School Week 32. Year 31. Big numbers. I suppose I should have noticed this last time, when I could have written week 31 of year 31, but I don’t see any special significance to that other than the symmetry. 

We had a rare full week. Monday through Friday. No breaks. No late starts. I don’t think I’ve ever seen students so tired, a direct correlation, I’d argue, with the erratic schedule we throw at them. Hard not to feel sorry for them. They need to be alert at 7:30 a.m.; many will be taking multiple A.P. exams in a few weeks; some of them don’t even have a scheduled lunch. But soon they will reach the mountaintop and decide which other peaks are worth scaling. I hope there’s more than an exam waiting for them next time. 

We capped off our unit on mental illness, squeezing in schizophrenia, personality disorders, somatoform disorders, and dissociative disorders (which you may know as multiple personality). Whew. 

While schizophrenia and personality disorders are relatively common, the latter two are rare, especially multiple personality (MPD), which I’d argue is not a real disorder but a condition nurtured during therapy by a zealous, misguided—though well-intentioned—therapist. Poor folks who can’t afford therapy don’t develop MPD, and families of those who allegedly suffer from MPD don’t even notice any personalities until well into therapy.

Schizophrenia, on the other hand, afflicts about 1% of the population and is all too real. In their study guides, I asked students to write a short journal entry from the point of view of a schizophrenic. Two students wrote they felt uncomfortable completing this task, fearing it might be disrespectful, which I honor. I was impressed by their empathy and maturity. And they reminded me, again, which happens daily, how much I learn from them.

 


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