lot of it makes me chuckle, or even guffaw.
Finally--and, again, not to be argumentative--I've met cancer patients who've said, "Well, at least I'm finally losing some weight..." or words to that effect.