Agnes’s Jacket, Chapters 1-6

“Rufus says it took years for him to understand what he’d been through and to recover sufficiently to enter universe. At no time during his studies, even when he went onto a doctoral program in clinical psychology, did he ever talk about his history as a mental patient. The risks were just too great.” (Chapter 2)

We seem to have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy about mental illness, and it upsets me. Every time I read about professionals who have diagnoses of schizophrenia, they learn all they can about the disease and sometimes build their careers on helping others with similar problems. Obviously, then, they shouldn’t have to hide the fact that they have been diagnosed while seeking an education; especially with their experience, a student like Elyn Saks or Rufus can provide a new perspective to the system and find solutions to old problems. Yet the stigma exists, and thus the healthcare system remains narrow-minded. How can we introduce new blood into the system if we are afraid of students with psychological problems?