Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Make Me A Nice Person

Written by CLINKSHRINK (she's having computer issues and asked me to post this for her)

Periodically I like to check the search terms that people use to find Shrink Rap. Today I found one that just had to be blogged about: "What medication will make me a nice person?" My first thought was, "How do you know you're not a nice person?" Are you embezzling funds from the company expense account? Do you kick puppies and kittens? Do you park in handicapped parking spaces? Are there bodies hidden under your floorboards (if so, please let Roy out. We miss him.) There are a lot of ways that someone could be "not nice", but I have to say that the majority of seriously un-nice people I've met either don't care that they're not nice or don't have enough insight to even ask the question. If you're willing to recognize you might be having interpersonal problems you can't be all bad.

That being said, the next question is to figure out why someone might think this is an issue that is medication-responsive. There certainly are psychiatric illnesses that could make someone episodically irritable: recurrent clinical depression, premenstrual syndrome ("late luteal phase disorder" in modern parlance), hypomania or mania, the list goes on.
Medication can be helpful for these conditions. Other conditions wouldn't necessarily require medication but could be responsive to lifestyle or environmental changes: caffeinism (how much coffee AM I drinking every day nowadays? Don't ask!), sleep deprivation, alcohol abuse or other substance issues.

Finally, there are issues that aren't really your issues at all. I immigrated to
Maryland from the Land of Terminally Nice People. It took me a little while to realize that people who change lanes without signalling, who honk for no apparent reason, aren't necessarily being rude---they're just being Baltimoreans. It's how people live out here. There are people who constantly accept and make allowances for impositions that most people would never tolerate. You know the type---they say yes to everything that anybody ever asks them to do, they stay late at work because no one else volunteers to help out, they're usually the ones who finally end up cleaning out the office refrigerator because they just can't take it anymore. (They work in prison because no one else will.) When someone like that grows a backbone and starts saying 'no' and setting limits, they might get accused of being 'not nice' anymore. Good for them.

I have no idea if the googling Not Nice searcher found what they were looking for on our blog, but I wanted to leave something behind that might be useful in case they come back. Good luck.